A Lifestyle Restaurant Brand Entices an Exemplary Staff with a Great Hiring Experience
Not only do each of the company’s 32 full-service restaurants tout a scratch kitchen, they also feature a Napa style wine tasting room where patrons can sample award-winning varietals from vineyards across the West Coast of the United States and around the world. Guests are also invited to join a community of over 300,000 – the largest wine club in the country to gain access to unique experiences, such as travel, special events, and access to food and wine celebrities.
Providing guests with this distinctive experience requires special employees. “Not only must employees bring to the table the right skills, abilities, and experiences, they must also be aligned with our values,” says Claire Domark, Director of Talent Acquisition for Cooper’s Hawk. “That is, we care about people. We’re different. We’re committed to being the best. And we have fun and celebrate.”
But with today’s tight labor market, hiring the right employees is a tall order.
The answer for Cooper’s Hawk has been to create a strong employment brand based not only on their values, but an engaging and enjoyable hiring processes. Cooper’s Hawk turned to a slate of technologies — Candidate Relationship Management tools, Online Assessment Tools, Applicant Tracking Systems and Electronic Offer tools — to help deliver that experience. SkillSurvey Reference® and SkillSurvey Source® have played key roles in this process since 2011.
“By helping us hire to our values, we’ve been able to bring on board people who really want to create a community among team members. And when employees are happy and engaged, they deliver a more positive experience to our guests.”Claire Domark
Enhancing the Reference Experience and Getting More Insights
Candidates simply enter contact information for references into SkillSurvey Reference, and the system automatically sends the job-specific survey selected by the recruiter.
“The system is really easy for candidates to use, and it saves time for recruiters by automating the reference checking process,” says Claire. “Recruiters no longer spend time playing phone tag to track down references. And because SkillSurvey Reference automatically sends out reminder alerts if the reference doesn’t respond, the recruiter is freed up to spend more time speaking with candidates.”
The tool also improves response rates. Many companies restrict references or instruct employees to send requests directly to the HR department. But because SkillSurvey ensures confidentiality and has a legal waiver, it adds a level of comfort that allows references to be more open and provide honest feedback that is relevant to the job role.
Once references come back, SkillSurvey creates a report with overall feedback and verbatim quotes on the candidate’s strengths and where they could use improvement. “If we’re looking at two candidates, the reports give us all the data we need to make hiring decisions. The comments provide added insights from past co-workers and managers that give us a great picture of how they are to work with.”
The report also provides behavioral interview guides that allow managers to follow up on potential issues and makes for consistent interviews across candidates.
In one example, the system helped Cooper’s Hawk identify a candidate who gave fake references. “The person had a couple of different references with the same IP address, so SkillSurvey flagged that,” said Claire. “After investigating further, we ended up not moving forward with that candidate because they weren’t truthful with the references they were giving.”
57 unique surveys
4.5 reference responses
30% of references
61% of passive candidates
“About 30 percent of our references opt in to SkillSurvey Source. We’ve pulled 41 people in to become candidates and 11 were hired.”Claire Domark
Building a Community of Candidates
“We get alerts in our email inbox when new candidates opt in,” Claire says. “We can then reach out to the ones we think have the right background for a particular opening. Even if we don’t have an opening, we keep them in our database, so we can reach out to them later.”
“By helping us hire to our values, we’ve been able to bring on board people who really want to create a community among team members. And when employees are happy and engaged, they deliver a more positive experience to our guests.”
About Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants
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