Ms. Connolly

Human Resources, Recruitment & Training

Refocusing on Hospitality Recruiting

Borrowing From Back to School

By Zoe Connolly, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight

As the summer draws to a close, and many seasonal getaways get ready to wrap their busy-season, the Back-to-School phenomenon kicks itself into high-gear. While kids will get new clothes, haircuts, shoes, notebooks and backpacks,job seekers should do the same (all right, maybe they don't need the Hello Kitty lunchbox). And just like teachers are getting their classrooms set up with new activities for their incoming class, the end of the summer is a great time for hoteliers to refocus their recruiting efforts, gearing up for their next incoming group of team members.

So in the spirit of Back-to-School, here are the things that hotels and candidates looking for employment in hospitality should consider as we enter the fall.

On the Candidate Side (Student)

  • Refresh that resume - Whether you're a returning college student hoping to take on a part time role, or, as readers of Hotel Executive, someone looking for something a little more senior, the reality is that most people perform very little maintenance on their resumes. If time has passed for you, there are a few things you might want to consider Have you learned something new, taken a class, received an award, been given new tasks or managerial responsibilities? Each of these may be things you can add to your resume. You may also want to check out the formatting and/or drop unnecessary information. Submitting an old resume with unnecessary info is like showing up to a new class with a full notebook with last year's notes. And while it might not be a new lunch box or pencil case, the results of a resume refresh can be extraordinary.

  • Updating profiles - It isn't just your resume that could use a refresh. Your social profiles may very well be in need of a new 'do. If you've updated your resume, the heavy lifting is likely done on this front. You can copy/paste a lot of what you've written, or to be more effective, write a synopsis for each role you've had for LinkedIn. Focus more on achievements than job specs, and be certain to keep it simple. For networks outside of LinkedIn, (especially) if you're searching for a new role, make sure that the photos you've got posted publicly, including your profile picture, make you look like a candidate people would want to hire. Potential employers are going to Google you. Be certain that the risque pics from the summer's ending pool party aren't the first thing they see.

  • Find a new club - In school, you could pick up an instrument and join the marching band. You could try out for a team, or go for a part in a play. In short, schools manufactured opportunities for you to meet new people and try new things. The real world doesn't work this way, but for job seekers looking to recreate the magic, there is plenty of opportunity to do so. Look into new networking opportunities, both professional and social (sports or hobbies) and play. You never know where the next position will come from. Make connections

  • Pass a note in class - Tap into your current relationships for openings at their companies (networking within your internal group): people may see you often and not think to mention a job opening. Ask! Let the people in your inner circle know your are open to new opportunities. Employers love to hire when there is a recommendation from people they trust. And besides, many companies have a referral bonus that can give your friends a financial incentive to help out.

On the Property side (Teacher)

  • Refresh your assignments - Upon arriving in the classroom, teachers absolutely must refresh their curriculum and assignments, after all, if students are coming to class with an iPad, the idea of teaching math on an abacus is probably not the best way to proceed. While it may not be that dramatic, there are many hotel job descriptions that seem as though they were drafted at the time when Oregon Trail was a cutting edge learning tool. If looking to bring in the right talent for a job, it's important that the right talent understands what a job will be (it's also true for working with a recruiter).

  • Start new clubs - If applicants are supposed to identify new networking opportunities, maybe it's also incumbent on properties to create new opportunities for them to do so. Are there new places where your property can be hiring? Properties can be very effective searching social media channels for meetups, events and networking opportunities that align with their company.

  • Revisit the signs in the classroom- Take another look at employer branding: be clear about what you stand for and make sure your reward and recognition programs are doing the trick.

  • Reward the A+ students - Internal promotions for team members that are already doing a great job can go a long way (especially with the holidays right around the corner). If it isn't a fiscally feasible time, then consider other perks like mentorship and increased scheduling flexibility can also be great for moral.

  • Start a referral program - Unlike the classroom where teachers are given a group of students, the business world lets us select the people we think will be most effective. If you're staffing up right now, referral programs are usually a very cost effective way to grow your team.

  • Bonus Advice - on the Corporate side - After all, the 'board of education' also gets into the Back-to-School spirit.

For those in corporate settings, many of the same suggestions apply. If a particular property manager deserves and has done enough to merit a promotion and it is feasible, this is a great time of year to make the move.

Sticking with the Back-to-School theme, one other piece of advice is to set up group work. Identify employees across properties and job functions and bring them together to learn what best practices maybe haven't yet been shared across your hotels.

Back-to-School doesn't have to be stressful. And for hoteliers, it can be a great time to refocus efforts and gear up for a successful holiday season.

Zoe Connolly is the co-founder and managing director for Hospitality Spotlight, a full service executive search firm for the hospitality and travel industries. For more than a decade, she’s pioneered innovative and proactive recruiting efforts, connecting the best talent with the best companies, across all levels of organizations. Currently, through working with clients like Starwood, Viceroy and Pacifica Hotels, Hospitality Spotlight has emerged as one of the go-to firms for senior level talent in the hotel and travel technology space. A refreshing combination of an expansive network and brutal honesty continues to push Ms. Connolly and her clients, both companies and candidates into a bright spotlight. Ms. Connolly can be contacted at 858-230-8501 or zoe@hospitalityspotlight.com Please visit www.hospitalityspotlight.com for more information. Extended Bio...

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