What Makes a Good Hospitality Employee?
If you took a random poll on the street, many people would probably tell you that working in the hospitality industry is easy. They might think that the responsibility is low and that the tasks that must be completed are relatively simple. As a result of this, many people wrongly believe that all you need to staff the hospitality industry is a group of warm bodies. In practice, this could not be further from the truth. Quality hospitality employees have some characteristics that allow them to perform their jobs well. The truth is, not everyone is cut out for the hospitality industry, whether they are full time or temporary employees.
So what should a hiring manager be looking for? How do you identify good hospitality employees in an interview when candidates are putting their best foot forward?
- Communication-This is one of the first things that you should be on the lookout for. Many hospitality employees deal directly with your guests; without the ability to communicate effectively your guests will not receive proper customer service–crucial in this industry–and will likely be unhappy. Even back of house and support staff must be able to communicate well. Although they might not constantly deal with customers, they might at some point, not to mention that the hospitality industry is fast paced. Whether cooks need to get food prepared for a catered party of 100 or your maids need to turn over twelve rooms for waiting guests, an inability to communicate will surely lead to disaster.
- Look For: eye contact, well formed answers to interview questions and alert body language
- Multi-Tasking- Every position in the hospitality industry must be able to do several things simultaneously. This is where those unfamiliar with the industry seem to get confused. Although the tasks might be relatively simple, the ability to work on several things at once and get everything done correctly is a must. Servers must pay attention to multiple guests at the same time; hotel clerks must greet and answer telephones. Without multi-tasking, the job simply does not get done.
- Look For: examples from their past work that indicate an ability to multi-task; try asking two- or three-pronged questions that relate to slightly different topics.
- Attitude- Different personalities tend to excel at different jobs. While a higher strung, aggressive personality might perform exceptionally on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, those traits will quickly become a problem in the hospitality industry. You need staff who are able to remain calm and deal with customers and potential problems in a straightforward yet relaxed manner. Without the right personality, your employees will not do well with your guests.
- Look For: a candidate who smiles, answers to questions that hint at optimism
- Flexibility- This is another crucial trait for quality hospitality workers. For a temporary agency, it is an absolute must, as our temps will be changing assignments frequently. In the hospitality industry in general, an employee must be open and adaptable to changes. While doing business, things can happen quickly and employees must be able to react to the changes in order to best serve customers. Without flexibility even the most confident and intelligent people will not be effective workers in the hospitality industry at any level.
- Look For: open-minded candidates who can explain to you why flexibility is important
Quality hospitality employees often make the difference between success and failure in the industry. If a business traveler gets superior service at a hotel while meeting with clients in Phoenix, he is likely to remember that and book a room at the same hotel next time he’s in town. He might even tell co-workers about that chain when gets back home to Scottsdale. Realistically your customers don’t know whether they received that great service from a temporary worker or a permanent staffer; they just remember that they would spend money with you again.