A guide to finding the right staff for your luxury hotel

Luxury hotels regularly cater to celebrities and extremely wealthy individuals; guests who have become accustomed to the finer things in life. Which means they will have high expectations of the hotel and its staff.

Finding the right individuals to meet these expectations requires a bit of work, but the extra effort involved is well worth it to find the very best talent.

Hire a person not a staff

Hire a person, not a staff member

Skills can be taught, but attitude is for life. It’s important to bear that in mind when considering your next hire. Your goal should be to find someone who has the right personality attributes for the luxury hotel industry. Skills can come later.

Ideally, you want to find someone who:

  • Has an eagerness to learn
  • Is curious about new experiences
  • Possesses a strong work ethic
  • Is aware of their strengths and weaknesses
  • Is naturally polite and respectful
  • Understands the importance of the wow factor
  • Values honesty and integrity
  • Displays empathy for others

Once you’ve found someone with the right attitude, you can then focus on training them to a high standard and teaching them your values.

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If you are struggling to find the right candidate, then it’s worth thinking about where you should be looking. It would be hasty to dismiss hotel job boards and hospitality recruiters. But you should also consider exploring other avenues concurrently, such as:

Staff referral schemes

Rather than lining the pockets of a recruiter, consider offering a generous referral scheme to your existing staff. Think about it. Who better to identify the traits of potential new employees than those already doing the job?

This referral scheme could even include a caveat where the award will not pay out until the new employee passes his or her probation. This will prevent existing employees from referring unsuitable candidates.

Targeted social media job ads

Use the advertising tools of platforms such as Facebook to target only those that have interacted with your brand. You will be able to ensure that potential candidates are aware of who you are, rather than merely being aware of a job at a hotel.

Have a conversation, not an interview hire luxury hotel talent.jpg

You’re never going to experience a candidate’s personality by reading their CV. So why not invite people to apply via a one-way video? This will give you an authentic glimpse into who they are and how they project themselves. And since most people now have a camera-equipped smartphone, any resistance to recording a video will sort the wheat from the chaff.

Once you’ve identified suitable candidates, invite them for a drink in your hotel bar and encourage them to wear whatever they please. Remember, you’re not looking to see how they answer questions under pressure in an ill-fitting suit. You want them to be relaxed and comfortable so you can get a grasp of who they are as a person.

During the conversation, explain what you expect from them. Tell the candidate about your hotel values and culture. And describe the high expectations of your guests. It makes no sense to beat around the bush or focus on only the positive aspects of the job. This will give the candidate a clear idea of what they will be doing and how they might fit in.

And finally, don’t be afraid to challenge the candidate with questions around their future goals and aspirations. If you are looking for someone to be in the role for five years or more, then there’s no sense in hiring someone with much shorter-term plans.

In conclusion

Hiring new staff for your luxury hotel doesn’t have to be as challenging as it first seems. Once you look beyond qualifications and experience, it becomes easier to recognise the potential for talent. Just remember what we alluded to earlier. Almost anyone can learn skills – this will happen gradually through on the job training and shadowing of existing staff - but a real education in your brand and its values will only happen if you invest in the right people.

And if you’re still searching for support with recruiting have a discussion with Simplify ER or Planday at the Independent Hotel Show next month to hear how they can help you maximise new ideas and training opportunities.

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