Case Study: BJ’s Restaurant

In the dining industry, only one restaurant can boast having the “world famous pizookie®” on its menu. With over 150 restaurants and 10,000 employees constituting its family, BJ’s Restaurant strives to wow its guests with a valuable, cost-effective dining experience — no matter the location. As a family favorite
and table turner since 1978, BJ’s relies on its service-oriented staff and capable managers to create an exceptional dining experience for guests.

For the restaurant’s recruiting department, standards were set high to track down and secure quality candidates to fill its many locations nationwide. After experiencing headaches with other applicant tracking systems including increased drop-off rate, BJ’s knew it was time for a change. A desire for system customization and responsive customer service led BJ’s to explore new options and rejuvenate its recruiting process for the better.

In charge of finding, engaging and hiring the BJ’s dedicated employee base is the restaurant’s recruiting team, helmed by Director of Talent Selection Loren Reynoso and Talent Selection Manager Kelly Young. As a five-year veteran of the company, Young knew the hiring challenges that BJ’s faced — and worked with Reynoso to implement Jobvite as the perfect replacement. “Our hiring process is very different from other companies, such as tech companies, and we have a lot of steps to go through to find the perfect restaurant manager or support employee,” says Young. “With Jobvite, we’ve seen an uptick in candidates that have applied to BJ’s, and has been instrumental in pinpointing some great hires.” Now, thanks to Jobvite’s customization options and candidate prioritization, BJ’s has been able to transform its recruiting and hiring process into a seamless process on both sides.

Seamless Applicant Tracking System Customization

When searching for a new ATS to help elevate the company’s recruiting process, Young, Reynoso and the BJ’s team were primarily concerned about the implementation. Particularly when it came to handling candidate management, the BJ’s recruiting department wanted to ensure that the transition could be seamless between their prior applicant tracking system and Jobvite — and that their executives would be on board with the changes. According to Young, “With our prior ATS, the system got overloaded with the influx of candidates, clogging the process and slowing our hiring workflow.”

After introducing Jobvite, however, Young reports that the transition process was especially smooth. Now, the BJ’s team was able to be increasingly more hands-on, deciding directly what the new process would look like. “The nice thing with Jobvite is that it’s customizable, so we’re able to say exactly what we want when candidates are applying and organize things for what makes sense with our internal strategy,” explains Young.  “We can create hiring workflows and processes that align with our own interview style and requisitions.”

The ease of Jobvite’s HR integration process even helped some of BJ’s executives get on board with this new technology. Before Jobvite, the company’s referral process relied on direct candidate referrals to get the job done. Now, however, Jobvite’s Publisher Tool has empowered BJ’s employees to leverage their networks — and their network’s network — enabling automatic posting and simple, seamless referral management. According to Young, the ease and success of Jobvite Publisher helped the BJ’s executive team understand the incredible reach unique to Jobvite. “The first time we successfully hired a candidate with Jobvite’s Publisher Tool was before our executives, and board of directors, had experienced what the program could really do for us,” she says. “Being able to demonstrate its success to this team helped us show the true value of publisher for our company, and prompted them to turn it on.” Jobvite’s seamlessness across the board has helped BJ’s transform both its internal organization and its employee referral management program, setting the company up for future success.

Prioritizing the Candidate Experience

While Jobvite’s customization options have certainly had a major impact on BJ’s success, the recruiting team was also concerned with the external candidate experience. Without a positive candidate experience, BJ’s reasoned, candidates weren’t enticed to complete the application process. As she explains, “Our former ATS wasn’t right for our candidates. It wasn’t customizable to fit our recruiting style, and the drop off rate was higher because the application process was more complex and time-consuming for the applicants.”

With Jobvite, however, BJ’s recruiting team has been able to focus on the candidate experience and put its applicants first. The customization possibilities are endless, according to Young: “With Jobvite, we are able to structure our application, choose how much information we want to ask our candidates for up front, and then filter through the resumes we receive and send out our own, personalized follow-up questions, so it’s considerably more mindful of the candidate’s time.” Plus, once candidates are entered in the Jobvite system, Reynoso, Young and the team can keep all candidate records together and packaged up, so the correspondence, position and information surrounding a particular candidate is all in one place. For BJ’s, the convenience of prioritizing the candidate experience has allowed Young and Reynoso’s team to see a major improvement in the candidate experience. As she explains, “We have had a 30% increase in the number of candidates that apply to work with us, and, as a result, we can definitely say that the candidate experience has improved.”

Redefining Customer Service

Another area of concern for the BJ’s team when implementing a new recruiting system was the customer service and support channels. With BJ’s previous ATS, things weren’t perfect even when the system ran smoothly — which wasn’t always the case. After technical difficulties and system bugs, Young and her team were ready to try something new with Jobvite’s Customer Success team. “The customer service of our former ATS was limited,” says Young. “It was difficult to get answers or speak to a representative. There simply weren’t as many avenues to get help.”

Today, thanks to Jobvite, things are very different. “Jobvite’s customer service is great and easy to get a hold of with multiple ways to get help,” Young reports. “I can submit a ticket, I can call, I can open a chat — the entire process is very transparent and simple. I also have a weekly call with our Jobvite account representative. She walks us through the latest product releases and new features, so we’re always caught up and can stay responsive to candidates.” Jobvite’s customer service is only one small piece of its offering, but it’s clearly made a large impact on the effectiveness of BJ’s strategy.

As BJ’s continues to grow its popular restaurant & brewery, expanding its reach and delighting its patrons, the restaurant will look to Jobvite as an advanced, essential recruiting partner.

Between its innovative features, customizable application and valuable customer service, Jobvite will help BJ’s find, target and hire quality employees — and wow its diners for years to come.

Through Technology, BJ’s Evolved Their Recruiting Process

Jobvite’s Evolve Talent Acquisition Framework helps TA teams deliver world-class results. From initial assessment to specific action plans, Evolve empowers TA leaders to identify and prioritize areas for improvement so that no effort is wasted. Teams, processes, technologies, and strategies are optimized over time, and organizations emerge stronger, more efficient, and better able to adapt to the needs of the ever-evolving talent marketplace.

The Evolve framework offers four levels of talent acquisition maturity. By aligning technology with process, companies similar to BJ’s can level up from an Ad-Hoc process to be more Developed and Connected.

About BJ’s Restaurants

BJ’s Restaurants, Inc. (“BJ’s”) is a national brand with brewhouse roots and a menu where craft matters. BJ’s broad menu
has something for everyone: slow-roasted entrees, BJ’s EnLIGHTened Entrees®, signature deep dish pizza and the often imitated, but never replicated world-famous Pizookie® dessert. BJ’s has been a pioneer in the craft brewing world since 1996, and takes pride in serving BJ’s award-winning proprietary handcrafted beers, brewed at its brewing operations in five states and by independent third-party craft brewers. The BJ’s experience offers high-quality ingredients, bold flavors, moderate prices, sincere service and a cool, contemporary atmosphere. Founded in 1978, BJ’s owns and operates more than 200 restaurants in 29 states.