Tips for Getting Hospitality Hiring Right

Tips for Getting Hospitality Hiring Right

It’s a competitive market out there and with the recent booms in the economy, people are always on the lookout for new travel, entertainment, and leisure experiences. While this is great news for hotels, restaurants, and casinos, it sure can be a challenge trying to keep up with the demand. So how do you ensure your customers have great experiences to keep them coming back? It’s all about providing an enjoyable customer experience.

By Dean Harkins

How often have you been to a restaurant or hotel and something goes wrong? The restroom isn’t functioning or the WiFi is so slow it’s not even worth using. Most people are willing to forgive an issue or two, but it could come at the cost of a prized customer. The right staff, equipped with exceptional customer service, can turn that negative experience around to result in a lifelong customer. So how do you find talented employees that know how to skillfully interact with guests? How do you identify a good hire? We’ve got 5 quick tips that you can put into practice today!

1)Look for Service Intuition
Some employees seem to know just what’s needed before it’s even considered. Like the waitress that always keeps the coffee cup full or the hostess who’s checking in coats while processing a payment. It’s the dedicated and well-trained staff that keep your operation running clean and smooth.

By including qualifying questions as part of your application or interview process you can better recognize candidates who have the intuition to provide the exceptional service you’re looking for. Adding a few hypothetical examples of day to day operation challenges and asking how they would handle the situation can give incredible insight into how well the candidate might perform on the job. You may even get some unique ideas and creative replies that you can put into practice.

2)Seek Performance and Personality
It takes a combination of hustle and the right attitude to work in the hospitality industry. Having a weak link in the service chain can throw the whole operation out of whack and end up costing you precious time and energy in the long run. Finding the right talent takes a little work on the front end, but it ultimately pays off.

Hiring managers often make the mistake of being too nice and avoid asking difficult questions. Don’t rush through and miss the opportunity to get a good glimpse into how the potential employee will react in a real-world scenario. Interviews typically last only 20-30 minutes so it’s crucial to quickly recognize tactful traits and problem-solving skills. An effective way to determine what an interviewee is capable of is to have them describe an instance where a guest was not pleased with the service. Does the candidate take responsibility or lay blame elsewhere? Are comments negative or derogatory towards guests? Their answers are your first clues into the type of worker you will have on your hands.

3)Demand a Professional Demeanor
Most people put their best foot forward when interviewing and the hiring manager has the task to envision the candidate performing on the job. It’s easy to hire out of desperation, compromising ability over quality, but for some roles and positions it is just not negotiable.

Customer facing roles demand that you have personable and approachable staff. Every employee should meet your requirements and should be prepared and trained to deal with any customer situation. By surprising candidates with questions that go beyond their role, such as asking a dishwasher what they would do if a customer needed seating while the hostess was away, you can convey that customer service is a high expectation no matter the role they play in the company. Don’t be afraid to challenging your staff.

4)Identify Integrity and Responsibility
Trust is a key factor to consider in a candidate when hiring. Whether they handle cash or the have the duties of locking up each night, having employees you can rely on is priceless. Is it possible to screen candidates for trustworthiness?

Background checks can help to screen out risky applicants, but how do you identify excellent work ethics? Situational interview questions, such as, “Can you describe an instance where you thought a co-worker was doing something wrong, what happened?” If a candidate doesn’t have an answer, it could be a good indication that they may be hesitant in sharing reports, problems or issues with their manager in the future.

5)Improve the Quality of Candidates
If you’re still struggling to find the right hires, it just might be the source. Placing ads on job boards can bring in applicants but you’re looking for a dream team! StaffedUp is a hiring platform designed by restauranteurs created to tackle the challenges that hiring managers face in high turnover industries.

StaffedUp’s customizable and efficient hiring database automatically and professionally responds to candidates, freeing up time to focus on the interview. Finally eliminating the need for traditional paper applications and resumes, StaffedUp’s automation helps hiring managers get a real handle on scheduling and reviewing top talent. At just $29 a month for unlimited job posts, hiring managers can save money, get highly qualified candidates and build up an active pool of high quality candidates for the future. Getting started is free! Sign up today at

Dean Harkins
Dean Harkins joined Speak With A Geek (SWAG) in 2013 with over 10 years of experience in business and communications project management. As Communications Manager for Speak With A Geek, Dean handles all media, press relations, content & social management. SWAG is a leading Bay Area Talent Agency specializing in the placement of brilliant people with innovative companies.
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