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How to Optimize Restaurant Job Ads for Conversion

Restaurant recruiters are already familiar with finding seasonal talent and high-volume hiring, but the sharp decrease in customers during the pandemic that caused many restaurants to close temporarily left the food services industry in flux.

After months of confusion and closures, as well as thousands of laid-off workers across the country, many businesses are open and ready to staff up to meet the increased consumer demand seen in much of 2021. Although many job seekers are looking for work, food & drink establishments everywhere are struggling to hire. Essential workers are demanding strong benefits, such as better pay, more flexible hours and high safety standards if they are to re-enter the workforce — so recruiters in the space will have to accommodate these concerns if they want the workers they’re looking for.

By having an excellent job title and description, you can continue to adapt your recruiting strategy to stay on top of restaurant hiring.

Optimize Your Restaurant Job Titles

Writing great job titles is incredibly important on the search for great candidates – they are your first avenue for success on any job board or careers page. A position’s title often determines whether a job seeker will click to learn more about the position, or miss your posting completely. Follow these tips to get your job titles to lead to conversion.

Make it searchable

When crafting a job title, keep in mind that job seekers look for terms that they know, use and can identify with. You’re looking for part-time, entry-level candidates who typically do not search job boards by title — they search by geographic area and industry. Your title or job posting headline should include important keywords. For these candidates, those words are city, state and company name, followed by job title if there is room. Stick with common terms that denote field (e.g., ‘restaurant’) and even rank (e.g., ‘manager’). It’s a great way to get searchers to find you where you are.

Related: How to Localize Your Recruiting Outreach for Hourly Roles

Boost your benefits

The next thing you want to consider when writing strong titles that job seekers want to click on, is how to use them to showcase the job’s best benefits. Promote things like wage, flexible hours or any unique benefits you offer to increase a job’s click-through rate.

Last year we ran an A/B test for one of our clients utilizing our Talroo job advertising software. We tested one straightforward job title, “Machine Attendant” against another, more informative one, “Machine Attendant start at $13/hr.” The latter received almost double the number of applicants. Additionally, more hires were made from the second posting, indicating that more qualified and intentional candidates applied upon learning that the wage listed was worth their time. Though for a different industry, the same principles can be applied to restaurant recruiting.

When including benefits in a job posting, don’t confine yourself to time off and pay — think bigger! Do a large percentage of your crew members move up to higher roles? Are you a flexible employer who lets employees have a say over their schedule? Do you offer free food on every shift, or even outside of scheduled hours? Use your strengths as an advantage and tell people about the inviting pieces of your company culture.

Keep it concise

A final thing to keep in mind when writing a great job title is to keep it concise. It can be difficult to include searched terms, benefits, brand names and more into one title, all while keeping it short. However, according to ERE, the ideal job title length is about 50–60 characters. Titles that stay within this range outperform their competitors by 30%–40%. So, keep in mind that you don’t want your title getting cut short, as it could decrease your click-through rate.

Craft a Strong Job Description for Restaurant Roles

Though job titles are what make candidates click, descriptions are what make them stay. Restaurant recruiters are not just competing against other restaurants for talent, but companies across industries who are looking to fill hourly roles. Optimizing your job posting gives you one more way to stand out from competition.

When attempting to write a job description, first and foremost, remember that they are a two-way street. A strong job description conveys to your ideal candidates what you expect from an employee and what you can provide. A job description should generally read as follows: a little about the company, a little about the role, some specifics about the job (and what it would take to get it) and why someone would want to work there.

Include a company summary

Start with the company summary; take a few sentences (most postings stick with 3–5) to talk about who you are and what you do. Dive into some of your goals as a company, both specific to food & drink service and broad to your deeper missions. Take this opportunity to pare down what your organization does at its core and why people enjoy working for you. Think about the type of candidates that you want and what may attract them.

Related: Creative Strategies for Hiring in Restaurant & Retail

Have a clear role description

Next, you’ll want to jump into the role itself. What are you hiring for? Who do they report to? Why is filling this position necessary for the success of your company? Write a few sentences to describe what an ideal candidate would do and accomplish for you. Explain to a future employee what you’ll expect of them, as well as who they’ll work with.

Include must-have skills

As you might have guessed, this is a must-have section. Be sure to lay out the skills that you require for a position to attract qualified candidates.

By setting good expectations, you’ll deter under-qualified seekers from applying and ensure a higher quality applicant pool. Like most pieces of a job description, it’s helpful to be specific here. Consider setting an experience or education requirement (like “1–2 years of fast-casual service experience” instead of just “prior food and beverage service experience preferred”) to encourage only candidates of your intended skill level to apply.

Highlight benefits and perks

As companies continue to struggle with hiring in hospitality, recruiters can focus on a few things in order to make the hires they need. Some of the most important are:

The perks of working for you should be communicated throughout your job posting, but include a bulleted section dedicated to that as well. When people are job hunting, they’re always comparing your description to other job postings or their current gig. Make sure they know why it is worth their time to apply. Besides expressing your common benefits — insurance packages, retirement plans, etc. — share and emphasize the unique perks that your company culture offers. Flexible hours, free meals and offering “work today, get paid tomorrow“ initiatives are some examples of what you could highlight in this list.

How Restaurant Recruiters Will Continue to Optimize Job Ads for Conversion

More than ever, organizations are being forced to focus on organizational fit, culture fit and finding ways to show how they ensure staff happiness and wellness during the recruiting process. Continuing to optimize your job ads, with better titles ands stronger descriptions, will help ease some of the hiring struggles and improve the way you find and make hires.