How to Hire a Dishwasher

A chef meets with her staff in the kitchen.

If you’re in the food service industry and hiring is your number-one challenge, you’re in good company — 75% of restaurant owners and managers cite staffing as their top concern. High turnover rates can be especially dire for support staff positions like dishwashers. Understanding how to hire a dishwasher using best practices can help you recruit reliable workers and slow back-of-house employee churn.

You can increase tenure for dishwashers by emphasizing health and hygiene as a key organizational value. A sense of purpose can help you keep your back-of-house employees longer and allow you to undertake hiring with slightly less urgency, enabling you to focus on implementing recruitment best practices. Other measures that can increase dishwasher retention include:

  • Making sure your staff are respectful toward your dishwashers
  • Establishing orderly, predictable back-of-house procedures
  • Offering stay bonuses and periodic bonuses based on tenure

The need for dishwashers is only likely to continue as the public’s appetite for dining out and ordering in increases, with demand for restaurant workers expected to increase by 9% over the next decade, higher than the rate of increase for most occupations. Keeping these six key steps in mind can make your hiring process more efficient and effective:

  • Assess your needs and budget for the position
  • Craft the perfect dishwasher job description
  • Screen applicants and narrow your candidate pool
  • How to hire a dishwasher: Ask the right questions
  • Before you hire a dishwasher: Run a background check
  • Make an offer and negotiate a start date

1. Assess Your Needs and Budget for the Position

Determining the exact staffing level you need to maintain to maximize back-of-house efficiency isn’t easy. Complicating the budgeting process for restaurants and bars is the fact that in some states, jobs in the hospitality sector have different minimum wage requirements than other occupations. Federal regulations for minimum wage also have differing parameters for restaurant personnel.

Generally, if the circulation of clean dishes, utensils, and pots and pans is slowing down at the dishwashing stage or if you’re having trouble scheduling enough employees to cover every shift, it’s time to budget for additional dishwashers. Using a salary tool to calculate median remuneration by job title and geographic area can help you calculate a fair hourly wage. You might also want to weigh the relative benefits of hiring fewer full-time employees or more part-timers.

2. Craft the Perfect Waiter Job Description

Once you’ve determined your budget for the position, it’s time to craft a dishwasher job description that outlines your expectations for the role and the attributes your ideal candidate should have, such as:

  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Time-management, multitasking, and organizational skills
  • Cleanliness and efficiency
  • High energy and physical stamina

Your job description can be used to increase your applicant pool by mentioning perks, such as signing bonuses. In addition, distribute the description to your existing staff and offer a referral bonus for any employee who suggests an applicant who is hired and remains on staff for a pre-determined period.

3. Screen Applicants and Narrow Your Candidate Pool

To make sure your potential talent pool can respond quickly and easily to your job post, ensure your application is optimized for mobile, including the capability to apply via text. Consider using an applicant tracking system (ATS) to help you automate your screening process and select the most appropriate candidates to interview.

One effective way to leverage your ATS is to implement keyword searches by selecting the most crucial qualifications from your job description. Using what you’ve learned about how to hire a dishwasher so far, for example, you might program your ATS to search for phrases like “food prep experience,” but be careful not to make your filtering too strenuous. Food service is the leading industry when it comes to labor force entrants, with nearly 25% of sector jobs filled by first-time workers.

4. How to Hire a Dishwasher: Ask the Right Questions

By now you should have a strong list of potential top performers. However, if you’ve had a hard time enticing applicants to follow through on scheduled interviews, you can increase the likelihood that applicants will show up on time by offering a monetary incentive for completing the interview process.

Once all parties are present, employing an efficient, thorough, and fair interviewing process can help you pinpoint the finalists for the job who are most likely to become successful members of your team. This includes asking a variety of questions, in the following categories:

  • Icebreaker questions to put applicants at ease
  • Behavioral questions designed to uncover job seekers’ aptitude for problem-solving and fostering positive interpersonal relations, including with coworkers
  • Values-based questions to determine whether the candidate’s core values align with those of your organization and current team
  • Skills and background-based questions, including asking questions about previous restaurant, housekeeping, or custodial experience.

5. Before You Hire a Dishwasher: Run a Background Check

Once you’ve narrowed your applicant pool to a handful of finalists, you’ll need to carve out time to undertake a reference check by making calls to the references provided by each top candidate and following up with each listed employer to confirm the tenure dates provided on their application. You may also want to go a step further and pay for a more robust professional background check.

6. Make an Offer and Negotiate a Start Date

The final step in your hiring process is to select your lead candidate and make a fair offer based on the research you conducted during step one. Be prepared to negotiate salary and benefits with your top-choice candidate, adjusting your offer to attain the talent you need.

Get the Word Out and Find the Food Service Employees You Need to Grow Your Business

Now that you know how to hire a dishwasher, it’s time to launch your candidate search with a job posting plan that fits your needs and targets job seekers.