How to hire a pizza maker—and the key traits to look for

Our Think Tank operators offer tips for finding the right person for this key position. (Hint: It’s not always about experience!)




 

Lee Kim: I just bought a pizzeria two months ago. Before that, I ran it for more than three years, doing all jobs, including pizza making. During this time, we’ve never hired anyone except a cashier. But I’ve been working seven days a week, with no weekends or days off. I will need to hire a pizza maker soon. Can anyone suggest the best strategy to go about finding the right candidates—i.e, newspaper ads, Craigslist, trying to poach someone from a pizza chain?

 

noreason: Pizza maker seems to be the hardest position to fill for us. I would try every way possible. I don’t really poach, but I do offer better wages in hopes that someone notices and then applies with us. The only problem with that method is that they usually leave when someone else offers them a nickel more. My new method for hiring is to find someone with no experience. The key here is to look for great traits in the person—work ethic, sense of urgency, etc. Over the years, I’ve noticed the end result is usually better when you train someone from the ground up rather than try and find someone with a great work ethic who is also a great pizza maker. It does take time and a lot of patience, though.

bodegahwy: 1) Craigslist is free, but we clearly state in the post that they must apply in person. We do not provide a phone number or email address. 2) Consider a promoted Facebook post using demographic and geographic targeting. We generally pay about $30 for a promoted post and run it a couple of times. 3) Try a help-wanted flier as a box topper for a week or so. 4) Offer a bonus to your employees for referrals. Or award $50 to an employee who refers a new hire after that new person has worked 30 days in good standing, and award another $50 after 90 or 120 days.

j_r0kk: During the hiring process, my fundamental approach is to “hire the personality, train for the position.” Basically, you want to hire a person with a strong work ethic and an ability to be coached. The training part is easy once the quality applicant is hired. Good luck! 

Get answers to your most perplexing problems and swap tips and ideas with the experts in PMQ’s Think Tank, the pizza industry’s oldest and most popular online forum. Register for free at thinktank.pmq.com. (Member posts have been edited here for clarity.)

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