Data Dome Resources – White Papers: Hiring Hourlys for Hospitality

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Hiring Hourlys for Hospitality

PERSONALITY MATTERS Art Schoeck helps restaurants make hiring decisions

-By Suzanne Wright

Art Schoeck

Art Schoeck photo credit Spark St. Jude

"Just like any other industry, restaurants are looking for low turnover and high-quality service," says Art Schoeck, president of Data Dome.

Art Schoeck, behavioral strategist and president of Data Dome, says 80 percent of hiring is done on an intellectual basis, yet 85 percent of turnover is due to behavioral incapability. Data Dome helps companies—including restaurants—screen and develop candidates to maximize individual and corporate potential.

Do you have a background in hospitality as well as psychology?

After graduate school, I built up and sold restaurants.

Who are some of your clients?

Arby’s, PF Changs, Marriott International, Hooters, Fatburger, Good Times, Off the Grill, Starbucks, Gelazzi and the Georgia World Congress Center.

Why should restaurants use assessment tests?

It’s a growing sector and a major service segment. Each restaurant has its own employee demographics that it is looking for. Just like any other industry, restaurants are looking for low turnover and high-quality service.

So you can help them make better hiring choices with these tools?

It’s like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. Experience and intellectual capability is one thing, values is another. But behavior is less obvious when you are hiring.

Can you give us some examples of the type of behavior a restaurateur wants to avoid?

A recent survey found troubling statistics: Twenty-one percent of restaurant workers observed their co-workers stealing cash but did not report it to management; 12 percent of those surveyed admitted to having intentionally contaminated food prepared or served to a customer or both; 24 percent took illegal drugs just before coming to work; 37 percent made fun of their co-workers’ or customers’ accents; 31 percent knowingly served improperly or poorly prepared food.

Yipes! And turnover is rampant in restaurants.

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, it costs between $2,500 to $5,000 per person to replace a trained hire.

So what’s the cost to administer these tools?

The more you spend, the more you learn. Normally, you would spend $15 to $150 per person. If you think people are your number one resource, a good benchmark is spending a day’s salary to invest in a better person.

What are "the right people"?

From a behavioral aspect, there are productive and counterproductive behaviors. There’s a big difference in what we are looking for in an hourly personnel versus management. The further from the customer, you are looking at: work ethic, integrity, drug use, honesty. As you go up the ladder and get closer to the customer, you are seeking more productive behavior: outgoing, self-starting, commitment, multitasking—things we can measure with these tools.

I took one of your tests. In minutes, after answering just 24 questions, I received a 21-page analysis! It was almost shockingly accurate.

We are a clearinghouse for 155 different assessment tools. We use different tools for different personnel. But I’d say we are between 85 to 95 percent accurate. We can’t measure values.

Do people feel intimidated by taking the test, like there are "right" answers?

We present the test as an assessment or analysis or profile. It’s not pass or fail or knockout. We make it user-friendly—we call it “painless enlightenment.” We both know companies who use tools like these against people. We make it a win-win situation.

How so?

You can hire better employees and give them an environment in which to thrive.

What’s different about one of your tests versus, say, the Myers-Briggs?

Myers-Briggs generates 16 profiles; the test you took generates 380 profiles. You can learn three things: 1. to understand yourself, identify blind spots and adapt your behavior—both good and bad; 2. to understand yourself and others’ styles, especially those most different than yours; and 3. to understand your job in terms of expected behaviors.

And the results of these insights?

You create a culture of better communication and understanding, reduced conflict and increased productivity. In short, a better working environment.

And that would translate to me, as a patron. How might I know I am dealing with someone who used your tools?

Well, ideally they are people who smile naturally and have an emphasis on the customer. They are the right people in the right places. They have the ability to understand and adjust to styles different than their own.

Suzanne Wright interviewed Art Schoeck for the July 9, 2006 issue of The Sunday Paper, Atlanta.

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