Hospitality Recruiting: Make Sure Your Candidates Have These Key Skills

March 5th, 2018
Ross Coyle
Recruiting Teams,
Video Interviewing

As the global economy continues its upward trend hotels will find increased demand and business opportunities, but with increased business comes the need for new staff and talent that can meet the demands of customers in 2018.

The hospitality industry encompasses more than 16 million employees in the United States and and is responsible for one in ten jobs around the world. According to Deloitte’s Travel and Hospitality industry outlook, the United States travel industry alone is on track to generate $370 billion in 2018. The World Travel and Tourism Council reports that travel and tourism accounts for $7.6 trillion of global GDP.

Erinn Tucker, with Georgetown University’s Center for Hospitality Studies, recently spelled out five emerging issues that the industry must address in 2018. Not only must hotels be ready to manage safety issues, such as sexual harassment and physical dangers but they must also be ready for consumers that demand more both technologically and ethically. Hotels will need an edge to recruit those perfect fits who can meet these demands before competitors snatch them up. Despite the glut of business, hiring in the industry is still challenging. You can make it easy with just three steps, starting with your hiring funnel.

Optimize Your Funnel to What Works

Before even considering your job postings, think about the personas of your ideal candidates and employees. Who is your ideal chef not just in terms of skill but personality? Who works concierge? Are they mid-career professionals? Starting new careers? Experienced employees? It’s crucial to attract the right people who can perform at the levels required but still align with company values and work well within the culture.

A job posting is easy but also passive, and for hotels to get an edge in hiring they must go beyond waiting for the right fish to bite. According to a study by British catering supplier Nisbets, more than a third of hospitality employees find jobs not on job boards but through word of mouth. Many major hotel brands are freeing individual locations to show off their attractions and amenities to guests, so why not use this for prospective candidates? Use social media tools to show off why your hotel is an amazing place to work.

By encouraging referrals from existing high quality employees and showing off your location through social media, you can boost your talent pool to draw motivated, enthusiastic candidates that are ready to start immediately. As talent moves down your hiring funnel, managers will need to know the key questions to ask when building their candidate shortlists.

Screen for the Skills that Matter

While general screenings will remove candidates who clearly don’t possess the skills and traits needed for working at a high quality hotel, interviews and assessments will reveal the best candidates. A basic search can provide you with the basic skills to look for, but are you ready to screen for candidates that can tackle the hurdles of 2018? Here are a few traits to look for in your assessments.

  • Technological proficiency is increasingly important as guests demand more tech integration with hotels through smartphone enabled room controls and services. While this doesn’t mean that your staff must also double as a help desk, they should know how to handle basic problems as well as work within your POS and other digital systems. Asking them about what technologies they use in their daily lives goes a long way to assessing how well they’ll adapt to your own systems.
  • With the last years plagued by scandals and terror attacks, make sure that your employees are responsible and ready to tackle potential safety issues at a hotel such as harassment or security issues. Are they observant enough to identify a problem before it happens? Can they tell when a guest is behaving suspiciously or uncharacteristically? Not only are these skills valuable to your brand but they may also prevent a business ending disaster.
  • Among the most important traits your employees should possess are innovation and the ability to help craft a great customer experience that aligns with the values of your hotel. Ask them about what they love about traveling and what places they stayed at that left them with a great experience. Ask them about what drives them to work at a hotel and what their goals are for the future.

Assess Candidates Quickly and Efficiently

When it comes time to assess your candidates, there are a number of different avenues. Tradition dictates screening candidates through assessment tools and then bringing the top scorers for rounds of interviews. Alternatively, you can use video interviewing software, such as OnDemand interviews or another service, to slim down your candidate pool.

Keep in mind that while digitization is a great tool for screening and surfacing candidates that might be overlooked it still requires human input to make the final decisions. Carnival Cruise Line uses video interviews to screen potential entertainers, but humans make the final calls.

By keeping these skills in mind and utilizing tools that will help screen and select the most enthusiastic and capable candidates, you can set your organization up for success as you enter the 2018 travel season.