What a subway sandwich artist taught me about effective recruitment

“As a seasoned recruiter, I’ve discovered that valuable insights can be found in the most unexpected places – including a local Subway. Now, ordering a sandwich may seem like a mundane task, but it became an enlightening experience that helped me improve my work as a recruiter.”

Cristina Rexach
Director of operations and technology at Digital Recruiter and founder and consultant at Think Lean

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As a seasoned recruiter, I’m no stranger to processes and efficiency. Yet, I’ve discovered that valuable insights can be found in the most unexpected places!

While I was with my kids in the United States, fresh from moving from Puerto Rico, a sandwich artist at a Subway surprised me with insights into recruitment efficiency.

Yes, you heard it right! Let me share my learnings with you. 

The subway lesson on effective recruitment

I am, by nature, an observer of processes, always seeking ways to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The Subway sandwich maker demonstrated this very principle in an engaging and unexpected way. 

Now, onto the meat of the matter. As the sandwich artist toasted my sandwich, a standard Italian BLT, I requested six different toppings. But what intrigued me was his approach to adding the toppings.

What caught my attention was how he added the toppings to my sandwich. The last items I mentioned were the ones he placed on the sandwich first before proceeding with the first ones I’d listed.

He revealed that he remembered the first three toppings I mentioned, then added the last three immediately as I was speaking so he didn’t have to remember them. This process allowed him to efficiently create the sandwich without forgetting any of my requests. 

It was definitely a fascinating demonstration of conscious decision-making in the pursuit of efficiency!

How this subway lesson translates into business processes

The sandwich maker’s approach struck a chord with me, particularly because of its relevance to business processes. 

We often get trapped in traditional ways of doing tasks, assuming our method is the most efficient simply because we’re used to it. But much like the sandwich artist, I believe there’s always room for innovation and efficiency.

It’s crucial to remember that the work we do today might not necessarily be optimized for tomorrow. The Subway sandwich artist didn’t just settle for making sandwiches. He mastered his craft, aiming to minimize errors and maximize efficiency. 

Now that’s a food-for-thought takeaway worth savoring!

Challenging the status quo

Much like building a sandwich, consider re-evaluating your tasks. Could some aspects be automated or streamlined? Could there be a ‘better’ sequence to do things? 

Improvement doesn’t always mean a complete overhaul of your current process; sometimes, it’s just about rearranging the way things are done, like placing the last-mentioned toppings on a sandwich first. A sprinkle of fresh perspective can transform a mundane task into an engaging and streamlined recruitment process.

Look at the things you don’t like doing – the tasks that are manual and repetitive. Consider how you could improve or automate these tasks to free up time for more strategic, fulfilling work.

Finally, don’t hesitate to reach out to others for insights. As in my Subway encounter, wisdom and inspiration can come from an unexpected place. People are often willing to share their successful strategies, especially if they feel their methods are appreciated.

The impact of small changes

The sandwich artist’s methodology may seem small and insignificant, but when you multiply it by the number of sandwiches he crafts in a day, it adds up to a massive amount of saved time and effort. 

Likewise, in the world of recruitment, small tweaks can lead to considerable efficiency gains.

I firmly believe we are all the artists of our tasks, and how we choose to perform these tasks determines our success. 

The lesson here is clear: never underestimate the power of efficiency and always be open to learning, no matter how surprising the source may be. So, chew on your processes, refine them, own them, and always keep an eye out for unexpected learning opportunities. They may just come sandwiched between the most common of tasks!

If you’ll excuse me, all this sandwich talk has made me hungry. Off to Subway!

Happy recruiting. 

Author

Cristina Rexach

Cristina Rexach is a dynamic force in tech, recruiting, and sales. Currently, she serves as the Director of Operations and Technology at Digital Recruiter and Founder and Consultant at Think Lean, bringing her technological prowess and process improvement methodologies to the forefront of the recruitment industry. 

Cristina has a proven track record of creating strategic plans that streamline client development, enhance recruitment effectiveness, and scale businesses.

The Digital Recruiter is a unique 90-day initiative designed to help recruitment professionals adapt and thrive in the modern business landscape. With a focus on tech stack optimization, thoughtful outreach, and compelling content creation, Cristina assists clients in building a robust brand that resonates with their target audience taking their businesses to new heights.