Why you don't need to be picky in your hotel staff search
When you have a position to fill, you probably come up with a list of the ideal applicant’s qualifications. A few items on the list might be five years’ experience in a similar job, an internship, references from managers, and a degree in a hospitality-related subject. Then, you seek out candidates who come as close as possible to that ideal.
Someone who meets all those requirements could be a great candidate, but formal qualifications aren’t necessary for a person to become a successful staff member. Being too picky in your staff search can actually backfire, leading you to choose someone who seems right on paper but isn’t a good fit. It can also make you overlook the candidates who would be star employees. Here’s why:
Skills can be taught
If you hire some people who don’t have much experience in hospitality, you can bring them up to speed by training them. You have to conduct training anyway since you’re not going to put new employees to work without first going over your business’ safety procedures, schedules, floor layout, and professional expectations. Even for people who have previous hospitality experience, training is important because the standards and procedures at their previous workplaces might have been different from yours.
So you can bring in new employees who don’t have formal qualifications and train them. But should you? Often, the answer is yes.
Personality is what’s important
While you can teach new skills, you usually can’t change someone’s personality or demeanor. Guests can’t tell if a staff member has a specialized resume, but they do know if he’s friendly and professional. Employees themselves are also aware when their personalities don’t fit in at a workplace and will start looking for other work where they would be a better match. And with turnover at up to 31 percent in the industry, finding people who have the right personality to stay with you long-term is crucial. Those people come from many different fields.
Strong employees come from diverse backgrounds
Suppose you have a candidate who’s never worked in hospitality; instead, her background is in the home health field. At first glance, it may seem like her qualifications aren’t relevant. But she does have experience anticipating her patients’ needs, which is helpful for relating to guests. She is used to maintaining energy over long shifts—also crucial for hospitality jobs. And she has learned to keep accurate patient records, a skill that she can apply to record keeping and scheduling in a hospitality setting. This candidate has potential despite not having formal qualifications—and the same is true of many people with backgrounds in retail, communications, and other fields.
Keeping an open mind about candidates regardless of their qualifications allows you to zero in on the people who have the right personality to thrive as members of your staff. Your guests will be happy to interact with them, and other team members will be happy because they’re working with people who have a positive attitude about their jobs and genuinely want to be at work. So the next time you’re about to discard a batch of resumes for insufficient qualifications, take a closer look.