A good hospitality recruitment strategy is essential, because the staff make or break a hotel's reputation. Hospitality employees generally have a high turnover rate, so finding and retaining the best workers is one of the keys to success.
Why is hospitality recruitment so difficult? The short answer is that hotel and restaurant work is hard. This is compounded by low wages, few benefits, late hours, and instability. Staff bear the brunt of unhappy customers’ complaints, and often receive abuse. These factors can make hotel staff recruitment stressful and time-consuming.
It doesn’t have to be like that, though. We’re going to look at effective ways to recruit staff for the hospitality sector, and how to use our Hospitality skills test to accurately evaluate candidates’ skills as part of a pre-employment assessment. Our tips for hotel staff recruitment and skills testing will give you a solid foundation to build your hiring strategy.
Table of contents
- 1. Create a clear job description
- 2. Use employee referrals as well as external recruitment strategies
- 3. Never overlook background checks
- 4. Advertise for attitude
- 5. Consider offering a flexible work schedule
- 6. Offer unique job perks
- 7. Move fast
- 8. Give peer interviewing a try
- 9. Test for hard and soft skills with a pre-employment assessment
- 10. Hospitality recruitment interviewing tips
1. Create a clear job description
Before you even start posting advertisements for hospitality staff, take some time to craft a clear job description. Be honest about what the role requires.
It may be tempting to play down some of the more unpleasant aspects of the role if you are desperate to recruit staff, but it will backfire on you once you have hired and the employee discovers the job is not what they thought it would be. If you need someone to work unsocial hours or do a lot of physical work, be transparent about it.
Clear and detailed job descriptions for hospitality recruitment help to ensure that both you and the candidate understand exactly what is required in the role.
Here is some inspiration to help you create a great job description:
- Make your job title specific
- Open with a strong and clear summary of the role
- Include transparent details about the working hours, shift patterns and environment
- Include the exact job location
- If the job involves physical labor (hotel room cleaner or porter for example), be clear about it
- Highlight the day-to-day duties and responsibilities
- Include a list of both hard and soft skills
- Include a salary range
- List employee benefits
2. Use employee referrals as well as external recruitment strategies
Don’t make the mistake of focusing only on hospitality recruitment from outside sources.
When an organization is a great place to work, there’s no better recruitment tool than word of mouth.
An employee referral program is a good way of getting your existing staff to recommend candidates. Rewards could be in the form of cash or other goodies, such as vouchers.
You could also encourage staff to become your brand ambassadors. If they are happy to, ask them to post and share stories about why your organization is such a great place to work. However, social media is an unpredictable beast; anything that doesn’t ring true or seems authentic will be called out publicly by staff or customers, so it’s wise to keep things real.
3. Never overlook background checks
Background checks are crucial for hospitality recruitment so even if you are swamped, never forget this step. Employees will have access to guests’ personal information and their possessions, so you must ensure they have a clean record and that you talk to their previous employers.
An incident involving a customer’s private information or belongings being stolen can have devastating effects both on the guest and your organization. A thorough background check will reduce this risk, as it can find any criminal history indicating that a candidate could be a theft, fraud, or safety risk if hired.
You should also make sure that your hotel has a strong training program in place, and that everyone understands rules around data security, dealing and dealing with guest’s possessions.
4. Advertise for attitude
Hospitality recruitment can differ from recruitment in other sectors because it’s more important to advertise and hire for good attitude, not skills.
Why? It’s because job skills can often be taught, but an employee’s attitude and personality tends to be fixed. Because hospitality staff deal with customers on a daily basis, they need excellent customer service skills to keep guests happy (and returning to your hotel or restaurant).
What soft skills go into good customer service? You could look at using the WETCO method, which emphasizes the top soft skills for hospitality staff:
Later, we’ll show you how to create a skills assessment for hospitality recruitment that covers the most important hard and soft skills needed for the role. Another trait to look out for is good job motivation among your candidates, which you can assess with our innovative Motivation test.
5. Consider offering a flexible work schedule
Younger generations are demanding a change to traditional working conditions and benefits, and the most popular request is for flexible work schedules. Although a truly flexible schedule isn’t possible for most entry-level hotel roles, you can try to work around this.
Consider offering employees a shift schedule that fits better with their other commitments, as many have families or other jobs. For instance, many hotel housekeeping staff are women with families, so offering some leeway around school hours could keep you and your staff happy.
Giving your hotel staff options like this will help you to get more job applicants. It can also help to engage your current workers while helping reduce turnover, too.
6. Offer unique job perks
Most hospitality jobs offer similar compensation and benefits packages. This is usually an industry-standard salary without health benefits for part-time hourly workers. You can gain an edge over your competitors by offering unique and helpful staff benefits.
For example, a growing number of American workers can now draw half their earnings daily instead of on the more traditional weekly, biweekly or monthly basis under a new service offered by a startup called Instant Financial. Companies such as McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts use the payment scheme with their employees, and it’s proved very popular with hourly workers.
For more ideas of what perks you could offer, ask your existing staff what types of benefits they’d like to see. This could also improve employee engagement as well as be a useful recruiting tool.
7. Move fast
Hospitality recruitment requires speed. The market moves fast, and many hospitality staff take the first job that’s offered to them. This means you can’t afford to hang around, so it’s essential that you cut the time-to-hire as much as possible.
How do you create an efficient and quick hiring process? Ditch skimming the CVs, and use skills-based testing instead.
A thorough candidate skills assessment with TestGorilla is done online in one sitting, and the results are sent straight to you. One glance will tell you which candidates scored the highest, and you can then draw up your interview list based on the data.
This method cuts hiring time, which gives you a crucial edge in hospitality recruitment.
8. Give peer interviewing a try
Who already knows a job role inside out? The employees you already have working in those positions and who will be working with the successful hires on a day-to-day basis.
Why not delegate some responsibility to the people who know what the actual job is like? Ask them if they would be happy to help you interview prospective employees and assess their abilities.
This kind of hiring will not only lead to better staff, but it can also help boost team morale.
9. Test for hard and soft skills with a pre-employment assessment
As we mentioned earlier, hiring for attitude is perhaps the most important factor in hospitality recruitment. TestGorilla’s Hospitality (Hotel Incl. Restaurant) test focuses on a candidate’s soft skills, judgment, and the applied knowledge needed to perform well in an entry-to mid-level job in the hospitality industry.
This test is suitable for a range of hospitality roles, such as front desk staff, restaurant floor staff, and managers.
Don’t have a restaurant on your premises? No problem – we also offer a Hospitality (Excl. Restaurant) test to cover all the bases.
You can combine the Hospitality test with up to four other skills tests to create the perfect hospitality recruitment assessment. Browse our extensive test library to find relevant hard and soft skills tests for the hospitality role you are hiring for.
Depending on the specific job role, suggestions for tests that would fit well in a hotel staff assessment include:
- Communication test
- Following Instructions test
- Problem Solving test
- Time Management test
- Motivation test
- Big 5 (OCEAN) test
- Customer Service test
These are just a few ideas of the kinds of tests you might find useful to include in your hospitality recruitment assessment. It’s essential to give candidates their skills assessment at the start of the recruitment process so that you can choose the top scorers to go straight to the interview stage.
10. Hospitality recruitment interviewing tips
If you’re looking for interviewing inspiration, here are some points to consider for hospitality recruitment interviews:
- Can they perform under pressure? Ask for an example of a time when they were under pressure at work and how they overcame it
- Can they handle complaints or angry customers? Ask them to tell you about a time they dealt with a complaint successfully
- Do they have good timekeeping and time management skills?
- Would you consider taking on a candidate who hasn’t got relevant experience but seems like a fast learner and has the right personality for the job?
Take your hospitality recruitment strategy to the next level with TestGorilla
We know it’s hard to recruit and retain hotel staff, which is why we believe skills-based hiring beats the CV/resume method every time.
Skills testing doesn’t just save you time and stress; the hard data doesn’t lie and shows you who has the right mix of job and soft skills to be successful in the role. It’s also fairer on the candidates because it removes the risk of unconscious hiring bias, and gives those who have the skills but not the resume experience a chance to shine.
Our Hospitality (Hotel incl. Restaurant) test will help you find the best candidates for your hotel and restaurant roles. Sign up for your free plan to get started with your first TestGorilla assessment. If you want more information or to see how our products work first-hand, book a free 30-minute live demo with our sales team, who will be happy to help.