Originally featured on Hotel Executive – http://www.hotelexecutive.com/business_review/5551/recruiting-hoteliers-required-vs-desired?type=trend

When a recruiter begins the process of sourcing top talent for a hospitality client, they often come to the conclusion that something is amiss. The first hint is some sort of diversion between the job description provided and what the client has requested. The second manifests itself as a gap between the suggested role and the the talent pool. Often, the recruiter goes back to the client and explains the issues only to receive resistance, most recruiters have been told they simply need to “look harder” at various points in their career. The recruiter will continue to search, only to encounter similar candidates.

Here are three ways that hotels and recruiters can work together to expedite the process, find the ideal candidates and get on the same page.

Start at the Beginning with the Job Description

Job descriptions are often started with a blanket/boilerplate set of job requirements, but hotels can’t stop there. A few additional steps are necessary to to get it right and attract the right candidates. Naturally, it’s impossible to know in advance when a job description might change, it’s important that the actual posted role mirrors what the job will be. Changing the position too many times will elongate the process and it can give the property or manager a bad reputation of being indecisive. At times this will be a necessary evil, but it should never become the norm.

There are a few ways to avoid this.

º Ask the team for feedback. What have they seen that’s worked (or failed)? What is really needed to succeed at the property or as part of the hotel’s staff? What did the most successful person in the role have that others didn’t? What position did this person (or people) hold before coming to the role?

º If possible, ask the employee that’s leaving for some real “on the job” feedback on the responsibilities. Be sure to review the exit interview notes to find any nuggets of information that can be used in the Job Description. If you don’t currently have exit interviews as part of the process, this will be a great time to create one. Often, you can find running themes, such as issues with supervisors, pay and even scheduling.

º If you don’t already know, get the breakdown of the team. How long have they been working with the group/hotel? What are their strengths? Not only will this be useful for figuring out what is missing, but it will also help give candidates an idea of the team they may be working with.


Once you have a great description, post and move to sourcing. While reading resume after resume isn’t always fascinating, it is a very important step of the recruiting process. Managers and recruiters must be thorough. You can’t hire the right team member if they were never contacted.

º The first step is always to try to find the best (as close to 100%) match as possible. Sometimes it’s easy and painless. Most times, however, the ideal candidate may want quite a bit more money or they may not be interested in a new move at the time. Although it is an easy trap to fall into, try to avoid overselling to get them into an interview. Be transparent and honest about the property and even share some of the challenges. Sell the team and the potential of not only the role, but also the property. Look at candidates that hold similar positions, even if they don’t have a full description. Not all resumes are written the same way and understanding of the role and hotel will be involved. Plus, most hotels have similar responsibilities.

º Now find candidates a bit under qualified. Maybe they don’t have as many years of experience or they are missing a tool or two. They could be working at smaller properties and wearing multiple hats; that’s pretty common. These are candidates that would jump at a more senior position at a bigger and/or more established hotel as their next step. Their drive can make them the best candidate. Keep an open mind to those that will go above and beyond to be successful. Somewhat junior candidates will typically also be open to your hotel or management company’s way and have less bad habits to bring along. Employees tend to be more loyal to companies and the people that give them a chance to progress and grow. This is an added benefit to hiring slightly below the job description; it can increase employee retention.

º Now find candidates a bit over qualified. There are candidates that love what they do and will stay in a role into retirement. These candidates don’t like to jump around and do their job extremely well. They shouldn’t be excluded or penalized just because they’ve focused on one role. Their knowledge of the job will give them the ability to exceed guest expectations easily. They take a lot of pride in what they do and it shows.

º Don’t overlook candidates that are unemployed and/or took a break. Being freshly unemployed can give these candidates a sense of gratitude for their employer. They’ll often try harder to show they were a good hire. These candidates are recharged and ready to go versus candidates that are currently working. Candidates that are currently working may find it necessary to take time off in between jobs to recharge. They run the risk of burning out quickly or take longer to be fully trained.

º Once you have a solid group of resumes, circle back with the General Manager, Director of Human Resources or the individual that will be making the hiring decisions. Let them know who you’ll bringing in and why. Sometimes this will mean explaining why you are bringing them in and other times it means a little selling. This is an important step because it’s never a good idea to bring in a candidate that will never be hired. If you are the one making the decisions, review the resumes again and have a clear understanding of why you are bringing each candidate in. If the candidate already has too many strikes against them, then maybe this isn’t the best person to bring in at the this time.


Now that you have a great mix of candidates, start interviewing. This is how you get a team with broad skillsets and personalities. While managers may be hesitant to interview those out of the box, push to get the right candidates in. Make sure to interview each candidate fairly. Regardless of where they were before, they are now in front of you and taking their time to get to know the hotel company and the opportunity. Interview them for who they can be and the potential they can bring to the hotel.

Try not to have too many managers in the decision making process. This again, is a way to slow down the process. Hiring committees can have separate views on their preferred candidates. If you are hiring by committee, try to make it an odd numbered team. You can also create a previously agreed on criteria on the best fit. Make sure that nothing is set in stone, but more of a guide. The entire team shouldn’t be included in the decision making process, but it’s nice to let the potential employee briefly meet them. You could plan to have the direct supervisor or team player provide a hotel tour. This will give them a little time to chat in a slightly informal way. This step can provide the candidate with a chance to bond with a team member. Making their decision to move to a new hotel easier because they have already made and acquaintance or created a bond with a coworker. This step can also provide the team member with a bit more insight on the candidate.

Close the Deal

Once interviews are complete, reconnect with the General Manager, Director of Human Resources or the individual that will be making the hiring decisions. Discuss why each candidate fits what they originally requested, why they fit in with the team and how they can grow. If what was requested is far from what is needed, just go into detail as to why they’ll be successful. When committee hiring, make sure to go over the same steps with each candidate. Get everyone on the same page. If that’s not possible then this may not be the right candidate. It won’t be fun for a new employee to have to adjust to a new job while also having to prove why they are a good fit for it. Always try to make sure all new employees are set up for success.

Something to keep in mind, Seasoned recruiters can help a property or management company figure out what works best. Listen to them, so your team can grow as quickly as needed. In regards to recruiting, they have their finger on the pulse of the market. Unfortunately, not listening to your recruiters (outsourced or internal) can affect how long it takes to fill a position. Hire the right team member for your team and not what can be “seen” as the perfect employee. The perfect fit will become the perfect employee.

Originally featured on Hotel Executive – http://www.hotelexecutive.com/business_review/5551/recruiting-hoteliers-required-vs-desired?type=trend


  1. Great advice about job requirements, I also have found that the job position I was trying to fill turned out to be different to that which was available. When I approached the client they said if we put down what the job actually was no one would apply !!!

  2. I found you post extremely enlightening, the recruitment business is on the way up as our economy recovers and the points you made will help guide the process of recruiting the right people for the right job a lot more straight forward.

  3. In the process of hiring for a hotel in the town and this post is a great guide. I had a lot of problems with what the employer thought the job was verse their actual job description. A failure in this can result in high staff turn over through missunderstanding.

  4. Your comment is highly appreciated. It’s all about a little planning that can save time and money for candidates and employers.

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