Recruitment and Retention Tips in the Hospitality Industry

Recruitment and Retention Tips in the Hospitality Industry

Finding the right person for the job, any job, is a challenge during recruitment.  But an even bigger challenge can be retaining them.  If there is one thing I learned in all the years I was hiring and firing people (the former more often than the latter) is, when hiring, DO NOT GET DESPERATE.

Sounds like love advise?  Well there are actually parallels to love, recruitment and careers but…that’s not what this article is all about. Getting back on track, recruitment desperation leads to a lot of frustration and wasted resources, be it time, money, energy, or sanity.  The position of the person being sought will not go away so you may as well wait to recruit the right person to fill it, rather than the hire the wrong person and later see your plans screwed up.

When undertaking recruitment and looking for the right person, you should take no short cuts, nor should you scrimp on human power investment. Make sure the following steps are followed to the last detail:


Define, expound, explain accurately.  Be direct to the point on what you want done day to day, achieved month on month, earned year on year, whether it is revenue, people, costs or investments. If the position requires someone with experience, make sure that is clear.  Likewise, if the candidate is required to do shift work that may include evenings and weekends, include that.


The salary range will help filter out those who would be interested to work and stay from those in search of greener pastures. If there is a starting salary with the possibility of advancement make this clear.


State what your company does and what it has accomplished since it started, or at least of late. Be clear about what you do with a good Mission and Vision Statement.

Put down your address.  Believe it or not, it helps filter the people who would be willing to work and stay with you.  In today’s current traffic situation, proximity is as important as the benefits and compensation schemes.


Having a Careers Section on your website shows professionalism and gives the impression people want to work for you.  But if your company is not well-known, no one will be searching your site for career opportunities.  There are a number of avenues to choose from.  The more popular ones are Jobstreet and LinkedIn.  You can post in organization sites that are related to your company.  Facebook has been used by some companies as well, with a number of recruitment groups set up by location or career type.  Making use of headhunters can be an effective way to find the right person, as long as you are prepared to invest in the service.


So you’ve received your applications already.  How do you sort the good from the bad?  Below are a few tips:

Keywords. Establishing the most suitable keywords will enable the search to be more objective thereby narrow down the list of candidates, not lengthen it.And in the process, the list is narrowed down to more often than not the qualified ones.  Be specific when using keywords.  Don’t use keywords so commonly used like ‘organized’, ‘leader’, ‘pleasing personality’, ’self starter’, as these words will flood the search result.

Attention to detail.  The devil is definitely in the detail so invest time in going over the selection.  If you want someone with experience, then read on the related experience the candidate has.  If you are looking for communication skills, you can detect the skills from the submitted profile.  Age, gender and religion are not politically correct selection qualities but there are truly jobs that will honest to goodness require these specifics with no prejudices.

Score Sheets.  Have a standardized score sheet for each candidate, giving a point for each of the key requirements you listed in the Job Description or Person Specification.  Give 2 points for each requirement where the applicant has evidenced they have this or have achieved this in a previous position.

Interviews.  This may be done face to face or digitally.  Although most companies still prefer to do it face to face, video interviews can still reveal a lot about the candidate’s character, personality and work ethics.  The important thing is to find out what it is about the person that will make him accomplish the job.

Check out our article for Tips on How to Ace an Interview, as a candidate

Some dos and don’ts when conducting interviews:

Recruitment Don’ts

Don’t have people coming all at the same time.  What happens is you have people bundled up together waiting for their turn or filling up an application form while you rush going over profiles to finish one interview after another.  This is to say the least inconsiderate, unprofessional, and ineffective.  Time is gold FOR EVERYONE, not just for the company doing the hiring.  Some will say that the wait is a test on whether the person truly wants the job.  Well guess what?  They want it otherwise they won’t be going in the first place.  Consider that people will have to go on leave to make it to the interview, lose a vacation leave or even a day’s pay.  Don’t assume they blocked off the whole day for the interview.  This may shun away or turn off qualified people in the onset.

Don’t ask the proverbial question ‘tell me something about yourself’.  It’s very awkward and I feel the interviewer is often times not listening.  Usually, the interviewee will only repeat or summarize what’s already written on the CV.

Don’t set an appointment when the interviewer won’t be around.  This tops the list of unprofessional behavior on so many levels.  Needless to explain why.  And if you are wondering why, you shouldn’t be the person in charge of hiring.

Don’t keep the candidate hanging when they don’t make the cut.  Be upfront about the selection and don’t build people’s hopes by saying we will evaluate your application and get back to you on the status, when you know that the person did not pass the initial interview.  Allow both parties to move on IMMEDIATELY.

Don’t ask why the applicant is leaving or left the company.  You will receive responses that are politically correct and will not really receive the real reason.  Instead, ask what will make them stay in their current job.

Recruitment Do’s

Give the date, time, place and person to look for when confirming an interview.

Update the applicant of the status of application.  Whether good news or bad news, the applicant must be kept informed.  The medium doesn’t matter as long as they are kept informed.

Do away with unnecessary requirements during the pre-hiring process.  Do you really need to ask for the diploma of 20 years ago from someone with an employment record of the same time?  And transcript of records?  Really? And birth certificate?  Wouldn’t presenting a government ID mean that a birth certificate had already been established during it’s acquisition?  The procedure needs to be updated as it is so passe.

Be ready with a figure to negotiate with when compensation is being discussed.  If there is none, be upfront about it.  It will be the applicant’s decision whether to accept or not on the most honest of terms.

Give a specific time that the person needs to be on board.  Allow for some time to complete and submit the requirements, as well as tender the resignation with the previous employer (if there is any).  This usually sums up to 30 calendar days.


Present the job offer however be prepared for a negotiation not only in terms of compensation but benefits as well.  There may be a concern on vacation leaves or offsetting work hours.  One may negotiate on benefits and perks.  Once this is wrapped up and agreed upon by both parties, it should be followed through with a contract, needless to say with start date and date of initial evaluation, and  compensation package.


Even self starters need training invested on them.  Every company hiring a new person must have a training schedule or a training manual to refer to.  This should comprise the company history and profile, code of conduct, organizational chart, departmental functions, policies and procedures.  The mission and vision of the company can help inspire the new hires and direct them to the right path.


The new hire must be informed of the frequency of the performance evaluation.  Evaluations must be transparent and objective, usually completed by the immediate Superior.   When evaluating, it is best to start with the rate in which the goals are reached.  Goals have to be realistic and measurable in order for the evaluation to be justifiable.  The new hire must be given the chance to defend his performance.  It is up to the elevator to discern reasons from excuses.


By law, in the absence of a completed evaluation, a tenure of at least 6 months will automatically regularize the employee.  Only an evaluation requiring an extended probationary period will keep this from happening.  It is best for the company to discuss deliverables, entitlements,merit increases (if any), and expectations to the employee.


If you want employees to stay, keep them happy.  If this is too broad, below would be suggestions to keep employees from tendering their resignations:


Keep the compensation at least at par with the industry rate if not competitive.  The grass is always greener at the other side of the fence but if you keep the employee content with a salary that is competitive with another company, the employee doesn’t need to look at the other side of the fence.  Again, compensation is not just salaries and wages.  It can be benefits, perks, allowances, tax shields, bonuses, service charge, incentive programs.  Also and most important, do not delay salary distribution.


Consider how people can work more effectively with the space they are provided with.  The growing trend of an open door policy does not always work with every industry, company, department or unit.  Some matters need to be kept behind closed doors while others prefer to work quietly in their personal space.  Is the energy of one gloomy person pervading the walls of the work place and affecting everyone else’s productivity?  Or maybe someone is speaking too loudly that the co-worker across the room cannot hear himself think?  Is the configuration promoting the formation of factions?  Does everyone have a desk to work on?  Is internet connection strong enough to handle so many users at a time.  Is there a decent meeting room for that purpose?


Is the company equipped with the necessary devices and equipment to support employee productivity?  Are the employees provided with the devices necessary to complete their day to day tasks?  This is not about gadgets alone but office equipment as landlines, Pabx, telephone apparatus, projectors, laptops or desktops, printers in color and black & white, photocopiers, scanners,monitors, updated systems, and others.


Employees want to be more than anything recognized and appreciated for the work they poured in to contribute to company productivity.  And since they’ve already been recognized, why not reward them for a job well done.  This boosts the moral of not only the awardee but most of the employees as well.


When targets are met, we can say one is just doing his job and leave it at that.  But when targets are exceeded, giving bonuses and or incentives will not only encourage to repeat the performance, it will give the employee another reason to want to stay.


Another way to encourage employees to keep themselves healthy and productive at work.  Any monetary addition to the year end tidings is always something to stick out for.


Everyone needs some time off to recharge, reboot, reorganize, reset.  Don’t take it against an employee if vacation leaves are being availed of.  It would help to be clear about prior notices to be given, timing to take the leave.  Also, respect the vacation time taken by the employee by not bothering him with work.  The same goes for days off.


Companies should exercise impartiality towards every employee.  Favoritism, nepotism, biases, prejudices are a few issues that will make a good employee go looking for another job. This applies to professional relationships with service providers and suppliers as well.


An employee will be encouraged to stay if he knows that the company has set path for him in the future.  It’s a way to not only recognize the work and potential of an employee, it also commits to his professional growth and career development.  This goes without saying, a package increase must be set for the employee’s new role.  More responsibilities will only yield more compensation.

As mentioned in the beginning of this article, the right person for the job is hard to come by.  Like looking for a needle in a haystack.  But once that right person is found and has been persuaded to start, it would be foolish to not invest in making this person stay.  It is much easier and less costly to keep an employee than to search for a replacement.

What do you think?

Written by Abi Galano

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