Hiring in the Hospitality Industry

Hiring in the Hospitality Industry
April 23rd 2024

Hiring to grow your team can be an exciting process, but it can feel overwhelming at times. It’s a competitive market with high turnover rates. Hiring the right people can positively affect your guest services. Additionally, high employee retention means less money spent on hiring, thus having a positive impact on your bottom line!

After managing and consulting various hotels and restaurants over the last decade, we've seen the ins and outs of what makes or breaks a hiring process. Using this knowledge, we compiled a guide to help you fine-tune your process and hire amazing talent.

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Key Factors for Hiring the Right People

In a service-facing industry, your people are the main point of contact for your guests. So make sure you hire people who are friendly, great problem-solvers, and who are excited to represent your hotel.

But how do you do that?

Here are some aspects of the hiring process that should be evaluated and refined to attract the right people for the job:

  1. Write a compelling job post
  2. Make your benefits package compelling
  3. Post your job on the right platforms
  4. Look beyond the resume
  5. Ace the interview


Write a Compelling Job Post

The same way a hiring manager judges a candidate based on their resume, potential applicants will judge your job description as well. Here are some tips and tricks to optimize your job posting to attract the right people and filter out unqualified candidates:

  • Show off the company culture: Don’t just say you’ve got a great team, show it! Demonstrate it through the words you use to describe your company and the position. Understand your target audience's desires and what they want from their job and speak to it in the job post.
  • Personalize your job post: Let people know who they’ll be talking to when they apply. Don’t just refer to the hiring manager as… the hiring manager, name them and provide some background information on them to make it more relatable for an applicant. Some platforms, like LinkedIn, even let you upload a photo of your hiring manager so applicants know who they are talking to.
  • Be clear about expectations: Let people know up front what experience and qualifications are needed for the job. This can save a lot of time because people can filter themselves out rather than you having to do it.
  • Share the right information: People want to know what they will earn at your company, even if it’s just an estimate. Another determining factor on whether someone chooses to apply for a job is benefits. If you offer these, make sure you list them! And if you don’t, you may want to reconsider. The hospitality hiring market is extremely competitive and without the right benefits to attract and retain great employees, they could go somewhere else.


Make Your Benefits Package Compelling

Attract quality applicants who will stick around long-term by offering competitive benefits. A desirable benefits package can be a great way to ensure your staff’s well-being, satisfaction and productivity. In the hotel industry, common benefits offered are:

  • Health insurance, including vision and dental insurance, to help your employees feel secure and supported
  • Paid time off (PTO), including paid holidays and sick leave, to reduce stress
  • 401k, or other great retirement plan, so your staff can plan for their future
  • Bonuses or commissions (if relevant) to keep your team motivated
  • Employee discounts and perks to give back to your employees

Offering benefits that are competitive in your industry will help you acquire the right talent, ensure a positive work environment, and retain skilled employees for the long term.


Post Your Job on the Right Platforms

You’ve written a great job post and selected the right benefits for the job. Now where do you post it? The exact platform to use depends on your company and the position you’re hiring. Here are some options that could be handy for posting your job:

  • Job boards: Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Hcareers, LinkedIn Jobs, HospitalityJobs and more.
  • Social media: LinkedIn is a great platform to post your job description. Instagram and Facebook are good platforms to post regularly and show your work and company culture. This can help potential candidates get familiar with your hotel or restaurant and get connected.
  • Job fairs: Hospitality conferences and events can be a great place to connect to a diverse talent pool and showcase your company.

There may also be some local or regional job platforms you want to use to hire talent in your area (as opposed to nationwide). Other places to consider are job boards at local high schools, colleges and universities, depending on the job position.

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Look Beyond the Resume

If you’re lucky, you’ll have a great talent pool to choose from, but at times, hiring can be tough. Because hospitality is a service industry, it may be good to look beyond the hard skills mentioned in someone’s resume. Consider hiring someone with soft skills that are relevant to your hotel or restaurant and, ultimately, to the job they will be performing for you.

Some soft skills to look for include:

  • First impressions: How does the candidate present themselves? Having in-person interviews with applicants is a great way to see if candidates impress you. If they don’t, they probably won’t impress your guests either.
  • Customer service: Diplomas and certificates can be impressive, but in the hospitality industry, service is key. Look for candidates who have strong communication skills and can handle difficult situations with a smile.
  • Flexibility: The hospitality industry is fast-paced and demanding. Look for flexible candidates who can adapt to changing schedules and tasks.

It can also be helpful to discuss growth desires and opportunities with your applicants to learn about their passions and plans.


Ace the Interview

As we know, while we are assessing candidates to see if they are a good fit for our company, they are also assessing us and our company to determine if they want to work here.

The job interview is a great time to show candidates your company's culture and anything that is important to fulfill their job if they get hired. Other than providing background information and talking about the job itself, it’s also important to ask the right questions to learn if this candidate will be a great addition to your team.

Here are some tips and best practices for providing a positive interview experience:

  • Follow up with candidates you want to talk to in a timely manner. No one wants to wait weeks (or sometimes months) to hear back about a job they applied for. Try to get back with applicants within a week of their initial application, even if it’s just a standardized “thank you for your application. Someone will be in touch with you within the next two weeks.”
  • Kindly reject people who don’t fit the job role. Even if you aren’t hiring someone this time around, it’s still wise to treat them with respect. Send them a rejection email, thanking them for their time to apply. This way, you won’t leave a bad impression, and they may consider your company again, or recommend it to a friend, in the future. It’s never a bad idea to be nice.
  • Be hospitable. Make sure you’re on time to the interview and offer your applicant a beverage. The first impression they have of you and your company is just as important as the impression they leave on you.
  • Ask the right questions. There are many different types of questions that you could ask your applicants to learn about their skills, goals, personality, etc. Some types of questions we like asking include:
    • Understanding: “What does hospitality mean to you?” This type of question helps you learn about their experience, knowledge and thoughts regarding the industry.
    • Passion: “What is it that draws you to the hotel or restaurant industry?” Not only does this question provide insight into their passion and personality, but it also gives you an idea of their long-term career plan. In other words, are they here to stay?
    • Expectations: “What are your expectations from us as an employer?” It’s important to align your expectations as an employer with those of your (potential) employees to get the most out of this relationship and create great stepping stones for the future.
    • Future: “What do you want from this job role?” Questions like this help you learn about their expectations for the job, but also about their passion and loyalty. Do they see themselves growing within the role or the company, or are they only there until they find something else? This is a great question to ask to extract the serious applicants from the rest.

As mentioned before, hotels and restaurants are people-serving industries. Therefore, your new hire must impress you and your guests! Finding the right person doesn’t have to be challenging. Bringing other team members into the hiring process can be helpful to make sure the candidate is a good fit within your current team.

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Retain Your Employees Once You Have Them

Hopefully, you’ve hired the right candidate after this process. The next step is extremely important: retain them! A competitive salary and benefits can be a great way to keep people at their job, but other strategies for employee retention can be implemented without spending lots of money.

Some suggestions on keeping staff motivated and engaged with the organization include:

  • On-the-job training
  • Certifications and licenses
  • Personal skill development
  • Bonuses and promotions
  • Team building activities

Offer career development opportunities to keep staff motivated and let them grow within your organization. Learn about their wishes and needs through regular conversations and annual reviews. Have staff create personal goals to develop skills and grow within the company. Allot time for them to work on these aspirations and support them in achieving their goals. Make sure you praise employees who perform well, either in person, in public, or perhaps via social media. Make them feel appreciated!

Investing in your employees fosters loyalty and engagement within the organization.


Let Prospera Hospitality Support Your Hiring Efforts

Hiring the right staff for your business is crucial for its success. If you find it to be a challenging experience for your restaurant or hotel, you are not alone.

If you’re having trouble meeting your hiring goals, consider looking into an experienced management partner who can take the burden off your shoulders and give you time back to focus on other important areas of your business.

Prospera Hospitality offers human resources management and employee recruitment services as part of our hotel and restaurant management services. When working with us as your hospitality management partner we can help you build a strong and dedicated team that will help your hotel or restaurant thrive.

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