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4 Top Qualities to Look for in a Hotel Employee

Hospitality is a dynamic field, and hiring the right people to work at your hotel can be challenging. How do you really know if a candidate will be a good fit for one of these roles? We’re here to help you figure it out. We’ve identified four qualities that make people succeed as hotel employees. Here’s how to spot them in an interview or application.

People Skills

Some people naturally excel at interpersonal interaction, and these people will be an enormous asset to your hotel. There’s a special breed of employee who derives great energy from being surrounded by and helping people. This is the employee who guests love chatting with, the one they mention in glowing online reviews and ask for specifically whenever they return to the hotel.

People skills are a valuable commodity in the digital age. If you’re lucky enough to interview a candidate with strong ones, this person deserves strong consideration. Look for someone with strong experience in customer service, even if it’s not in hospitality. It may be difficult to distinguish which applicants truly thrive in a guest-facing role solely based on an interview, when most candidates are likely on their best behavior. If you need some tips, Help Scout came up with some useful questions to assess a candidate’s customer service skills.

Trustworthiness and Discretion

We don’t have to tell you that honesty and trust are important qualities for any hotel employee. Staff members are entrusted with a great deal of guest information each day, from financial to personal and beyond. Traveling can be an emotional experience for many guests, and you need to find someone who will deal with any issues tactfully and discreetly. Gossip can be a major source of problems at any workplace, so it’s important to hire those who won’t pass on private information about guests or employees. You will also need someone who follows all of the rules and best practices in place at your hotel without cutting corners.

Trustworthy individuals consistently demonstrate other positive traits, including consistent performance, resourcefulness, and compassion. Who wouldn’t want an employee like that? Assessing a potential candidate’s trustworthiness can be a judgment call, and you may not know for sure until they start working. Here are a few tips to help you make the decision, but it’s always a good idea to check up on references if you’re unsure. A truly trustworthy candidate will be happy to provide them.

Problem Solving Abilities

While it’s true that you need employees who follow all rules and policies, someone who does only this won’t be a strong asset to your hotel. You need a problem solver who is willing to take action and tackle issues in innovative ways. This person doesn’t just show up and follow orders. They have a positive attitude and look for ways to improve upon themselves and their organization.

Unusual things can happen at hotels and you need someone ready to innovate when they do. Entrepreneur recommends asking your applicants out-of-the-box questions, like “Why are manhole covers round,” or “What are you passionate about” to gauge approaches to problem solving and to get to know them a bit better. Another approach is to look for someone with an unusual background, like time spent in another country, at a different type of hotel, or even in a completely different industry. Above all, this person should have a can-do attitude. Ask them to describe a time when they’ve taken action or solved a difficult problem. Their answer should indicate that they’ll jump at an opportunity to help if the hotel is short-staffed or a guest is in need.

The Desire to Learn and Grow

Depending on his or her desired position, the right candidate may not require much experience, simply the desire to gain experience in the future. After all, everyone has to start somewhere. One of the best things about hospitality is the upward mobility available to just about anyone willing to put in the hard work, regardless of education, age, or background. The right person is motivated to advance both his own career and the hotel’s reputation. You can be sure that he will bring his A-game to work each day.

Look for candidates who ask questions and seem genuinely interested in the day-to-day and big-picture activity at your hotel. It is an especially good sign if an applicant asks about opportunities for advancement or promotion during the interview. This candidate will come to work excited, engaged, and eager to demonstrate his skills. If you’re still not sure how to gauge the motivation level of a candidate, these interview questions are perfect for determining if someone has what it takes.