Hotel Phone Interviews: New Basics

By Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight | July 22, 2018

The candidate screening process tends to include a number of early steps before connecting for a face to face interview, and ultimately making an offer for employment. Whether you're looking for a front line employee for a hotel property, or trying to find the right developer for a travel tech company, there tend to be common steps, such as rifling through a huge number of resumes, and selecting a handful of candidates to move into the phone screening phase.

While these are only the first steps to finding the right employee, there are a number of pitfalls that may inadvertently disqualify the best candidate. This can lead to roles being filled with less than ideal candidates (and an increase in the necessary training time), or even adding to the amount of time a company operates while understaffed (putting undo burden on current employees and hurting productivity). Here are a few tips to ensure that phone interviews, an early phase in the hiring process can be easier and more effective.

Build a Scouting Report

Before making the first call to a candidate, hotel leaders and hiring managers should find out more about with whom they will be speaking. If the candidate was sourced by a recruiter or another manager, it's easy to take a few minutes to review their resume, but also ask for more details. Hirers can look at who employs them and how long they have been there. Some hotels and travel tech companies are known for hiring a specific type employee. While the reputation may not be applied to that particular job candidate, it's good to keep in mind. Others hotels and travel tech companies have a history of being tough and employees that are successful in that environment can be successful almost anywhere. These types of employers are great for training future employees. It's also helpful to do a quick Google search and see if anything pops up about this candidate. Everything from LinkedIn to Instagram can help to paint a picture of a candidate.

Formally Book the Call

It's easy to think that a spontaneous call is convenient, and that catching someone off guard will make them think on their feet. The reality, however, is that the approach won't give the candidate the opportunity to prepare and present their best self. When current employees show up to the office, they have time to mentally prepare; candidates should get the same opportunity. 

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.