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The no-show phenomena in restaurants and why this matters to recruitment

The no-show phenomena in restaurants and why this matters to recruitment

12 Sep 12:00 by Matthew Rollinson


I read a fantastic article in the FT over the weekend regards the rise in restaurant no-shows and felt this echoed so many of the issues in modern day recruitment, I’ve linked to the article here but to do it a total injustice in my summary, it goes like this. Restaurants have become to reliant on apps like mytable or opentable or bookatable or whatever that they have lost their connection with the customer.


Broadly the Maitre d’ no longer knows customers, and whatever eating joint you’re going to has lost it’s cool because of it. Knowledge of what table you prefer or if you had a cocktail that wasn’t on the menu one time and maybe get offered this next time you’re in, this kind of thing. When I was growing up I worked in bars and restaurants and clearly remember a time before the internet when this was exactly how you treated and therefore kept customers.  


Nowadays, people don’t feel that connected to businesses they interact with. Even the cool ones. This manifests itself in not feeling so bad about letting them down, because the relationships not there in the first place to make this a bad feeling.


Before completely making this a blog about eating in nice places on a recruitment website lets get on track…


I’m a customer service nerd. There I said it, I read books on it, I think about it when out jogging or in the gym and I notice everything. I’ll add I probably learned more sitting in and working in bars, than any training course I’ve been on since. Pubs are in my view a micro-model you can learn a lot from, and get a beer while you're doing it.


Think about it - they all have products that are the identical everywhere so why choose your pub? The answers customer experience.


So how does this impact on recruitment, well quite a bit. First of all let me ask a question, do you remember what it was like to get an interview when you were younger?


You’d receive a call or email or letter informing you of your success, perhaps a letter on company letterheaded paper even! Maybe embossed, and defo high quality.  It’d add to the excitement of attending. You would arrive, you’d be meeting the “Head of HR” or VP or… something important sounding.  


The person on the front desk would have your badge printed for you already, security knew your reg plate on arrival (in my case a battered old Clio) and other little touches like this. You felt special.  


I still have my rejection feedback from AstraZeneca in 2000 which detailed exactly where I went wrong, and by crikey was that useful going into the working world. Broadly I was too emotive (probably still am) and a toned back version of the person you dear candidates and clients have to endure. See I remember it to this day 18 years later! I’ve had loads of interview experiences since, but the way AZ handled me, really stuck as how it’s done.


How is it in 2018? You see an ad on a “job board” via your smartphone, apply in good faith again on the same smartphone, and talk to someone, on the phone, who agrees to send the CV forward. Then if you’re very lucky indeed, the recruiter hears from the client who asks to interview you.


You receive a confirmation again over email, probably read on the same phone. All this prior is no problem it’s 2018, we have phones. But as far as I understand, most interview confirmations simply confirm the basics of: there is to be a meeting, with you, at a time and place… and not much else apart from this. So far you’ve interacted with a black oblong mostly reading emails.


You attend, and in the minority of cases will receive some kind of feedback but not much. Basically, you didn’t land the job, or you did.


This is exactly the kind of thing that leads candidates to not give up, but also not be less invested.


We’re not treating you badly, but there are clear areas we could be so so much better. If I think about an empty restaurant table, it’s the symptom of a problem. A problem of disconnection, and the same could be said of empty chairs in interviews.


How much connection do recruiters build with candidates ahead of interviews? How much loyalty do we therefore deserve from you? I think it’s a fair question.


It’s not that anyone is rude nowadays. I don’t ever believe anyone is purposefully rude. Also I’m realistic enough to know that we get out precisely what we put into you and can’t reasonably expect more. People talk about the past like it was better, maybe it’s that way because we were putting more effort in as recruiting managers, so therefore getting a bit more out? Via LiCa Scientific if you are interviewing you get:


  • Our interview preparation guide, currently in it’s 4th form and 5 pages of everything we know and can tell you about interviewing (without you needing a week to read it!)
  • The option of a pre interview meeting at our offices where we have a meeting area ready and waiting any working hour of the week, with free parking outside, and all the coffee you can drink inside.
  • Pre interview coaching in person or on the phone, to ensure you are absolutely ready for this and covering any issues or questions you may have driven by over 20 years of interviewing experience
  • If you can’t meet me, you can call me anytime out of hours, early late etc, I have two young children so I’m awake at 6:30 and lucky if I send the last email before midnight.
  • We will push to get feedback, but can’t promise it every time it’s very client dependant.


I’ll add this has always been the case since we opened our doors in 2016.


I started this business so we could be better than the other guys, and ok it’s safe to say it worked on many levels, and we get a lot of appreciation. However we can always improve. I don’t want the grass to grow beneath our feet on this.


I want going to an interview through us, to be as good an experience as it can be. Any criticism or ideas are gratefully received, and if this blog achieves two things it’s to say:


  • The above is all at your disposal as an interviewing candidate.
  • High quality candidate experience is very much our agenda, and always has been.