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Navigating the Waves of Recruitment in the Hospitality Industry

In the fast-moving world of recruitment, the hospitality industry has seen its fair share of highs and lows, with seasonal peaks and troughs that can challenge even the most experienced HR professionals. In the last few weeks, it has become evident that this sector is once again facing a period of intense activity.

In this blog, we delve into the recruitment trends in the hospitality industry, focusing on how to ride out these seasonal fluctuations and help your business thrive in the post-pandemic landscape.

Understanding the Peaks and Troughs

Hospitality recruitment traditionally experiences two significant seasonal downturns. July and August are classically quieter months, with fewer candidates and job opportunities available. Candidates tend to postpone their job search until after their holidays, and clients often delay larger hiring decisions until after the summer slowdown. A similar lull occurs in December and the beginning of January, albeit not as pronounced as the summer dip.

Post-Pandemic Realities

While the post-pandemic era initially saw a frenzied job market in hospitality, the industry is now witnessing a return to traditional seasonal fluctuations. People have returned to their holiday patterns, resulting in predictable slowdowns. With this in mind, it's crucial to adapt your recruitment strategy to work around these cyclical patterns.

How to Ride the Wave

To navigate these peaks and troughs successfully, proactive measures are essential:

1. Plan Ahead: Always start looking for new hires well before you actually need them. Get ahead of the curve by having job specifications and advertisements ready to go.

2. Engage Recruiters Early: If you're using a recruitment agency, give them a heads up before the recruitment process begins. This will allow them to prepare and identify potential candidates more efficiently.

3. Utilise Quieter Times: During these slower periods, use the time to plan and prepare for any future hires. Review and update your job descriptions, training programs, and induction processes to ensure you're fully prepared to hit the ground running for the busy season.

4. Mindful Planning for Christmas: If you anticipate needing additional staff for the holiday season, plan well in advance. And remember that most of your competitors will also be on the hunt for additional staff at this time of year, so get ahead of the pack.

5. Average Time to Hire: Fact: all positions now take longer to fill - there are just fewer candidates on the market. It could take two months or a few days to find someone and the days of having a short list of multiple people to consider are long gone. If you find someone that you like and who ticks your boxes, don’t wait for another candidate to compare them to – another company will move faster to make an offer and they’ll be gone. You also need to allow for notice periods to be worked once offers have been made, so remember to always allow for these potential extended recruitment timelines in your planning.

6. Training and Inductions: Allocate sufficient time for training and inductions to ensure that new hires are fully up to speed ready for when the busiest period arrives. It is crucial that structured training and inductions are given from day one – they set the tone of the business. Failure to do this (and we hear it all the time) usually results in the candidate moving on quite quickly because they feel they have just been left to their own devices.

Proactive Strategies for Success

To stay ahead in your recruitment efforts and job searches during quieter times:

1. Preparation is Key: especially when recruiting temps or increasing head count for events/Christmas. Have job ads, job specs, and training programs ready in advance. Being prepared allows you to act swiftly when the need arises.

2. Involve Your Management Team: Delegate some of the recruitment responsibilities to your management team. Their input can be invaluable, they will feel empowered, and they can plan their schedules around interviews and to incorporate inductions and training.

3. Keep Up with Appraisals and Reviews: Regularly assess your team's performance and engagement levels through appraisals and performance reviews. This helps identify potential issues, increases staff retention and helps plan for staff turnover proactively.

4. Consider Restructuring: If a key team member leaves, assess whether restructuring is necessary. This may involve redefining roles, redistributing responsibilities, or hiring someone with a different skill set to help drive the business forward.

5. Maintain Close Contact: After hiring, keep close to and check in regularly with new employees – they are just a short phone call away from another company calling them and offering more money. If they are 100% happy and are feeling valued and looked after, they won’t move. A structured training program, regular check-ins, and a clear leadership direction can foster a sense of value and loyalty, reducing the risk of them being poached by competitors.

Plan ahead, sooner than you think

The recruitment landscape in the hospitality industry has clearly returned to its seasonal ebbs and flows. By anticipating these trends, preparing in advance, and engaging your team and candidates effectively, you can not only survive but thrive in this fast-moving environment. Remember, the key theme is always to plan ahead and start the process sooner than you think you need to.

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