Solomon says it pays to share info

Solomon says it pays to share info

Dina Berta

The idea of creating an association for restaurant recruiters always seemed shaky, given the highly competitive nature of the business. Would recruiters on a mission to win over the best employees for their restaurants be willing to share strategies and ideas with their competitors?

Yes, says Clive Solomon, founder and president of the Association of Hospitality Industry Recruiting Executives. Nonetheless, the nonprofit group, now in its fifth year, has steadily grown to more than 100 members. Solomon is a former director of recruiting for Wolfgang Puck Food Co. in Beverly Hills, Calif., who now runs his own recruiting company, Clive Solomon Recruiting, based in Los Angeles. He is one of only two independent recruiters who belong to AHRE. The other members are restaurant managers and executives from small and large companies.

The group will hold its fourth annual meeting Oct. 20 at the Collins School of Hospitality Management at California State University Polytechnic, Pomona.

You’ve changed the acronym for the group. Didn’t you used to call it HIRE? People were mistaking us for a group of independent recruiters and headhunters. We’re not trying to find job candidates. Our members are restaurant recruiters, restaurant managers, multiunit managers, basically anyone primarily charged with recruiting.

The association has grown from a couple dozen members a few years ago. Is it easier now to communicate the value of it to recruiters?

It takes awhile for a recruiter to get comfort able with it. They are a group used to holding things close to the vest. But they see it’s an environment where sharing is encouraged and supportive and not taken advantage of.

What types of information can they share?

We now have an online e-mail discussion group. They can join that and put a question out to the entire membership and have group conversations. For example, one topic was on applicant-tracking systems. There are a lot of systems out there, and some can be very expensive. They were able to learn from the experience of other members in choosing a system for their company.

Why does the industry need a group like AHRE?

Restaurant recruiters are on the front line between the public and the restaurants from a career perspective. They are the ones who can put a better face on careers in the industry and show that it is so much more than the stereotypical hamburger flipper. The restaurant industry offers great careers for people.

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