Hospitality Recruiting Strategy: 15 Tips to Improve Your Hiring

5 minute read

Posted by Emily Hill on 18 January 2024

In the fast-paced realm of hospitality, where seasonality, diverse roles, and fierce competition for talent are constants, crafting an effective recruitment strategy demands a tailored and nuanced approach. The unique challenges posed by the industry’s dynamic nature necessitate a specialised methodology to not only attract but also retain skilled staff.

This step-by-step guide unveils the intricacies of implementing a skills-based assessment specifically designed for the hospitality sector, offering insights into a targeted and effective recruiting strategy.

From identifying critical competencies to streamlining the selection process, discover how to elevate your hospitality recruitment practices to secure talent.

1. Agree your hiring criteria

Start by agreeing your hiring criteria with hiring managers and other stakeholders. This is critical. If you are looking for the wrong attributes or if there is misalignment either the wrong people will get hired or candidates you think are great won’t get offered delaying time to hire.

2. Conduct a job analysis

Jobs change and a job analysis is a way to ensure the hiring criteria are reasonable and realistic. If a job analysis has not been done in the previous 12 months then it’s imperative you do one. Job analysis involves surveying and/or interviewing people in the job to ascertain the correct hiring criteria. Please note that if your hiring process is deemed to be assessing attributes (behaviours, skills, knowledge) that aren’t job-relevant then you can be sued for discriminatory hiring practices.

Use Signal to create a job analysis for free here.

3. Create honest job adverts

Job adverts should only be created after the hiring criteria has been agreed upon and should be honest and transparent about the realities of the work. For hourly hospitality roles, keep your job advert basic. If you wouldn’t screen someone out who doesn’t have a qualification then don’t include it in the job advert.

4. Distribute the job advert widely

Distribute job postings from your ATS to various job sites and talent pools to reach a diverse applicant pool.

5. Direct all applicants to your ATS

All applications should ideally all go to your ATS provider and not be kept in external job boards. If you’re not using an ATS, use a spreadsheet. If you’re using Indeed, it’s important you redirect candidates to apply on your careers page rather than using Indeed’s candidate management system.

6. Simplify your application form

ATS application pages should be simple, quick and not include long-form interview questions or a cover letter without a good reason.

7. Use knock-out questions

Use one or two simple, fact-based knock-out questions to eliminate ineligible candidates. Eligibility criteria will vary but may include things such as right-to-work status or holding a valid driver’s licence. Only use these criteria if you can prove that having a licence is intrinsic to the nature of performing the job well.

8. Set up an assessment invitation trigger immediately after job application

Set up a trigger with your ATS that automatically invites candidates to take their assessment as soon as they apply. This will boost assessment uptake rates and deliver a positive candidate experience.

9. If using Indeed One-Click Apply, set up an automated email trigger

Indeed One-Click apply usually means candidates apply on Indeed’s platform rather than being redirected to apply in your ATS. This leaves you in a position of having 2 applicant tracking systems to work from. It is not recommended, however, if you want to use one-click apply then ask your assessment provider to set up an automated email trigger so that all applicants from Indeed are instantly invited to the assessment as soon as they apply. This will boost assessment completion rates.

10. Validate your assessment

You’ll want to check that your assessment scores are correlated with who gets selected for the interview. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest is to run a double-blind study where scores are not used in hiring decisions for the first few weeks. You then take the average scores for the candidates hired and compare them with the average scores of candidates who were not hired. Assuming candidates who score well are more likely to be selected, it’s time to start using the assessment scores in selection decisions.

10. Fast-track top-scoring candidates to interview or assessment centre

After your assessment has been validated, you can invite all candidates above a predetermined assessment score or score banding to an on-site interview. The best way to do this is to have an assessment provider that can calculate candidate scores in real-time (we do this at ThriveMap). Once you’re confident in your assessment you can automatically reject candidates that don’t achieve the required score.

11. Validate skills in person

Have clear scoring for in-person assessment items (e.g. exercises, role plays, interview questions). Ensure scoring aligns with the online assessment’s hiring criteria. Misalignment between hiring criteria across these stages will lead to sub-optimal candidate conversion.

12. Offer candidates at the interview / assessment centre

It’s best to offer candidates on the day of the interview. If candidates were unsuccessful provide them with personalised feedback and give them something to take away with them from the day.

13. Retain your interview data

Keep all Interview data and send it to your assessment provider to run analysis on which attributes are most indicative of performance at Assessment Centre. Your provider should be able to use this data to make recommendations to improve your assessment for the following hiring cycle.

14. Measure post-hire outcomes

Keep track of post-hire data such as probationary pass data and send it to your assessment provider to run analysis on which attributes are most indicative of performance at interview.

15. Run a validation study

It’s recommended that you continue to validate your assessment is correlated with both who you are likely to select at interview and on the job performance. Work with your assessment vendor to demonstrate this through statistical analysis.


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About ThriveMap

ThriveMap creates customised assessments for high volume roles, which take candidates through an online “day in the life” experience of work in your company. Our assessments have been proven to reduce staff turnover, reduce time to hire, and improve quality of hire.

Not sure what type of assessment is right for your business? Read our guide.

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