HX 2018: Top Insights for Hospitality Job Seekers
The annual hospitality industry conference HX: The Hotel Experience, at New York City’s Javits Center, is one of the few forums that brings together job seekers and employers. This year’s event was no different.
A range of educational sessions such as Hcareers' "Redefining Today’s Hospitality Workforce and Cultivating Tomorrow’s Team" and "Building Your Hospitality Career Roadmap for the Future" examined best practices for job applicants and current hiring trends.
Here are seven suggestions from HX 2018 on how to improve your job search and be a more competitive candidate on the hospitality job market:
1. A degree of fluency in data analytics is a highly marketable skill.
Whether you’re planning to work in food and beverage, marketing or revenue management, HCareers’ CEO Ron Mitchell said that everyone must learn about data and analytics – particularly the analytics aspect– while addressing the audience of Redefining Today’s Hospitality Workforce and Cultivating Tomorrow’s Team. “The skillset that has the most value in the marketplace today is translating data into insights and developing those skills will also help you to be much more marketable in the future,” he said.
2. Hospitality experience isn’t always essential.
In the same session on Today’s Hospitality Workforce, Audrey Williams-Lee, vice president corporate human resources and global philanthropy at Hyatt Hotels Corporation noted that the company is also looking at talent pools that they wouldn’t have necessarily pulled from in the past, including job seekers who are not currently in school, nor currently employed.
3. Cast a wide net and consider openings at a broad spectrum of hotels or hotel companies.
Don’t limit yourself to global hotel brands. Instead, look at positions with independently owned hotels, local and regional hotel companies and even the economy segment. “There are incredible opportunities at smaller organizations where you can learn about hiring and training and even creating policy and procedures,” said DePaul University student Rachel Canfora, speaking on the panel of Hospitality Insights from Our Future Leaders: The College Student Perspective.
4. Jump on opportunities to cross train.
If you work for a hotel that offers employees the chance to train across multiple or even all departments, sign yourself up. The experience in a variety of roles will give you a better understanding of not only your colleagues’ jobs, but how the property functions as a single entity rather than a series of silos. “Flexibility really builds you as a person and a manager in general,” said Aarthi Machavarapu, another DePaul University student on the College Perspective panel.
5. During your next job interview, ask how empowered your manager is.
While the session “Boutique Touches Drive Brand Success” would seem an unlikely place to talk about hiring practices, the high-touch service driving the boutique experience depends entirely on a strong recruitment program. So the topic was much discussed on this panel where Meredith Belman, managing director of management consulting firm Roots Inc. pointed out that “how employees feel about managers’ decision making is always underestimated in employee satisfaction surveys.” But empowering managers to make and execute on decisions that can give guests a better experience can change how employees view their superiors.
6. Research the leadership.
You may not be interviewing with or even directly working for top leadership at your next job, but if you want some ideas as to what the working environment will be like, look into their professional background. As the panelists at the session "Hiring, Retaining and Creating Hospitality Culture" discussed, leadership sets the overall tone for a workplace. Mariel Ulane, area director, human resources at Standard Hotels noted that the recent addition of a new chef with a new culture is forcing staff to let go of the past decade under a previous chef. “We’re forced to try new things in order to stay relevant,” she said.
7. Stay tuned for HCareers 2.0.
Next year, HCareers will relaunch with a new set of data-driven solutions for career management. Job seekers will soon find robust company and property profiles, an endorsement and loyalty program, personalized career development roadmaps, dynamic personal profiles and an enhanced mobile experience to make the process of job searching on the platform that much easier.