Top Tips for Recruiting Hospitality Graduates and Undergraduates.
By Jeff N Ross
Monday, 12th February 2007
The global hotel industry is booming - Guests' service expectations are rising.

Hotels fighting to differentiate their brand and claim market share need great staff. Finding hard working, motivated, intelligent, experienced, multi-cultural and multi-lingual personnel is a headache. Yet the benefits of hiring them are huge. They make the hotel manager's job easier and the guest experience more satisfying.

But how can hoteliers find, hire, train and retain such staff? The process can be relatively easy if hoteliers abide by the following ten golden rules.

1. Clearly establish the graduate's expectation of their placement during the recruitment process. Be sure that you can deliver on this – and that it meets the needs of your business. For example, is the graduate expecting to carry out a normal operational role such as F&B attendant, or is he/she expecting to have some supervisory responsibilities? Be clear about this right from the start.

2. You will need to have a well defined job description and personal specifications. These should be sent to the applicant during the recruitment process, and should be well thought through and specific to the role.  Try to avoid the use of generic, out of date information.

3. Be honest about why you are recruiting a graduate or undergraduate. Are you looking simply to fill an operational gap, or are you trying to develop an individual into a future manager for your hotel or hotel group? "Employing graduate students means investing in the company's and the graduate's future. It is not a cheap solution for filling gaps in your employment structure," says Bert van Walbeek, a veteran hotelier and lecturer in graduate hospitality and tourism programmes.

4. Ensure you have a clear and transparent salary and benefits offer. The graduate should sign the contract with a full understanding of what he or she shall receive in the pocket – salary, service charge, other benefits, minus taxes. This will mean that there are no surprises for the employee on his/her first pay day.

5. Ensure the salary is competitive in the market place, and fair for the output you are expecting from him. You'll give the industry a bad name if you are treating graduate recruitment as cheap labour. Don't. Cheap is short-term thinking, value for money is long-term thinking. Long-term is the key to success.

6. Make sure the graduate receives a quality induction on his/her first day. For example, ensure that the graduate receives in advance a structure of what the induction day will comprise, and is clear on the timings, dress code and preparation required on their part. If the graduate on their first day is working immediately in their contracted department (not advisable), then ensure that this first day is similarly structured, and the person with them is fully qualified and prepared to conduct the department induction. Do not abandon any employee on their first day, leaving them with insufficient training or guidance.

7. Recruit from specific schools that are most likely to provide your business with the right kind of candidate (i.e. preferred languages, nationalities, operational experience, etc). Set well defined objectives for the graduate, to maximise output and to keep them motivated. Graduates are used to very clearly defined academic objectives, and therefore it is important that this is carried into their early careers. With a bit of thought and effort, you can capitalize on their drive and energy to achieve.

8. Ensure that the first day and preferably the first week is seamless for the graduate. One of the biggest sources of turnover in graduate placements is from a badly managed first week says Heather Robinson, Deputy Principal at IMI International Hotel Management Institute, Switzerland. "When we conduct debriefings with undergraduates and graduates, it is clear which hotels have a good induction system and which do not. A good induction process can be the difference between a graduate succeeding in the job or leaving," she says.

9. Don't overlook the talent that's out there. Some hospitality employers deliberately snub certain nationalities and genders in the application process. The loss is theirs. There is a huge diversity of talent on the market. Employers need to be more open-minded to ensure they attract the right quality of applicants.

Graduates and undergraduates typically have a high achievement drive, but they do require more maintenance during recruitment and in the early days of employment. If you don't make the effort, you'll get what's coming - high employee turnover and wasted time and money. If the recruitment process is managed well, your hotel will bristle with motivated, high productivity young staff who will make your job easier and the guest experience more memorable. 


Swiss-based recruitment company Hospitality Graduate Recruitment (h-g-r) specializes in placing hospitality graduates into entry level, supervisory and junior management hotel positions. Working with over 80 hotel schools and universities globally, it helps hospitality employers to find and recruit graduates and undergraduates via its leading database-driven website. With no recruitment fees, just the initial modest membership fee, it could well be the ideal solution for your hospitality business to streamline its graduate and undergraduate recruitment strategy. 

A demonstration can be viewed at www.h-g-r.com/presentation/h-g-r_presentation_skin.swf .

By Mr Jeff N Ross, Managing Director, Hospitality Graduate Recruitment (h-g-r)
Head Office Telephone – 0041 41 370 6759
Head Office Address - Tribschenstrasse 70, Luzern 6005, Switzerland
Email – jeff@h-g-r.com
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