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Janine Milne

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In a Nutshell: Five tips when recruiting for a start-up

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The hospitality sector is a people business and poor management can quickly turn customers off, no matter how plush a hotel’s facilities.

Caroline Lowe, HR director for Hilton London Heathrow Terminal 5, who was involved in launching the hotel last year, explains how she dealt with recruiting the right 130 staff to try and ensure that customers would keep coming back for more:

1. The brand

First of all decide on the personality of the hotel – is it four or five star, for example? Then establish what brand qualities need to be represented.

2. The people

Think about the kind of people that you’d like to attract. It’s the people that bring an organisation to life. You can have a very beautiful hotel, but it won’t work unless you have the right people to breathe life into it.

3. The passion

Recruit people who can prove that they want to do the job and have the passion and personality to learn. During our recruitment process, candidates had to give a presentation about what makes them special.
 
A job interview doesn’t always give applicants the opportunity to show their individual worth, but a presentation makes it clear how much effort that they can put into things, how much personal warmth they have and the like.
 
You can get a real sense of how much they want the job and their commitment it – even if they’re shaking and nervous.

4. The culture

Spend time ensuring that employee areas are comfortable, with restaurants, access to spa areas and free parking, for example.
 
Before our launch, we enabled employees to bring in family and friends to test the facilities. If you look after your staff, they will look after customers so it’s important to treat them well.

5. The management

 
The whole management team must buy into a proposed company culture. Without their buy-in, it won’t happen.
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