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Copy top chefs by taking a knife to job descriptions

Top restaurants’ hiring approach proves to be one to emulate

Assistant Professor at University College London School of Management, Vaughn Tan, studied the recruitment of staff at cutting-edge restaurants, including the Fat Duck in Bray and Noma in Copenhagen.

Due to the fast-moving pace of change within the food sector, the studies were based on these employees as their roles adapt continually to experimental menu innovations.

“We’re not in a world where you can learn the techniques and then coast for years any more. Now there’s something new to have to think about every day. We’re running just to stay in place,” one chef observed.

According to the study, the initial job brief was intended to be provisional, as mutually agreed by both employer and employee – a precursor to “the real work of joining the group and making a place for yourself”, as another chef put it.

Due to the disruption affecting many industries today, Prof Tan argues that businesses in other sectors could learn from the process of role-building at the top of the restaurant trade.

He advised that Managers should be honest at the beginning of the recruitment process about the parts of the job description that would still need to be clarified.  As one of the study subjects declared: “There is no point being efficient and hiring for a very detailed job description if the job changes every day.”

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