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How to stop boring interviews

Caterer.com People Awards 2019 | Candidate Experience | Honest Burgers | Oli Cavaliero, Head of Talent Management

Honest Burgers

We’ve all been there.  That sweaty palm moment right before the interview starts, thinking about what five words describe us best and wondering what the next 30 minutes will bring.   Does it have to be like that, though?

Honest Burgers, winners of the 2019 Caterer.com Award for the best Candidate Experience, have thrown out the interview rulebook and the results are pretty impressive.

Innovate Your Recruitment Process

We asked Oli Cavaliero, Head of Talent Management what prompted them to step away from the norm and inject fun into their candidate recruitment experience.  ‘As a company in the last 12 months, we have grown from 23 restaurants nationally to 32.   Our aim during that time has been to improve management retention, innovate our recruitment process and increase potential recruit engagement through the process.

The challenges we faced when hiring for management positions was first, do candidates have the right natural attitudes that we look for at Honest Burgers?  How do we make the interview process engaging and how to we set the level of expectation for each new employee from the interview process through to employment?

Even though our menu is small, serving burgers and chips, nobody puts as much care into their burgers and chips as we do.  We wanted to put as much care and effort into our recruitment process, so we set the level of expectation from the first moment we interact with external candidates’.

Brand Interest and Loyalty

‘We believe that our robust and innovative recruitment process creates brand interest and positions Honest Burgers as a more attractive company to work for.  People who join us feel like they have already succeeded with the level of effort they have put in at the recruitment stage.

We wanted to do something totally different, which you can’t rehearse or prepare for, we wanted to see natural ‘attitudes’ and how candidates reflect on themselves, as well as people around them. We also wanted to ensure the process was relevant to the job role; on their feet, as a team, working towards a goal, dealing with pressure, handling conflict, making decisions, planning and of course friendliness’.

Enter the Escape Room

Oli continued, ‘we teamed up with ‘Aim Escape’ who run a restaurant themed ‘Escape Room/break out’ experience. Candidates are not told about the Escape Room in advance and during each recruitment event we watch and listen to each session, assessing candidates to see if they meet our criteria to work for Honest Burgers. We also use the Escape Room for internal talent pipelines to ensure our internal versus external recruitment stays consistent ‘.

Oli is keen to stress that it’s not about being good at escaping!  ‘The Escape Room allows us to evaluate behaviours and habits based on our own internal profiles.   Recruiting for the industry is moving so fast that we needed to find a middle ground, using technology initially, but selecting on behaviour.

The Escape Room sets a standard and our training and development have to be as good as that experience.  We are constantly evaluating our business and people to ensure that onboarding meets expectations, otherwise all the great work at the recruitment stage is wasted.’

Does it Work?

Making these changes has raised Honest Burger’s employer profile and has enabled them to maintain a very high standard of candidate.

Align our vision of the type of manager is successful at Honest Burgers. They have been able to increase management retention by 15% in 12 months, and over 15% increase of successful rates from trial shifts.

Oli’s Tips for successful recruitment:

  1. Don’t follow the normal channels, try something different
  2. Use your management teams to inspire you with new ideas or look at what other industries are doing
  3. Get candidate feedback (both good and bad) on their experiences during the selection process.

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