The key to better managing your labor costs is to turn over the applicants, not the employees. How? Become a better interviewer. The most important part of any interview comes in the planning. Being well prepared will send a clear message to applicants that you’re serious about finding only the best people to work in your restaurant.

Use this interview agenda as a baseline to create your own:

Greet the applicant and put him or her at ease with small talk.

  • Explain what you hope to accomplish with the interview.
  • Tell the applicant that you’ll be taking brief notes.
  • Ask questions from a prepared question list.
  • Follow the 80/20 rule: Let the applicant do 80 percent of the talking — you should only speak 20 percent of the time.
  • Review the job description. Answer any questions the applicant may have.
  • Finish by explaining your timetable and the next step in the hiring process.

Excerpted from Turn the Tables on Turnover: 52 Ways to Find, Hire, and Keep the Best Hospitality Employees. Click for a special offer worth nearly $20!