Getting the Most Out of the Hotel Hiring Process

Originally featured on Hotel Executive –  http://hotelexecutive.com/business_review/5635/getting-the-most-out-of-the-hotel-hiring-process

As an employer, the interview process is a critical piece of growing, supplementing or replenishing a team. While some hiring managers see it as a fun conversation and an exciting way to connect with people, others see it as a necessary evil that can’t be avoided. For managers at properties who are looking to increase augment their teams, there are a number of steps they should take to get the most out of the time they’re spending with candidates.

The steps below are meant to maximize the in-person hiring process.

Read the Resume
The average recruiter takes around six seconds to decide whether or not a resume is worth investigating further, according to an old study published by TheLadders. This incredible lack of diligence tends to trickle down to hiring managers, who spend slightly more time (assuming the candidate is lucky). Whether it’s a phone screening call or the actual in-person interview, those in hiring roles should take the time to know a bit about who they are speaking with.

It’s also a good practice to review the resume at each point of contact where a hiring manager will be interacting with a candidate. In cases where a few weeks pass between the phone interview and the in-person, most hiring managers can use a quick reminder of what the candidate has accomplished in his or her career.

To go an extra step, hiring managers should consider looking at the candidate’s LinkedIn profile to see what types of content they are sharing and/or creating. This helps to get an even better idea of the candidate’s history before speaking with them. It’s important to remember that interviews work both ways; the candidate is also deciding if the role being offered is correct for them. A manager who (perhaps inadvertently) makes a candidate feel unimportant by seeming like they haven’t taken the time to review the resume beforehand can alienate worthwhile potential employees.

Provide Interview Details
Being prepared is an important step for any and every interview, for both the hirer and the potential hiree. As an employer, offering a wide range of specifics can help a candidate put their best foot forward. This means letting them know the people that will be hosting interviews, details on the locations (and any relevant parking information), along with the interviewing style. Will there be one interviewer or more? If there is more than one interviewer, will this be a panel interview or will the candidate meet each interviewer at a time.

Knowing the length of the interview is also helpful. If a candidate will be at the office for interviews for 4 hours without a break, they may pass on the water, coffee or tea offered (or, perhaps as a hirer, it’s important for you to build breaks into their meeting schedule). If lunch will be provided or if the team will go out for lunch they may want to check the restaurant or caterer in case of food allergies or sensitivities.

Candidates may also need to deal with daycare or other appointments in their schedule. Employers should provide an itinerary of the day and make sure to include the time, date, interviewers, meals, breaks, address and parking details. Any extra details are always helpful.

Respect the Time
For any number of reasons, hiring managers often end up interviewing candidates they will never hire. This is a tremendous waste of everyone’s time, and is something that should be avoided.

This is different than giving a candidate who meets most of the requirements, or one who’s been recommended by another employer, an opportunity. The goal here for hiring managers to identify candidates who are under consideration vs those who really aren’t. The latter group shouldn’t be granted interviews.

For candidates that do come in, It’s also extremely helpful and respectful to keep to the schedule. If for whatever reason an interviewer’s agenda is off the mark, hiring managers should ask the candidate if they have the time to extend the interview or if they need to reschedule. We’ve all been through interviews, and in many cases, we’ve had to tell current employers a white lie to find time to be out of the office. A prospective employer should keep this in mind.

Listen
Interviewers must step away from their phones and laptops; multitasking in interviews is a great way to alienate candidates. Qualified candidates have likely spent time preparing for the interview, and have important info to share that will decide if they’re the right hire or not. As a hiring manager, being on a device and not paying attention is a great way to miss this info.

The best way to get to know someone is to really listen to what they have to say and give them the opportunity to fully answer your questions. Try not to rush from question to question and instead, let the conversation flow. Interviewers who give a candidate the opportunity to offer up information and sell themselves often find out how the candidate can make a difference.

Disregard What Doesn’t Matter
In addition to reading a candidate’s resume before an interview, hiring managers should also review the job description for the opportunity before getting into the interview. And yes, this even applies if the hiring manager wrote the description. It’s important to keep focused on what qualifications are needed for the job and line up those specifications against the candidate’s qualification.

It’s also important to realize that people can have a bad day on their way to the interview. Sometimes, a candidate enters the room with a coffee stain on their shirt, or may have a shaky hand when it comes to the handshake. Things happen. It’s OK for hiring managers to cut candidates some slack, assuming these distractions and issues aren’t representative of the candidate’s overall potential performance.

Homework
At times a candidate may be asked to create a presentation deck, provide an original writing sample, or do deep research on the competition. Hiring managers should ensure that the homework actually applies to the position they are looking to fill.

When creating the homework, hiring managers should ask themselves if the skill set they are hoping the candidate will prove they have isn’t something that can be easily learned on the job. Homework should only give the candidate “extra credit.” In the hospitality industry, it’s a lot about personality and how people deal with guests.

Forget the Tricks
There are interviewers that try to trick candidates or put them on the spot. It can throw candidates off and ruin the entire interview experience (again, interviews work both ways). An interviewer can lose a great and qualified candidate because of how they felt at that moment in the interview.

This isn’t to say that there is something wrong with asking difficult or direct questions, but a serious interview should consist of steps a candidate can prepare for. The communication throughout the interview process will set and expectation to the candidate on the communication in their day to day life as an employee.

Follow Up With Details

While prospective employers should keep an eye out for follow up from candidates (like a thank you note), it’s equally important for hirers to follow up with candidates and provide details about how the interviews went, status on where they currently are in the process and next steps.

Quality candidates who feel like they were left out in the cold and/or have to send multiple requests to status updates tend to find roles at other hotels.

One of the best pieces of advice a hiring manager should consider might be to “treat every candidate like a guest.” Hiring managers won’t always be thrilled with every guest, but courtesy and professionalism go a long way in both the interviewing process and guest experience.