Labor Shortage Solutions Part I: Recruiting - Recruit Like A Marketer

Pt I Recruiting RECRUIT

Tara Clever, VP Marketing MarginEdge

With Andy Cook

Marketing campaigns follow a structure, some call it the customer’s journey, a better thought model is the funnel (picture a cone). A marketer will start by identifying their audience or avatar, build collateral that would be engaging to them, select the platforms or channels that will likely connect with them, determine a schedule of delivery, and a frequency that leads to action.

Attracting customers and attracting talent and are remarkably similar. I reached out to Tara Clever VP of Marketing for MarginEdge, for her marketing expertise to this topic, and how it might translate to recruiting… her input and perspective is fantastic!

Identifying your audience

Think about the people you’d ideally like to see joining your team. For those of you thinking “Someone with a pulse!” cool, I get it, but the concept holds. Setting ideals and building around standards will set you and your new hires up for a more positive relationship.

Build collateral

a job post is collateral, now think about how you’re structuring it. We still see posts that start with the position and a list of qualifications, requirements, and desired skills… much of which can be perceived as a list of reasons you can’t, or don’t want, to work here… and if you’re still reading here’s what we think of ourselves (can you tell the difference between us and anyone else?) Flip the script and re-contextualize the narrative.

Start by giving them a sense of what being on your team will be like, when/if you list qualifications, skills, etc. Try something like “Here at [restaurant name] you’ll have the opportunity to develop [these skills & qualifications] with a management team who’s sometimes insane, but always has your back.”


Job boards, social media, offline channels, etc. Tara has extra insight into all of those, plus some GREAT suggestions for collateral building and an offline recruiting idea that could work REALLY well in this day and age:

“There’s no such thing as one-and-done” states Tara “It feels good to It feels good to mark something off your list! Got that job listed - on to the next. But in a crowded and competitive recruiting landscape you must make your job stand out in a world where the job seeker has a ton of options.”

“In my world it takes between 7 and 10 touches with our brand before we can expect someone to take action. If a prospective employee isn’t familiar with your business, one job posting (however well written) is probably not enough.”

Be Creative
More specifically, what you do to set yourself apart will make a world of difference. Here’s Tara’s suggestion for collateral you can easily develop for your online recruitment campaign.

“Anyone can say that they are an amazing place to work but we have all been burned by bad jobs, bosses, and work environments before. You didn’t join that team knowing they sucked, right? The quickest/cheapest way to prove you have a great workplace is to let employees say it for you.”

Suggestion One: The Employee Driven Campaign
Create quick video testimonials and put them on Facebook/Instagram. “These don’t have to be fancy, authenticity wins!” Tara emphasizes “They should feel light, quick, and fun.”

Gather volunteers and prompt them with questions such as “What’s your funniest experience here so far?”

For the Front of House “Tell me about one of your favorite regulars”.

For the Back of House: “What’s your favorite menu item to cook and why?”

If they have more than one response per prompt, capture them all as separate short videos. As permitted by the job boards, include these videos. Add them to your website’s employment page and distribute them on social media with links to your recruitment channel. Ask your staff, friends, family, and especially the regulars that may have been mentioned.

Suggestion Two: Hosted Happy Hour

Tara feels the time is right to attempt a gathering of sorts. “The world is increasingly digital and especially after this last year, the human interaction part of our lives has taken a major hit...but this is an opportunity to differentiate your strategy.” She continues “Yes, there are digital best practices - and those are the most efficient way to reach the most eyeballs - but what if you took your recruiting offline to support your online strategy. I believe this will feel even more remarkable in this moment than a year ago.”

How this is organized and what you can afford is flexible, IF you feel something like this is appropriate for you, consider these points:

  • Invite previous applicants that didn’t accept.
  • Allow your employees to invite family/friends.
  • Tell your customers that you are growing your team and you’d love to host anyone in their lives that might be looking for a new role.
  • Invite your employees as a thank you - but also to act as social proof/evangelists.
  • If you do a digital invitation and RSVP, then you have email addresses to follow up with a thank you - and an invite to apply.

Closing Thoughts

Tara concludes with the fundamentals that should be embraced and made part of your operations moving forward. “The loop you are trying to create is hire amazing people, make them happy and because they are happy, they recruit talented friends.”

“This is so much easier said than done but when I think about marketing, these are the three categories I would think about.”

Acquisition: Always be recruiting - build your pipeline even when it isn’t “on fire”. A great resume might not be a fit now, but they could be later. If you make a great impression, they may not take the job but they will tell friends. Think about 7-10 touches across channels.

Retention: How do you market to your existing employees? How do you remind them working for you is better than working other places? Surprise and delights, public recognition, small tokens go a long way.

Referrals: Create an evergreen reason for your employees to refer great people. It’s probably an incentive but it is MOSTLY through messaging, repetition, and staying top of mind. The biggest mistake with referrals is a set it and forget it mindset, the only way it works is if you create a communication ecosystem that keeps it top of mind.

The information, insights, resources, and ideas shared are intended to be motivational. The real value comes when new ideas and aha moments are aimed at a goal and powered by a plan. I LOVE my career as a Restaurant Consultant with Harbor Foodservice, if I can help you or your team personalize any of these ideas, I’d welcome the experience with you.

Contact Andy Cook:

More in the series on Recruiting

Coping Strategies | Attracting Talent