Do you recruit hospitality staff on attitude or aptitude?

What most people think about is what the job is and what are the skills that are needed.

I’m not saying that the skills are not important. Of course if you are recruiting a chef, you need someone with the right skills and experience.

And you’ll be looking for someone to complement your existing skills set.

You’ll also want people who will fit in with your values and your philosophy and your beliefs. If you have a particular value that you stress as part of your hotel offering, then it’s important to people who will tie in with and reflect those values.

But hospitality is about people. You can teach how to work to your systems, but having the right attitude, is absolutely essential. So rather than always thinking about the skills that you want to recruit for is to think about the attitude you need to recruit for.

And to my mind there are three things to consider here:

Having a passion for the business. That can be difficult to assess, particularly if you are recruiting someone who so far has very little experience within the industry. But do they how an interest in food, or any inclination towards wanting to work in hospitality, rather than it being ‘just a job’.

They need to like people. Hospitality is all about being welcoming, making people feel at home, and if they don’t have that aptitude, and that interest in wanting to make people happy, and liking people, they are not going to be a particularly good match.

And we all know this is an industry that requires hard work, and graft, so having that willingness to work hard is something that is going to be important to you.

There is a challenge here, and that is, how do you measure these things? So, when you are going out to recruit somebody do think about what are the ways you are going to measure these less specific or less tangible aspects; those attitudinal things. You may ask about their past experience, where they’ve worked before, how they’ve handled specific situations, or ask them to describe their own examples of when they have gone that extra mile for someone, or handled a particularly challenge.

Even with a school leaver look for examples of things they have done outside school to demonstrate taking on responsibility, working as a team, and so on.

Know what you want beforehand, think about what might demonstrate those attributes, and then don’t take their word for it, test it, challenge them and look for real examples. Better to find out in the interview if they haven’t got what it takes than after you’ve hired them.

All this and more will be covered in depth on my new on line Leadership Coaching Programme for Hoteliers being launched in September. Register here to attend the free tele seminar, receive more information, and be eligible for the early bird bonuses.

Caroline Cooper

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