What Personality Traits are Essential for Hospitality Jobs?

Every job, in every industry around the globe has a specific skill set that employers will look for to ensure the service and products they offer are being provided by people that actually can physically do the job. We have reviewed what technical skills you need to learn in order to have your best shot at an interview, but be aware, technical skills can only get you so far.

What personality traits are essential for hospitality jobs

Check out our list of personality traits or ‘soft skills’ that you’ll need to adopt for your first shot at the best hospitality jobs available.

Working in an industry like hospitality means that you are surrounded by culturally diverse people every day, who are from many different walks of life and have vastly different needs, wants and expectations than the person before them. The manner in which you communicate with them and the way you leave them feeling could be the difference between simply being provided a generous tip or sparking a professional relationship that leads to the job of a lifetime.New call-to-action

What does passion have to do with it?

We’ll start with passion, as if you don’t display or feel enthusiasm towards what you do, then what the hell are you getting out of bed every day for? This doesn’t mean you need to be in love with your job and skip through the PDR while singing Pharell‘s “Happy” at the top of your lungs (because that would be weird). It’s taking pride in what you do, in everything you do.

Why is being adaptable important?

The beautiful thing about working in events, hospitality or tourism, or any job that requires engagement with people, is that two days are rarely the same. For example the style of setup, sequence of service and menu items can be completely different from one event to the next, and event teams have to adapt quickly to the constantly changing needs of each situation. This challenges your conscious and subconscious mind and keeps you on your toes.

Display flexibility

Being flexible is not only a favourable, or key hospitality personality trait, it is something everyone needs to be conscious of no matter what your career plans look like. Now, are you ready for this? Things don’t always go as planned, and when they don’t, how will you react? When a request from a guest or management is something unexpected, don’t freak out, just take it on board, take a moment and re calibrate. Remember the word “no” doesn’t exist in the service industry and the customer is always right, even when they are not.

Be patient

What comes hand in hand with flexibility is patience. Remember, you’re aiming to provide an experience for people, a service which they are paying for. When you work in hospitality or events you will encounter a diverse group of customers and guests who are not well versed or experienced in what you do. They might not know how to choose a bottle of wine, know the difference between difference cuts of meat or they may have an accent and English is not their first language. Just because you are an expert, it doesn’t mean everyone else is.

Team Work and Communication

Remember the saying, “There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM”. Most restaurants, hotels and event teams will have briefings to communicate the daily menu changes, expectations and service points with their staff. This open forum brings everyone together to ensure that everyone else knows exactly what everyone is doing. If your tasks list, section or service requirements are short that day, you have a great opportunity to jump in and help someone who may have a lot on their plate. People that understand team work, never have nothing to do, and more often than not, make great leaders.

How do you present yourself?

Being well presented doesn’t imply you had to have spent time on the runway as a model. It’s simply ensuring that your attire/uniform is well kept, and that you have clearly made an effort to groom yourself to the highest level before you’ve walked in the door to start you shift. You are the face of the company. Taking pride in your appearance is non negotiable in this industry.

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Why is honesty the best policy?

If you don’t know something, don’t lie. People may die. Ok, maybe that’s pushing the envelope. But really, what if someone was gluten intolerant and when asked, you didn’t know and replied that it was acceptable to eat? Then this person had a severe allergic reaction? It happens people.


Don’t confuse sympathy for empathy, we are not here to feel sorry for everyone we meet. Highly empathetic people always “put themselves in other peoples shoes” and show genuine care for others. Remember who you are, but also who you’re serving and what their specific story may be. 

You may have noticed that these soft skills and personality traits are most common in successful people, in the major industry sectors in every country around the world. These are often referred to as transferable skills. Meaning, people that are conditioned to behave this way have a higher chance of securing work and having multiple career paths in their life.

What kind of person do you want to be?
Discover the exciting world of hospitality. It will take you places!


About the author Marlowe Bennett

With 22 years of experience and over 23,000 professional hours working across Sydney’s hospitality industry, our content aims to inspire young candidates to pursue professional careers and to help operators grow compliantly.


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