Improve Hospitality Hiring to Decrease Employee Turnover and Elevate The Guest Experience

hospitality hiring
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Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys sailing her catamaran and hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

The thriving hospitality industry includes hotels, casinos, resorts, and restaurants. Recruitment has never been more important in this sector.

Here are some critical facts about the hospitality industry:

  • Hospitality has an employee turnover rate of over 70%
  • Brand loyalty has disappeared
  • Technology has made it easier for small companies to compete

What implications does this have for hospitality recruitment?

  1. There is a huge opportunity to decrease overhead by retaining employees longer.
  2. To attract quality candidates, you must provide an exceptional employee experience. This means you need to focus on the employee experience as much as you focus on the guest experience. They are interdependent.
  3. Small companies who find and retain high performing employees can elevate the guest experience. This will improve online reviews, strengthen the company brand, and increase bookings.

Strategic hospitality recruitment has never been more important. But there are significant challenges.

The Challenges of Hospitality Hiring

  • Ultra-competitive hiring market
  • Significant employee shortage
  • Employees need multiple hard and soft skills
  • High level of transience and job-hopping

Recruitment and Onboarding Software for Hospitality Hiring

Online reviews and booking software have transformed the industry from the guest perspective. In a similar way, applicant tracking systems (ATS) have transformed hospitality recruitment from both the candidate’s and recruiter’s perspective.

Hospitality employers who don’t use recruitment software will struggle in several respects. Manual hospitality hiring processes can’t meet the needs of hospitality hiring in 2022.

  1. Manual hiring is slow (the best candidates are hired by your competitor before you can make an offer)
  2. Manual hiring can’t reach a wide candidate pool
  3. Manual hiring doesn’t create an exceptional applicant experience (which is essential for attracting top performers)

How Does Recruitment Software Improve Hospitality Hiring?

From job description to background checks, ATSs improve every aspect of the hospitality hiring process.

Reach More Potential Applicants

Hospitality hiring software allows recruiters to reach more applicants faster and cheaper. You can quickly advertise your jobs to thousands of job seekers on all of your favorite job boards. You won’t need to manage a separate account and password for each website.

Track Thousands of Applications

A large resort has to hire constantly to stay in business. There are multiple departments and dozens of job roles. Hiring software helps you collect and manage a large volume of applications efficiently. Search tools give you searching capability unheard of with a paper-based system.

Successful hospitality employers maintain a large pool of passive candidates. An ATS can work like a CRM for your candidate pool. Every company can benefit from targeting passive candidates.

Structured Interviewing

Hospitality hiring software has tools for structured interviewing. With structured interviewing, you ask all applicants the same questions in the same order. Structured interviewing reduces confirmation bias (when the interviewer seeks to validate an initial bias or ‘gut feeling’).

Top performing hospitality employees need multiple soft skills. This type of interviewing is especially effective for evaluating the type of soft skills essential for hospitality work.

Structured interviewing allows you to maintain efficiency and consistency when doing high-volume interviewing. And it helps you comply with anti-discrimination laws. When your interviewers are instructed to use a uniform script for each position, they are less likely to ask an illegal interview question.

Hospitality Onboarding Software

A proven way to decrease hospitality turnover is to improve onboarding processes. Hiring and onboarding are interdependent. It doesn’t make sense to invest in hiring software without adding the onboarding tools. Is your onboarding process structured, lengthy, and employee-centered? If not, you risk losing your best employees.

What Makes a Great Hospitality Employee?

Veteran hospitality employers know that you ‘can’t teach personality.’ They place the most value on an employee’s demeanor, interpersonal skills, and being able to empathize with a guest. It’s easier to train someone on how to run the booking software than teach them how to deal positively with a rude customer.

When evaluating candidates, look for the following qualities:

  1. Creative problem solving
  2. ‘Hospitality’ personality—enthusiastic, positive, and attentive
  3. Self-starter and hard worker
  4. Ability to maintain composure in high-pressure situations
  5. Attention to detail
  6. Ability to work effectively with a team

See our Structured Interviewing: The Ultimate Guide to learn how to write interview questions to measure these behavioral skills.

How Do Top-Rated Hospitality Employers Retain Employees?

To attract higher quality employees, you need to improve your employer brand. A good wage and popular benefits are essential. But the underlying employer values create the foundation for everything else.

Let’s discuss two hospitality employers who are consistently recognized for being great places to work.


Hilton has been high on the list of Fortune’s best companies to work for several years. Hilton CEO Christopher Nasetta is committed to the company’s 60,000 employees. He has redesigned employee work environments, offered a free GED program, and created advancement opportunities.


Both Fortune magazine and Glassdoor have recognized this boutique hotel chain as one of the best places to work. Kimpton offers amazing benefits to all its employees. These include PTO, full medical, 401(k) matching, back-up child and elder care, tuition reimbursement, and employee discounts at hotels.

One Kimpton employee explained it this way: “The difference here is that Kimpton truly creates a culture where every person feels like family. For me, this is not about some poster in the back of the house stating that ‘you belong,’ it is about how people make you feel.”

ApplicantStack for Hospitality Hiring

ApplicantStack has the most popular tools for effective hospitality hiring. These include the features discussed in this post and many more.

Our How To Hire Your Next Employee Series contains additional valuable guidance for hospitality hiring.


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