Service Orientation: How Do You Know When a Job Candidate Has It?

By Doug Walner President & CEO, Psychological Services, Inc. | October 21, 2015

Service orientation, aka personality traits and a predisposition to be helpful, thoughtful, considerate and cooperative, can impact your company's reputation for customer service - an important factor for success in the hospitality industry. Some people have it... and some people don't. Some people appear to have it (especially during job interviews), but, in reality, they're not suited for a service oriented position.

Recent research has shown that being able to predict employee customer service behavior before an employee is hired would be extremely valuable to hospitality managers who must select and assess applicants for service orientated positions (Baydoun et al., 2001). Accordingly, the quality of service can be enhanced if an employer selects individuals for service positions who have the requisite personal characteristics.

However, before we can delve into determining if a job candidate is blessed with "service orientation" we must explain what exactly this term means.

Since the late 1990's, services have become an increasingly important part of the U.S. economy. By 2002, service-producing industries accounted for 81.5 percent of total US employment, with some 179,733,700 employees engaged in service work (U.S. Department of Labor, 2003) - and these numbers continue to rise.

Not surprisingly, this rapid growth of the service sector comes with a heightened focus on customer relations or customer service - especially in industries like hospitality where so often guests judge their experiences based on how they're treated by the staff. Based on this, it is in these companies' best interest to attract, recruit and retain employees who are customer service oriented.

What is Service Orientation?

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