Employment Hero

Hospitality Recruitment Guide

The hospitality sector is becoming less popular as a career pathway for many people in Australia. This is due to a combination of long hours, stressful working environments and low wages. The recent 457 visa changes and penalty rate cuts aren’t helping this once thriving industry, either. This has left a lasting effect on hospitality recruitment. 

💡Did you know that currently, the tourism and hospitality industries are facing a HUGE 38,000 unfilled vacancies? And to make it worse, data from the Australia Tourism Labour Force predicts a 123,000 worker-shortfall by 2020. 

This is an ongoing problem that’s heavily affecting hospitality businesses across the country. Restaurants are facing extremely high staff turnover and have hard competition from other bars, restaurants and cafes in booming locations.

‘The industry has expanded quicker than it has the ability to recruit and process people,’ said hospo consultant Tony Eldred during an interview with Good Food

With all this going on, I’ve put together this helpful guide on recruiting in hospitality to take at least one thing off your plate! (If you’ll pardon the pun). 

Who is this hospitality recruitment guide for? 

The hospitality industry is larger than you might think, it includes any business that has customer satisfaction as one of its core functions. This includes; 

  • Travel and tourism 
  • Accommodation
  • Entertainment 
  • Food and beverage 
  • Events 

So, if your business fits into one of these categories, this is the guide for you. 

Industry-specific problems with hospitality recruitment? 

Before we deep dive into our hospitality recruitment guide, there’s a few industry-specific challenges you should acknowledge. 

  1. High staff turnover which is bad for an industry that continues to grow and means businesses are constantly needing to find new employees 
  2. A need for customer-facing employees, meaning candidates need to have customer service skills in order to qualify for the role 
  3. Seasonality problems that mean businesses have periods where they need to double or sometimes triple their workforce 
  4. A lot of young people work in the hospitality industry as casual and part-time employees that need to have the correct rights to work  

Employment Hero Guide to Hospitality Recruitment 

As Employment Hero’s very own recruitment specialist, I want to go through exactly how you can improve your hospitality recruitment strategy and share some of my words of wisdom to make sure you’re bringing in the right people to the team just in time for the busy summer season. 

Leverage referrals

Referrals make the best employees, they perform 15% better and have a 35% higher retention rate too! Think of a way to incentivise your current workforce to refer some of their friends, family members or former colleagues to your business. 

Offering a monetary value to your current employees if their referrals successfully make it into employment and pass their probation period is a great example, and can be a lot more cost-effective than using a recruiter. We get some great referrals through our employee networks here at Employment Hero and find it works well in finding reliable candidates that have already been sense-checked. 

Hire at college fairs or programs 

There are plenty of potential students that are on the hunt for a flexible hospitality job whilst they’re studying or during their summer and winter breaks. Find out if local uni’s, colleges or schools in your area put on job fairs that you could attend to try and drum up some interest for your business. 

Hit the world wide web

Don’t limit yourself, post job ads on social media, look into advertising (if you have the budget), recruitment sites and on your business’s own website to generate more traffic to your job ad. 

As far as social media is concerned, here’s a handy infographic from Careerglider to show just how powerful social media recruitment can be!  social media can be an amazing recruitment tool that can help you revolutionise your outreach. Especially if you are trying to reach a younger demographic. 

This strategy is particularly good for businesses that might have multiple locations. You can then also encourage each location to create their own bespoke recruitment procedures. 

Look for groups on social media that gather hospo workers. Facebook and Linkedin, in particular, have dedicated hospitality recruitment groups. If you’re looking for an influx of workers to cover you in the busier seasons – then groups like this can be invaluable. 

💡Top tip: Another great place to look is on backpacker facebook groups and channels where travellers on working holiday visas are always looking for part-time or casual work. 

As well as social media, there are now plenty of specialised sites for niche hospitality recruitment. For example;

  • CoffeeJobs.com (part of Melbourne-based coffee sourcing company Beanhunter). This website lets you post jobs for roles that are specific to the coffee and hospitality industries. Aside from the focus it offers, your posts are also included in their weekly newsletters and in tweets to their Twitter followers so you’ll get the best of both worlds. 
  • Sidekicker (partners of the lovely team at Seek) is a platform you can use to find temporary hire staff for shift work, short term catering jobs and the like. It promises access to personally interviewed and skill-tested workers in under four hours.
  • Skilld is a Sydney-based recruitment platform focussed on helping local hospitality business connect with local job hunters. You’ll be able to view candidate profiles and shortlist them immediately.

Get some outsourced help

If you just don’t have the time to send around internal referral emails, or set up a heavy social media strategy – then perhaps it’s time to consider outsourcing your recruitment. 

According to the Department of Employment’s 2016-17 Annual Report, recruitment agencies are becoming a more popular choice within businesses. Agencies are now filling 15% of hospitality vacancies on average. Most hospitality businesses only use this method for executive-level roles but if you need more talented employees for your business, then the investment will be worth it. 

The benefits of outsourcing your recruitment are; 

  • You’ll be able to reach a bigger talent pool so you’ll always have great candidates in easy reach 
  • It’ll save you more time as the agency can take care of everything for you
  • It’ll reduce turnover rates in your business as you are hiring people who are more qualified for the roles 

Don’t take your time 

Unlike other industries, the recruitment process in hospitality moves fast so we suggest you don’t take too long to decide who you want. By the time you’ve decided on your ideal candidate, they have probably already received an offer by someone else. 

Research by Robert Half found that 57% of Australian HR managers missed out on a qualified candidate because of a lengthy hiring process. In larger organisations, this figure rises to 67%. 

Always offer flexibility 

It’s no secret that many hospitality roles are set within high-pressure environments such as heated kitchens or busy bars – and this has lead to some of them offering inflexible hours to reach the demand in peak hours. Inflexibility in hospitality is often cited as one of the top reasons people don’t like working in hospitality. So make sure this is not the case with your business. 

A great example of this can be seen at Melbourne’s Attica and Sydney-based Rocker café who have implemented a four-days-on, three-days off work week for all their staff.

Now we all know that’s just not possible for all businesses. What can be done though, is to allow for some flexibility in areas such as scheduling, so that employees don’t feel so restricted and forced to choose between work and personal commitments.  

This is why HR systems like our own take the headaches out of tasks like rostering, timesheet reviews and approvals and offer managers more visibility over who has been working when. 

The Wrap Up on Hospitality Recruitment 

I hope my Hospitality Recruitment Guide has been helpful for your business, and given you some insightful strategies to implement for your next round of recruitment. If you want more advice on how to engage and retain a millennial workforce in your hospitality business – then download the Employment Hero whitepaper below. 


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