Where Is All the Best Hospitality Talent Hiding?

How to Find the Best Hospitality Talent-1.jpg

I hear all the time that it’s hard to find great staff, the real hospitality talent, the game-changers. If I had a dollar for every time someone said that I…well, you know where I’m going with that.

Perhaps that’s why I do what I do. My purpose is to help businesses find, secure, and grow excellent talent, but the answer, long story short, is that the question is misguided. Sure, hospitality recruitment can be a minefield. It can be frustrating, particularly if you’re juggling trying to run your business whilst being pulled away from driving growth to concentrate on people management and dreaded recruitment. By understanding the talent landscape, you might be able to understand the solution.

Here’s my expert advice to quadruple your talent coverage and dramatically improve identifying top talent for your business.

Are You Searching the Right Places?

Where’s the talent? Who’s the talent? What is great talent? I can tell you now great talent isn’t hiding under a rock waiting for it to be kicked over -- never. Talent isn't sitting behind a computer at 3 p.m. in the afternoon applying to Seek adverts with the same accuracy as a scattergun, either -- not even close. The real talent, the crème de la crème -- wait for it -- is happily working for your competitor! The best talent is passive, not active.

They’re rewarded well and respected where they are. They're performing, engaged, growing their beloved employer, developing themselves, and, here’s the brutal reality you’ll also need to stomach: they’re not looking for a new job!

The numbers back me up. If you can’t find great talent, it’s because you’re only looking in the smallest of pools, the worst pool, the active jobseeker pool. In fact, it’s only 20% of the market. Your hiring strategy, I’m afraid to say, is about as "effective as a chocolate kettle." If you brush off an advert and place it on a jobs board and sit back and hope for great talent to knock on your door, you will be disappointed. Not in this day and age, perhaps in a bygone era, and certainly not in this skills shortage armageddon.

Now, a quick caveat: can you secure a great member of staff who is classed as active? Yes, maybe, sometimes, but only by pure luck. That’s because rarely is a game-changer active and on the open market. In fact, they probably don’t even have a current résumé, as their reputation and credentials alone get them frequently tapped on the shoulder.

LinkedIn -- and as the biggest community of online talent globally, they know a thing or two about this -- carries out extensive research on this very topic. I’ve collated some of their findings and created this useful infographic.

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What Kind of Talent Do You Have?

Approachable talent is the best talent, hands-down. Tiptoers are a group of professionals that aren’t actually applying for jobs but are preparing to move employers, likely gently asking their networks or recruiter about opportunities. There are a number of reasons why great talent become tiptoers. They might be becoming less engaged as they don’t like a manager, for example, or are feeling underpaid, perhaps overworked, maybe even both.

Next come a group called Explorers. They are not looking, but are willing to talk, provided you engage them compellingly and carefully.

The infographic percentages fluctuate based on market conditions and environment. For example, if you place a bad manager in your business, you run the risk that your workforce transforms. Super-passive become Explorers, Explorers turn into Tiptoers, and, in extreme cases, might leave altogether and become active.

Of course, the opposite can happen. If you have high levels of staff engagement, recognition, development, rewards, etc., you can maintain much of your workforce as super-passive or even Explorers (less likely to leave). The best retention methods are great culture and development.

Increase Your Talent Pools

Follow my simple tips to open up your talent pools and engage top talent:

  • To connect with Tiptoers, it’s important that you have an effective employee referral program to engage them if they reach out to friends and ex-colleagues.
  • Do not run the same process you would complete for active jobseekers on great passive talent. #Fail. Candidate experience is the biggest advantage you have to bring great passive talent into your business.
  • If they’re passive, you sell to them -- not the other way around, no exceptions.
  • Make sure you have a well-defined culture, employee value proposition and brand. If you can’t easily articulate it to great talent, how do you expect them to get it?
  • Proactively source. If you can’t, use a hospitality partner that can. In fact, you want to ensure you’re consistently engaging the very best active and passive talent and therefore accessing four times your current talent coverage, from 20% to 80%. 

As an employer, having the right people is vitally important to your business growth and success. At BENCHMARQUE, we understand the importance of securing talent you can’t find, nurture, or move yourself. We enable our clients to increase quality of hire whilst reducing time to hire, as well as give them freedom to concentrate on growth, revenue and customer satisfaction, rather than recruitment or people management.

Better is possible. Learn how by downloading our free human resources fact sheet below.


About the author Doug Kelsall

I am a passionate foodie, reviewer & blogger (& recruiter, of course, haha) who enjoys working with premium hospitality operators and industry talent. I am the natural extrovert in our team with a forte for matching great clients with game changing candidates. After many years in recruitment I enjoy nothing more than sharing my experiences, opinions and hacks… Enjoy


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