Skip to main content

Bringing smiles in hospitality recruitment

Did you know that the hospitality sector employs 12 million people in the EU? According to Eurostat, the tourism industries account for 22% of people employed in the services sector. It has the potential to create jobs for economically less advantaged socio-demographic groups or regions while enhancing workplace diversity. In many accounts an important employment sector, not only for its economic size and merits. The commonality amongst everyone working in hospitality is that their job is to make people smile. It is the best example of a services industry that puts its clients’ (or should I say guests) happiness in first place. So why do too many employers in hospitality not yet facilitate the smile in their recruitment process? And what can they do to select the right employees?

Tourism industry breakdown

Nearly 7 million of all the people employed in hospitality work in the food and beverage industry, while 2 million are employed in transport. The accommodation sector (not including real estate) accounts for 2.4 million jobs in the EU; travel agencies and tour operators account for nearly half a million. Here is a link to the full report from Eurostat:

Key personality traits

If your job is to create happiness for your clients while they are enjoying their leisure time or holiday, extraversion would most probably be the most important personality trait amongst the BIG5. Your ability to be outgoing and cheerful will go a long way. But to limit ourselves in the selection, would not take into account the wide variety of roles and jobs in the industry. Generally-speaking conscientiousness is seen as the best predictor of job performance. This means having self-discipline and being orderly as well as somewhat achievement oriented. But this basically applies to all industries. The same goes for emotional range, also referred to as neuroticism, and indicating the degree of emotional stability and impulse control. The latter is a negative predictor of job performance. Getting the right people in your team in hospitality means, placing particular emphasis on these 3 of the BIG5 personality indicators.

Small company size

According to Hotrec, the umbrella organisation of Hotels, Restaurants and Café’s in Europe, hospitality enterprises are predominantly of small and medium-size: 99% have less than 50 employees and as many as 92% have fewer than ten workers on their payroll. Being small means that there is usually not much budget for recruitment software or technology. Candidates apply via email or via referrals. Even the larger employers can be organised decentral, leaving recruitment of staff to the local hotel manager. When it comes to bookings and purchasing, hotels do allow for central systems and organisation. Which makes you wonder why this is different for HR and recruitment. My guess is that it has to do with the fact that much recruitment is local given the fact that employees will need to be able to commute to and from work with working hours that are outside of office hours. At the same time, we see more and more recruitment taking place across borders for seasonal workers to travel to another country and work in hospitality.

Video recruitment can offer a solution for companies that are of a smaller size and where the selection on personality, or the ability to deliver smiles, is especially important. Applicants can apply with video directly on the homepage of the hotel or restaurant. They may even walk by, scan a QR code and leave a video application with their smartphone. Hotel and restaurant managers can get an impression of the person that would meet ‘their’ guests and can easily assess the relevant personality traits. An automated video interview allows international candidates to apply by answering structured questions that could include situational judgement tests (SJT), checking how the candidate would deal with a specific situation. Using video recruitment is easy, affordable and will help put a smile on the face of both hiring manager, candidate and… your guests.

Happy hiring!


Infographic | Why Video Recruitment Works | Download