Unfortunately, if you own a medium size or larger establishment, pub recruitment is a fairly constant demand since you will get a fairly continuous stream of turnover in virtually all sectors of the service industry. Even if you own a smaller club or pub, hiring will still be a necessary skill for growing your business.
So how do you hire a bartender or waitress for your bar or nightclub?
Pub Recruitment 101
The first step in bar hiring is finding prospects—what I am calling “pub recruitment.” Pub recruitment is best done in advance of having a missing position, since working understaffed will hamper your establishment’s efficiency.
Some positions are, of course, more important than others. Typically, you want to always have at least one more than competent bartender on hand every night and a bar manager who you can trust. For that reason you want to hire a bartender well before your old one leaves.
That said, missing pub employees on any level will have a cumulative effect as well.
As you begin searching for pub employees for your establishment, you will want to keep your bar in mind. Before you hire a bartender who can mix every cocktail in the book, you might consider whether she will really be a good fit in your corner Irish pub where you only serve three different kinds of beer and a basic wine. Similarly, an older male waiter might not work particularly well in high energy karaoke bar catering to twenty-somethings.
Where to hire pub employees?
So where do you hire a bartender these days?
- Your Bar or Nightclub: One of the best places to start your bar hiring and to look for more pub employees is still within your actual bar or nightclub. Just place your “Now Hiring” sign in the window, and, if you are in a busy area, you will definitely get some bites. You may even be able to reel one in every so often.
- Advertise: Bar hiring through advertising in local papers and via want ads is still one of the best ways to get prospects. These days, of course, with the decline in newspaper circulation, much of this activity has migrated online. A job site like Monster or Indeed is not a bad place for a job posting for this reason.
- Staffing Services: If you are in an area that is particularly challenging for pub recruitment, you might have better luck doing your bar hiring through a professional staffing service. Some staffing services can help you to get a temporary waiter or hire a bartender while you continue to look for one via traditional means. (Professionalwaitstaffingservices.com in Chicago, for example, is such a staffing service that caters specifically to bars and restaurants.) In some cases the temp will prove themselves the perfect and you can just hire him or her.
- Campus Job Boards: If you are willing to take the extra time to train them, students from a local college make an excellent candidates for focused pub recruitment. When hiring someone without bar experience look for other qualities that suggest the individual has what it takes, such as an engaging personality, high energy, experience in other parts of the service industry, and generally a positive attitude. Also be sure to ask about school commitments and other scheduling conflicts that may effect the success of the candidate.
- Bartending Schools: If there are local bartending schools, doing your bar hiring through them is a step up from your general college job boards. Candidates from these schools will typically be low in experience but will have the basics of mixing and serving down, so that training should generally go much more easily and fluidly. In addition, anyone who is willing to go through the trouble of spending money and time learning how to bartend clearly has made somewhat of a commitment to this line of work, which bodes well for the individuals chances of working out.
- Other Restaurants and Bars: It is somewhat frowned upon, but if you happen to know of a bartender or wait person at another competing establishment that is not currently happy in their position and looking for change of venue, you can sometimes lured them over to your establishment if you play your cards right. Some clients like this because it not only gets you a bartender or wait person but deals a blow to a competitor since often popular workers will also bring some of their clients with them. Of course, you will have another bar owner near by who will be looking for revenge, so be careful what you wish for.
- Tip from the Pros: Even when you are not currently engaged in bar hiring, it is a good idea to have contact information on your website geared directly to pub recruitment. Make sure prospective pub employees have an easy way of submitting their information to you online, including at least e-mail address where they can send their resumes, but possibly even an online form they can fill out. If you have a website that you can easily change (like a WordPress site), you might even put your current needs on your website like large corporations do. Be careful, of course, since your employees will no doubt monitor the site; so that if you are looking to replace a waitress and make it too obvious, she may get wind of it and leave you shorthanded.
Of course, even once you have found a prospective candidate, your work is not done. After that you still need to properly vet the candidate through interviews and background checks. But that is the topic for another post.
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