The hospitality industry is traditionally a large employer of young people, however, the job is very rarely a long-term appointment.
Young people aged between 16 and 24 can bring all sorts of benefits to your operation in terms of improved branding, increased competitiveness and meeting skills gaps.
There aren’t many industries that offer young people such diverse career paths and the chance to travel the world, but this generation can perceive working in hospitality as a temporary option.
So, how can you better connect with them and reduce your hotel’s staff turnover?
Recruiting young hotel employees: Here’s 11 ways to engage with them
1. Make connections early
It’s important to interact with local schools and colleges via presentations, competitions and webinars. Sponsor and provide collateral to support youth clubs and activities. Maybe you have facilities they could use for exhibitions and events.
2. Design and promote specific programs for young candidates
In the hospitality industry, there are abundant opportunities to offer apprenticeships, and graduate programs as well as internships. The more structure there is in place, the more likely it is your candidates will stick around.
3. Digitise your recruitment process
Young people are much more likely to use social media to find opportunities. Engage the community of potential hires via Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest using photos and videos to give them an opportunity to easily get to know your staff and location. Don’t only use these channels to recruit, use them to brand your organisation and tell your story. Use warmth and humour to create followers who may someday be employees.
4. Diversify your employment offering
As well as the traditional culinary and customer-facing roles, make it clear that you also offer opportunities in marketing, IT, HR, procurement and other areas. Potential recruits in this age group often believe that a hospitality job will not make use of their technology and social media skills, so ensure that your hotel’s content strategy includes videos and narratives that illustrate staff using these skills in their work.
5. Write a punchy job description
When you advertise a job you need to emphasise variety, challenges, and how the position fits into the overall organisation. Given this is the texting generation, keep to the point, avoid corporate jargon, and be witty if you can.
6. Advertise entry-level roles
Does the role you’re recruiting for really require previous work experience? Everyone has to start somewhere and you can build upon a combination of a good attitude and communication skills. Focus on strengths instead of making candidates feel dispirited.
7. Don’t rely on conventional interview techniques
Instead of sitting in a room and using a Q&A method, hold assessment activities where candidates can demonstrate their communication skills and problem-solving techniques. This can be done individually or through group exercises, observed by potential managers.
8. Use group interviews to relax candidates
Speed interviewing is a brilliant way of getting young adults to relax. Invite a small group to talk to a member of staff about their holiday, or the town where they live. How they perform even in these simple hypotheticals will clearly differentiate candidates that are indistinguishable on paper.
9. Provide guidance and training for line managers
Not all people are familiar or comfortable with interviewing young people. Ask your existing staff what support they need during the recruitment process and provide practical advice and tools as to how to select and interview a young person.
10. Ask the right questions
There’s a chance candidates will have little work experience to discuss in an interview. Ask what they expect their relationship with their boss and future colleagues to be like, how they feel about covering up a tattoo or working New Year’s Eve. How do they keep up-to-date with the news? And what would they choose to do if they were awarded time off to work with a voluntary or community organisation? Questions like this will reveal a candidate’s engagement with the wider world and their sense of responsibility.
11. Provide feedback
Candidates who have not applied for many jobs will really value some hints about how they could improve in future applications. Some young people may not have much guidance from family and friends in this respect so it’s always helpful to put them on the path to improvement.