The View... Recruiting in hospitality

27/10/2016 - 07:00
Krishnan Doyle, director of COREcruitment, gives his opinion on why hospitality companies need to start fishing in a bigger pond when it comes to recruitment.

Staff, team, colleagues, candidates – call them what you will, we all need to find the very best we can to help grow our business. However, things have changed dramatically over the past 15 years I have been working in the sector.

When I started my business, a good 90% of our clients were extensively interested in looking at candidates that had linier experience within their specific sector; be it hospitality, property, leisure etc. They were keen to keep candidates in strict boundary, picking from a small pond, poaching from competitor business. For many businesses that was successful and I cannot lie, it served us well too.

However, times have changed: dramatically. We have suffered a huge financial crash in that time, the rise of social media and our imminent exit from the EU. The changing landscape means changing consumer behaviour and ultimately greater pressures on business to respond. Consumers are more diverse, are asking more of businesses and those business in turn have to diversify: gyms are doubling as nightclubs, Bingo halls are becoming part time music venues and music venues are becoming corporate spaces. They are all flexing to do as much as they can to appeal to ever critical customers and to add to the bottom line. It’s no wonder then, that clients should be looking to bring in candidates with diverse, mixed and varied experience.

Beyond the obvious up side of recruiting from a bigger talent pool (more selection of candidates, better the odds of finding a new hire quickly) it can also have some incredible benefits longer term to businesses. There is far more likelihood that those new skills will be shared amongst wider team members internally – up skilling existing teams. Furthermore, those candidates will inevitably also be able to approach challenges and well trodden business problems from a completely new angle.

Not only has market forces changed potentially how clients and businesses recruit – it has had a massive impact on which candidates are looking for jobs. The rise of social media means that best practice across multiple sectors can be shared readily to a wide audience. It is easy to look at businesses with high employee turnover, career progression and stability. Employer brand and reputation are more important than ever. Although this can mean employers have access to a wider range of candidates it does also mean that candidates have access to a wider range of employers and sectors.

In my view (running an agency that receives over 14,000 applicants per week) it can be the case that candidates no longer “self-select” when applying for roles – it is easy to send 100’s of CVs an hour to multiple companies without much thought. For an agency trying to create best practice this can create a massive task in sifting and screening.

In a post Brexit economy people are also willing to move around. They are willing to take risks and switch sectors along the way. It’s become less about working for bigger more stable companies and more about being nimble: moving to the smaller / start-up companies that are viewed as being more exciting. Giving new recruits the opportunity to work across roles, to grow with a company and to reap the benefits if it becomes a success. This approach has very much given rise to certain candidates looking at roles as projects – to learn a role, sector or achieve a result and then move onto the next challenge. Some employers like this approach as it should produce a more targeted and dynamic workforce.

Some brands and companies are already responding to this by multi skilling their employees. Major hotel companies are breaking their traditional departmentalized structure and moving towards a model where employees are trained to multitask all parts of the business. Facilities management and catering companies look at merging to save overheads and managers look after multiple as opposed to single service business. We view this as being a good thing as it means employees will receive more training and development and hopefully a wider skill set.

Whatever pool people recruit from there are three guiding principles of recruitment that rings true:

1. Ensure interviewers know how to market the business to potential candidates

2. Move fast – time to hire is a big factor in getting the right candidate

3. Act when your competitors don’t – we have seen some clients through the recent

4. Brexit hysteria who kept their heads down and kept on recruiting. As their competitors had panics and held on recruitment they had very little competition for excellent candidates. We conducted our own survey of placed candidates earlier this month and found that 86% of candidates were positive on Brexit

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