Recruiting the right team members

Recruiting, hiring and turnover are the names of the game in the hospitality industry in most cases. The recruitment and hiring of talented employees — along with their training — is a constant challenge. 

Succession planning is critical — the time that there is not a job available is the time to start preparing for hiring and training. Having a well thought-out hiring plan — one that is reviewed and updated regularly — is key. Then, of course, when you need to fill a position, it will be much easier on your team and the new team member.

So what are the best practices for hiring in hospitality? Using the following resources should help reduce turnover and increase retention and hopefully will result in lowered costs with increased productivity for all. 

  • Networking: Put the word out in the community via word-of-month referrals from existing team members. A larger number of applicants will give you better chances on finding the right candidate. 
  • Newspapers, flyers or any print media 
  • Internet sites including Craigslist and Careerbuilder
  • Local businesses: Maybe you notice great service from an employee of a local gas station, supermarket or fast-food restaurant. This practice has been the most reliable source of recruitment in my experience. Also, hiring a team member without prior hotel experience can be a benefit because you can train the team member without any preconceived behavior from a previous property. 

It is very important to screen all applicants carefully and organize the applicants according to the qualifications and what job would be suited for that applicant. Take the time to read every application and resumé. Organizing the screening process will eventually save you time and money. 

Once you choose that new team member, it is important to have the new hire shadow a top performer on your team for a few days. The new hire will learn everything there is too know about their new job, and they will also see what management sees as a “good employee.” 

Set high expectations. Avoid mixed signals with the new team member and make it clear what is expected. 

Remember team members will always look toward you for expectations and a sense of how they are progressing with their jobs. It is important to remember this comes from the top down. Leadership must provide positive examples for all team members to follow; the new team member will see this positive attitude. Remember a positive work environment must have constructive criticism and mutual support. Work with the new team member to develop and to consistently improve, and it will help keep morale high, reduce turnover and improve guest services.