Aimbridge Hospitality Explains How to Apply for a Career, Not Just a Job
Sponsored by Aimbridge Hospitality
While job candidates are happy to talk about their past work experiences or resume, they are often less prepared to discuss their long-term future career path during the job interview, says Heather Italiano, talent development manager at Aimbridge Hospitality.
Resumes are typically tailored to meet the criteria of the open position to which they’re applying and responses to interview questions address the immediate goal: a job offer. Yet, few job seekers discuss their projected career path for the next three to five years and beyond, which Italiano says is key to the hiring process at Aimbridge.
“We want the right candidate to fill this ‘now’ position, but we also want someone who is already thinking about their future, who has career goals and who wants to grow with us,” she explained.
Aimbridge is the largest hotel management company in the U.S. with more than 800 hotels and over 30,000 employees across 47 states. Because of the range of career paths they offer, the company serves as an incubator for long-term career-minded hospitality professionals.
The company’s internal “Grow With Us” platform facilitates promotion and transfer requests for existing team members and allows them to search for opportunities to advance their careers. The purpose is to leverage Aimbridge’s scale and cultivate leadership internally. Italiano describes “the heart of the Grow With Us program as development and promotion from within.”
But, to make the best impression as a strong, competitive job candidate, prospective employees to Aimbridge need to be prepared to proactively communicate their envisioned career trajectory during the interview process, asking pertinent questions and properly conveying how they perceive their future career path aligning with Aimbridge culture.
Italiano details two key approaches that can drive better interview outcomes for Aimbridge job candidates:
1. ASK SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR FUTURE
- What talent development programs are available at Aimbridge?
Ask how the company will invest in your career. What specific programs do they offer to guide you on the path to success? For example, in addition to the internal Grow With Us platform, Aimbridge also offers an apprenticeship program designed to advance entry level managers and hourly employees to mid-level management positions. Offered in conjunction with the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Education Foundation, the apprenticeship is one of Aimbridge’s most exciting talent development programs for employees. Aimbridge Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO Dave Johnson also serves as chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Education Foundation (AHLEF) and personally committed to the apprenticeship program on Aimbridge’s behalf.
Currently, the program is comprised of 30 apprentices as it is still in its pilot phase. But plans are in place to expand the initiative in 2019. In addition to hands-on learning that includes various forums and committees, apprentices are required to complete six self-paced, online learning modules focused on: supervisory leadership; human resources management; rooms management; financial management; food and beverage; and sales.
“In a six- to eight-month period, our apprentices get exposure to all operational and people management aspects of a hotel because we want well-groomed leaders and we know the best General Managers have experience in all functions across a hotel,” said Italiano. “It also enables our apprentices to take ownership of their careers and seek out experiences that are of interest to them.”
- How will Aimbridge help you grow?
Now that you’ve expressed why the current role is a fit for you and within the greater framework of your three- to five-year career plan, ask how Aimbridge will help usher you into the next phase of your career. If you take the current role that you’re interviewing for – whether Housekeeper or a Front Desk Agent, for example – what are the steps you must take to eventually become an Executive Housekeeper or Front Desk Supervisor? How will Aimbridge support you in the process? Is career coaching available?
- What does advancement look like at Aimbridge?
Ask for examples of how the company has successfully fostered the careers of current staff members and leadership. Aimbridge’s Senior Director of Talent Acquisition, Jason Cariveau, is among the latest examples of Aimbridge’s commitment to nurturing leadership. Cariveau was promoted to his current corporate office role after serving as Human Resources Director at the Aimbridge-managed Hyatt Regency Bloomington, MN. Italiano pointed out that “by asking your interviewer for examples of people who have grown their careers with the company, you’ll be able to tell if they have a passion for training and mentoring and that’s a good sign that they’ll invest in you.”
2. RESEARCH THE BUSINESS BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
- Italiano advises basing your questions for the interviewer on your research “because an interview is just as much an opportunity for the candidate to interview the company.” So before your interview, visit www.aimbridgehospitality.com, and be sure to familiarize yourself with things like: their business model and hotel portfolio; c-suite leadership, including how they got their start; other key team members; and the company culture.
- If you’re applying for a job at a specific hotel, learn all that you can about that property from its webpage, read guest reviews on TripAdvisor or other travel sites, and look at current pictures of the hotel, etc. Also, see if the hotel has a presence on social media (i.e., Facebook, LinkedIn). Many times our teams post team pictures and recognize their achievements on social media, which gives candidates a great idea of that team’s culture.
- If you know the name of the property’s General Manager, research him or her on LinkedIn. Learn about their career history and ask specific questions during your interview about their own personal career path.
The most successful hospitality job candidates, says Italiano, come to the job interview prepared to talk about more than the position in front of them, but are also excited to discuss and ask questions about their long-term career path.
Italiano advised, “We’re looking for people who want to grow their careers, have a vision of what their future looks like and have the determination to get there so that we can partner with them from day one and help make that vision come to life while they work for Aimbridge.”