To Hire the Best, Be Prepared for the Best

It never amazes me to hear see how poor potential candidates are treated when they come to apply for a job. Many hotels struggle to attract great candidates, yet are not set up to welcome great candidates to their hotel. How many times have you received a great application and called the applicant for an interview only to find out that they are already employed or not interested?

Before I make suggestions on how to attract great applicants and how to welcome applicants, here is a list of gripes I hear from job seekers:

Some hotels only allow applicants to apply during limited hours in human resources. While this is convenient to the hotels, these hours are never convenient for potential candidates who are currently employed. I have heard of hotels who only accept applications during a four hour block each week.

Many hotels have the front desk take care of the application process. The Guest Service Agents are often completely out of the hiring loop and do not even know what positions are open.

Some hotels make potential candidates pay for parking while visiting the hotel to fill out applications or interviews. This can add a large expense to someone who is already unemployed.

Applicants often complain that when they fill out an application, they have no idea what happens next. Will the application be passed on? Is the job even still available?

I will make suggestions on how to handle those complaints later. But first, how do you go about getting applicants to your hotel?

Make sure your hotel has a log where all applicants are logged before they are distributed to the hiring manager. Be sure to list the position they applied for and how they found out about the job. Running ads is very expensive. If you run an ad, make sure you monitor the log to make sure the ad is productive for you.

Have a really good Associate Referral Program in place. Many of the best associates are referred by other associates. Also, a fifty dollar referral fee is not going to get people excited. Calculate how much you spend on recruiting per hire and consider giving a reward that large. Some hotels pay as much as five hundred dollars for a referral. When you do pay out that reward, make a big deal out of it! Present the check at your monthly meeting.

Most hiring managers still agree that the best website for hiring managers is Most report the top website for hiring hourly associates is

If you do run ads in local newspapers, be sure to select the right newspaper for your target audience and track the results. Most major cities have many newspaper choices in many different languages.

Create a list of local colleges and agencies that will refer applicants to you. Send them a list of open positions by email each week or two.

Now that candidates will be storming your hotel, be sure to give them the proper welcome to keep them interested in working for you. Remember, the applicant is probably out applying for many jobs that day. You need to separate your hotel from them. Here are some suggestions:

Prepare a letter for the applicant to read before he/she fills out the application. In the letter, be sure to include the updated list of open positions, instructions on how and where to fill out the application, details of how your hiring process works, and how the parking works. Now dress up the letter with details of why your hotel is a top place to work and list the details of your benefit package.

Have your application available online. Also, be sure your paper application is available in both English and Spanish.

Be sure the front desk is updated at least weekly on the open positions and are able to sell your great work environment to the applicant. Remember, many applications are turned in at night or on the weekends.

Conduct a short, five minute prescreen interview if possible at the time the application is completed.

Consider shortening your hiring process. Having a prospective bartender go through three interviews, a background check, a drug test, and a meeting with the General Manager can take weeks! A good bartender will probably already have found another job by then. Limit the interviews to one or two trips to the hotel. Use an internet background check company that guarantees results within three business days. Drug test results should also be available within 2 business days via the internet. Keep the prospective associate up to date during the entire process.

Be sure to send a letter or postcard to every applicant that you do not hire thanking them for applying with your company. Remember, these applicants have friends that may apply at your hotel in the future. Treat them professionally.

Good luck with your hiring!