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Tips to Recruiting Hospitality Talent During the New Normal

We have a new normal. Before the pandemic, it was much easier to find talent. Then came COVID lockdowns where the hospitality industry struggled and jobs were lost. Today the new normal is that it is very difficult to find good employees in the hospitality field. How can companies continue to function during this new normal? We have five tips for recruiting hospitality talent during this difficult time.

Leverage referrals.

If you’re not making good use of your own internal resources by asking your staff for referrals, shame on you. Employee referrals are a known quantity and the data shows that these candidates end up performing up to 15% better than other types of hires. They also have a higher retention rate, which makes them a good investment. Make sure your referral program rewards the referring party. For example, if the referral is hired and stays on for 90-days, pay the referring employee $100 (or higher if you can). Publicly thank the employee for the referral and promote the program to your staff for a better outcome.

Use peer interviewing for candidate screening.

Finding a better caliber of candidates requires an in-depth understanding of the job and what skills are needed to do it. That’s sometimes tough for a recruiter, who is normally hearing about the job skills needed second-hand. Having a peer that’s performing the function interview a candidate will help you find a better match. If you can, always include an actual employee in the interviewing process. Try to match back-of-house jobs with a back-of-house employee and front-of-house jobs with front-of-house staff for the interview. Leave plenty of time for the candidate to ask questions of these valuable workers and then get honest feedback from the interviewer about whether they think the candidate works well on the team.

Don’t forget about high school and college students.

Consider creating an apprenticeship program for up-and-coming students to learn the hospitality trade. Offering part-time in-training positions to seniors in high school, for example, is a proactive way to keep your recruiting funnel full. Consider working closely with teachers and professors to identify good candidates that can help your business. Not only are you giving back to the community, but you will also have a ready pool of applicants down the road.

Promote hiring with marketing materials.

Put your marketing team to work by using collateral materials, content, and social posts to attract candidates. If you have a restaurant, use collateral as giveaways at the host stand. Put “we’re hiring” flyers on tables. Publish content that attracts a better caliber of talent, and not just customers to your website. Leverage social media like LinkedIn and Facebook to get the attention of your hospitality candidates.

Use a recruiting firm like Gecko Hospitality to find more candidates.

In this “new normal” we need all the help we can get to find talent. That’s where a recruiting firm like Gecko Hospitality can help. We specialize in filling tough-to-find positions and have extensive experience in hospitality recruiting. In this market, you need to up to your game and Gecko Hospitality can help you make it happen. Contact our team of hospitality recruiters today.


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