The best practice companies of the hospitality industry have long recognized the importance of building a solid employment brand. Not only is it good for the overall image of the company, it is the surest way of attracting and retaining top talent. Those companies who are heralded as the best to work for are progressive in areas of employee training and mentoring, they recognize the importance of the work/life balance, and offer creative compensation programs.
Today, the Internet often becomes the first point of contact for employers and job seekers. It is important for companies to recognize that their online recruitment strategies are a critical component of their employment branding practices. When communicating via the Internet a level of human interaction is lost. Employers need to take greater lengths to connect with that potential employee. Having run an online job board for several years, I have seen certain trends emerge. Job seekers are consistently saying the same things about what has appealed to them, and what has turned them off. There are several areas where employers need to focus.
Make your corporate website an effective recruitment tool. These days, you’ll need more than just a one page listing of your open positions and a fax number on where candidates can send their resume. The “career opportunities” section of your website is your sales pitch to attract top performing candidates. Have your company’s mission statement clearly displayed. Give as much information about your corporate culture as possible. Offer testimonials from current employees on what it’s like to work for you. Have all your properties posting their available positions on the site, and make sure it is updated regularly. Allow candidates to submit their resume directly through the website, not only for open positions but for future consideration. This will allow you to store resumes and build your own candidate database. The best practice companies, like The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group have even tied an online skills assessment to their application process.
When posting a job on an online recruitment site (like hotjobs.com or hospitalitycareernet.com) make sure you have clear and comprehensive job descriptions. This is not an area in which you want to take shortcuts. I’ve seen postings for a Director of Sales position where the description read “Needs previous hotels sales experience,” and that was it. The high performing job seeker will typically not respond to this type of posting. Firstly, it looks as if the employer can’t articulate what the individual needs to do, a scary proposition for a person coming into a new job. Secondly, there isn’t enough information for the “A” candidate to decide if he or she is a fit. A detailed listing of the responsibilities of the position, the organizational structure, and both personal and professional requirements are the minimum required for an effective job posting. This will also limit the influx of unqualified job seekers applying to the position. The posting should also include whether the employer is willing to relocate, or sponsor an international candidate.
The biggest turnoff for a job seeker is the lack of response to an application. It leaves the job seeker wondering if the employer was even reached; this is especially true with the Internet. Employers are often getting a deluge of resumes, and it can get tough to manage. At a minimum, employers should indicate that only job seekers under consideration will be contacted, or to have an automatic reply system set up for applications.
Remember to get your marketing team involved in the employment branding campaign. Cisco for example, created an entire advertising promotion around the fact that the company was a great place to work and it valued smart people. After all, it is just as important for employees to be passionate about the company as it is for customers.