Experience or Longevity

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Joined Sep 17, 2018
When looking to hire someone, would you be more favorable to someone who has worked at a lot of different places with short employment times, or someone who only has limited experience working at different establishments but has put in considerable time at each place?

I ask because I have been looking for a basic line cook for almost a year now and the applicants I get that actually have any relevant experience seem to job hop like crazy. Don't know if this is viewed as normal in our business but for me it seems like a waste of my time to bring someone like that on to my team. I have some people that have decades of experience but average one or more jobs per year. Just wondering what everyone's take on this was.
 
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I’ve been out of management for a while but there is no single answer to the question. When I was hiring based on a need to trust in terms of responsibility, longevity was a key consideration. When I was hiring for seasonal work, someone with high turnover was desirable. Losing employees and hiring are big operating expenses so bad choices should be minimized.

The of a a job-hopper is diversity but I noticed that often comes with lower sense of responsibility and higher chance of unwillingness to comply. The long-term worker can be the complete opposite.

It depends on needs and goals.

But why, after a year, can you not fill a vacancy?
 
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Please forgive me if that question came across as rude; that was not my intention. The question should have been, if you haven’t filled the vacancy in almost a year do you really need to hire another person or can you live with the current staff.
 
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Please forgive me if that question came across as rude; that was not my intention. The question should have been, if you haven’t filled the vacancy in almost a year do you really need to hire another person or can you live with the current staff.
No offense taken. I believe it is due to a multiple of things. One being the starting rate. The corporation I work for sets the rates for starting salaries and it is considered non -negotiable because they also offer a range of other benefits to their employees that translates to added costs for them but not a straight rate hike in the employee's paychecks. Another factor is our recruitment process. We are limited in the ways we can recruit and it boils down to using third party processes to find applicants, whom a lot of the time don't meet even the basic requirements for the position but are sent to me to review anyways. The last factor I think is that unemployment for skilled workers in this area has fallen, and workers who may have considered this position in the past have been employed elsewhere.

Yes I really do need the position as I have been covering all the extra shifts, sometimes going a month or more with no time off on top of doing my regular job duties. So I would rather get someone here and get back to my own responsibilities.
 
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Ah, corporate constraints... sounds like you are rather limited in options.

The corporation appears to be oriented toward longevity, but who you probably need is an applicant who understands the concepts of total-compensation and job-security.

While living/working in an area where there is low unemployment is great, it seems not so great if your looking to hire.
 
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For me, it depends on the situation. But, in general, I prefer longevity. If I'm going to fill a line cook position, I want that person to be there for a while. I don't like the job hoppers and whenever I encountered a job hopper's resume, it usually went into the trash. Granted, there were those rare times where I needed someone in a pinch because a regular went out on maternity leave or there were other extraordinary circumstances. So, I kept a very small handful of job hopper resumes and contact information for emergency purposes.

Why do I want someone with longevity? Because dependability in this business is worth its weight in 24k gold plated white truffles. Their experience level is secondary. I can always teach them and they will amass experience over time in this job. So, I don't have to worry about that.

The downside to longevity is sometimes they've developed bad habits that are hard to break. However, the way I see it is if they are professionals, they will put in the work and discipline to break those habits and develop good habits. It wasn't always that easy but, in the end, I almost always got what I wanted out of my employees.

Cheers! :)
 
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The restaurant industry has an annual employee turnover rate of 73%, which is up from 56% in 2010. The average employee tenure is just one month and 26 days. Turnover costs are roughly $3,500 per employee, which translates to a loss of $40,000 per year for a restaurant with 15 employees.

For me, there are too many variables involved with work history to go strictly with it in deciding to accept or decline when screening resumes. Work history is just a statistic. Statistics can be misleading. Longevity can indicate complacency and/or lack of drive. Job hopping can indicate refusal to accept working conditions that are substandard or not meeting personal career growth goals.

I need more in depth info from potential candidates because success in the recruiting battle and obtaining quality employees falls 90% on the hiring/interview process. I never hurry hire and hope that proper training will be the key.

I define the core values and traits that best describe our restaurant's culture and then look for people that are on the same page. When I do that, things fall more easily into place.
 
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There are several approaches to hiring. None of them work.:rofl:

I feel you. I had five applications come in and set up appointments to talk to them. Not a single one even showed up to interview.
 
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I feel you. I had five applications come in and set up appointments to talk to them. Not a single one even showed up to interview.
That was five easy peasy interviews. Conclusion on candiate #1: result 0, not hired. Etc for #2, #3. #4, #5. At $3,500 per new hire, think how much money they saved you. Did you send thank you cards? :rofl:
 
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All of this brings us back to one of the other threads we have here which is trying to get qualified help but unwilling to PAY for that help. This might ( ha-ha ) be another reason help doesn't stick around. Why should they work for place A that pays $$ when they can work down the road for place B that pays $$$? and so it goes. The gaining of experience and knowledge is second to the money.
 

pete

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A lot really depends on your needs, what kind of place you are hiring for and the position. As a young cook in the fine dining world I bounced around a lot so that I could work with many different chefs, doing many different types of food. I felt it helped round me out and helped my develop my management style as I had lots of great examples, both good and bad, on how to run a kitchen. So, no, I don't mind job hoppers. That being said, while I didn't mind cooks with lengthy resumes, I did want to see at least a year at each place. Job hopping more frequently than that usually means the applicant has some issues. Sure, it might be arbitrary, but that was kind of my guidepost. But that was in the fine dining world. Now that I am in institutional cooking I tend to look more for longevity as many of these positions don't require a really deep knowledge base.
 
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All of this brings us back to one of the other threads we have here which is trying to get qualified help but unwilling to PAY for that help. This might ( ha-ha ) be another reason help doesn't stick around. Why should they work for place A that pays $$ when they can work down the road for place B that pays $$$? and so it goes. The gaining of experience and knowledge is second to the money.
Yes and I know the base rate is kinda crappy on its face. When I compare it to what I was making as a line cook (albeit in a fine dining place) over a decade ago it doesn't even come close numbers to numbers. That being said I have to try and sell the fact that the hours are better, the work load and stress less, more paid time off, sick days, paid holidays, health insurance, dental, vision, 401K, ect. But at the end of the day I understand some people just have to make $X/hr to pay their bills. I passed on a nice gig many years ago precisely for that reason, I needed to make a certain amount and the biggest basket of benefits didn't matter if I couldn't pay my bills.
 
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Joined Sep 17, 2018
A lot really depends on your needs, what kind of place you are hiring for and the position. As a young cook in the fine dining world I bounced around a lot so that I could work with many different chefs, doing many different types of food. I felt it helped round me out and helped my develop my management style as I had lots of great examples, both good and bad, on how to run a kitchen. So, no, I don't mind job hoppers. That being said, while I didn't mind cooks with lengthy resumes, I did want to see at least a year at each place. Job hopping more frequently than that usually means the applicant has some issues. Sure, it might be arbitrary, but that was kind of my guidepost. But that was in the fine dining world. Now that I am in institutional cooking I tend to look more for longevity as many of these positions don't require a really deep knowledge base.
And I can kind of see some of that if you wanted to gain as much knowledge from as many places and sources as you could in the shortest amount of time but dang, some of these people put down places they've worked for a month or two. Not to mention as another poster has said that even when I do get some interviews scheduled, a lot of the time people don't even show up.
 
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Seoul Food Seoul Food , I feel your pain. It really comes down to the persons character, personality and passed job dependably. I don't think I ever hired an experienced cook that didn't move around my city jumping from job to job. The reason why these people are hired is because Chefs need to fill positions. It's a case of hiring the best to the worst. The reason why these cooks do move around is because they know someone will hire them down the road. Try this in any other industry and you'll be out of work permanently.
That being said, I always had better luck hiring people with less experience but had good moral values and eager to learn. I wanted people who believed in what we were doing, bragged about the company they worked for and the product we served. My best crews were trained in house with good longevity in prior employment.... ChefBillyB
 
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In the beginning a cook probably should be moving around to learn stuff unless they're fortunate to start off somewhere they can learn everything. And really, that place doesn't exist. But just jumping around each time they can make $.25/hr more...that's not something I want to see on a resume.

Things will get worse before they better, at least if the industry doesn't change. It won't change willingly from within, it will probably take external regulatory factors. Or barring that some wisdom that's never been apparent before. I would never tell a young person to get into this business! Not unless they can honestly say there's nothing else they can imagine doing. Why take a job with little potential for advancement in any reasonable time frame, no benefits or health care and shit wages? Obviously this probably doesn't apply everywhere as some big corporate places will have benefits but it's rare in smaller places in my experience. Why not go to a call center and make $15 an hour, get all the holidays off, have health insurance right away, etc?

I drifted into the field and found I loved it. I was willing to do what it took to make my bones but it's hard to really recommend it to anyone that's not me. And as Seoul Food points out you have to be able to survive on what you earn- you can't pay your rent with wisdom and scars.

If we want to see cooks that act like professionals we have to start treating them like professionals.
 
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"If we want to see cooks that act like professionals we have to start treating them like professionals."

Gee, if it were only that easy. When all you get as applicants are adolescents that cant's even dress themselves for an interview, can't form sentences, and generally have no clue, the problem is definitely not us.
Didn't your mother ever teach you that respect begets respect?
 
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I'm trying to think of another profession that considers themselves professionals that didn't plan on working in that profession all their lives. I never had a cook tell me he/she wanted to be a cook all their lives. In my business if I had a crew with very little turnover for a year I considered it a great achievement. The only other profession I see coming close to being as bad would be a used car salesman.
I feel sorry for the honest and sincere person that works hard and tries to move up in this business. Unfortunately, The road was paved by other cooks over the years that never showed up for their shift. Many showed up drunk or maybe even called from jail that they couldn't come into work. They all wanted 40 hrs a week but couldn't work on Friday or Saturday. Some would get a raise one day only to quit the next day and take a job down the street for .25 an hour more.
I never looked for professionals, I realized many years ago that a cook is a temporary position until they found something better. The only success I had with employee longevity was when I hired older cooks. If they were treated well and paid well they were happy and didn't bitch about anything. Well, when I say anything, I mean with exception of complaining about the younger cooks that didn't show up that day........ChefBillyB
 
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Joined Sep 17, 2018
I'm trying to think of another profession that considers themselves professionals that didn't plan on working in that profession all their lives. I never had a cook tell me he/she wanted to be a cook all their lives. In my business if I had a crew with very little turnover for a year I considered it a great achievement. The only other profession I see coming close to being as bad would be a used car salesman.
I feel sorry for the honest and sincere person that works hard and tries to move up in this business. Unfortunately, The road was paved by other cooks over the years that never showed up for their shift. Many showed up drunk or maybe even called from jail that they couldn't come into work. They all wanted 40 hrs a week but couldn't work on Friday or Saturday. Some would get a raise one day only to quit the next day and take a job down the street for .25 an hour more.
I never looked for professionals, I realized many years ago that a cook is a temporary position until they found something better. The only success I had with employee longevity was when I hired older cooks. If they were treated well and paid well they were happy and didn't bitch about anything. Well, when I say anything, I mean with exception of complaining about the younger cooks that didn't show up that day........ChefBillyB
All my best workers are in their 50's and 60's and I am dreading the day they decide to retire.
 
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The reason why these people are hired is because Chefs need to fill positions. It's a case of hiring the best to the worst. The reason why these cooks do move around is because they know someone will hire them down the road.
This is very much the case on our town. People move here from other states just to open a restaurant. Every week there is an opening (and of course, closings often follow right behind). There are more places than employees to staff them.

We have some friends with a breakfast and lunch joint, they actually fired a line cook (a rarity in itself) and he had a job the next day with a new place up the road. They hired him because they cannot get enough staff to open. and had to take what they could get.
 
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