Availability of competent manpower is important in any service industry. Hospitality industry is one of the industries where customers’ interests come first. Attracting the best staff can go a long way in saving the organization substantial resources provided that the selection process is effective. Selection process is not only an important component of an individual organization’s activity, but also a factor that guarantees success of the entire hospitality industry. Most organizations are not only looking for people with the right attitude, but also aim to employ those who are willing to learn. This is because the industry is versatile and requires constant learning. The main stages of the hiring process are conducting preliminary interview, filling application form, passing pre-employment test, employment interview, medical examination, reference checks, final approval, employment, induction, and follow-up. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the process of hiring human resource in the hospitality industry. The intention is to provide a comprehensive report about various stages of the selection process.Key word: selection, hospitality, legislation, employment.
Human Resource Selection Process
Selection process as a function of human resource management can be based on either choosing the best candidates, or rejecting unsuitable applicants, or a combination of two. Therefore, selection team assumes that there are more candidates than there are positions to be filled. According to Chan & Kuok (2011), selection process involves choosing the most qualified persons among the participants. In the process, selection team collects relevant information about participants through a series of steps with the aim of evaluating their suitability and capacity to fill the vacant position. Additionally, the selection process involves assessing applicants through various means.
All in all, selection is simply a process of employment, which begins upon the receipt of application letters and resumes with the main aim of reviewing documents about basic qualifications of applicants. Therefore, selection should be based on qualifications that are related to the job at hand because each position has different requirements. However, selection criteria should not be limited to knowledge, experience, and education as indicated in the job description. A genuine purpose of the selection process is to hire an individual with the best qualifications. As such, the selection process seeks to match applicants’ qualification with requirements of the vacant position. It weeds out unsuitable candidates and identifies the best applicants. It is an important function because if an organization succeeds in hiring appropriate employees, it will improve its performance. Conversely, a bad hire will result in high cost of replacing employees. Hospitality industry is one of the growing sectors of world economy (Panel on Fair Access to the Professions, 2009). As such, it has many regulations that govern employment. This makes it difficult for many businesses to understand obligations of human resource. Furthermore, the process differs from one organization to another and from one job to another job. In this regard, this paper seeks to investigate and describe employee selection process in the hospitality industry.
The selection process comprises of various steps. Every step is a hurdle, which applicants have to overcome. Unqualified candidates are eliminated at any point. Although there is no definite selection procedure for the entire hospitality industry, the complexity of the process increases for higher positions with higher levels of responsibility. However, scholars of human resource like Amirtharaj, Cross, and Vembar (2011) suggest the following basic steps in the selection process. The steps presented further do not have to be implemented in this particular order.
The purpose of conducting an initial screening is to weed out candidates who are unqualified for the position at the outset. Essentially, it is a process that gives prospective candidates necessary information concerning the job and the organization. In addition, selection team elicits necessary information from candidates in regard to their experience, education qualification, and expected salary among others. This initial step helps to find out whether or not it is necessary for candidates to fill the application form. It is at this point that the authenticity of candidates’ certificates is verified. According to Madera and Chang (2011), hospitality industry is now using social networks in the selection process. Websites like Twitter and Facebook are being used to investigate job applicants. Social sites can be used to verify information given by applicants in an inexpensive way. However, strategic human resource management theory suggests that organizational factors affect the tools used for selection of employees. For instance, multinationals would have resources to invest in screening applicants through the Internet.
This is a traditional tool that is widely used to collect information about candidates. Applicants are required to provide all relevant information for selection. To avoid any kind of discrimination, information concerning religion, place of birth, and any other information that might be deemed discriminative may be avoided. Furthermore, according to Lye (2007), an effective job description should never be overlooked in the selection process. Applicants should understand core skills and responsibilities related to the job before providing their information for selection.
In the recent past, most organizations have been using psychological tests during selection process. Some of the tests used include aptitude tests and performance tests. In most cases, tests are used in situations where the number of applicants is too large. As such, selection team assumes that candidates who scored above the cutoff points are better than those who scored below the cutoff points.
Hospitality organizations are service providing businesses. Therefore, the management is very keen on service delivery. Such organizations divide their activities based on their visibility to customers. Services that cannot be seen by customers are referred to as “back stage”, while those that customers can see are “front stage” services (Chan & Kuok, 2011). Based on the results of performance tests, candidates can be classified in these two groups. In most cases, front stage services are performed by beautiful and good-looking people, who are perceived to attract more customers.
Interviews are critical in the selection process. Sometimes, more than one interview can be conducted. This process can be used to cross-check the information given in the application forms and selection tests. Candidates are expected to demonstrate their strengths and capabilities relevant to their academic qualifications. Applicants must be held responsible for misrepresentation of information in their CVs. In fact Hinkin & Tracy (2010) recommend that any misrepresentation of information should result in automatic disqualification of the candidate not only in the service industry but in all industries. This is because misrepresentation is an indication that the applicant is not trustworthy.
Interviews serve three main purposes. The first purpose is to obtain information about training, education, work history, background, and candidates’ interest. The second purpose is to give candidates information about the company and job policies. The third purpose is to establish a rapport between candidates and the employer so as to motivate candidates to commit themselves to the organization. Raj (2008) recommends that selection should focus on students with the desire to work in a demanding industry. Additionally, the process should select people who understand dynamic demands of the hospitality industry. However, Raj (2008) cautions that employers should also communicate realistic expectations.
Hospitality industry is very sensitive to health concerns. Therefore, applicants who have succeeded in preliminary stages have to comply with certain medical requirements. They are either sent to a medical officer approved by the organization or to company’s physician. Medical examination seeks to determine whether the individual is physically fit to carry out a specific job. It also reveals any disabilities that candidates might be having for the purposes of record keeping. Heath records are very useful when deciding on compensations for claims of injury (Roberts, 2009). Since hospitality industry is concerned with handling food and closely communicating with clients, medical examination is essential to ensure that applicants suffering from contagious infections are dismissed. Alternatively, candidates who are qualified but can work only in certain positions because of their handicaps can be identified and assigned to positions appropriate for them.
Further, according to Kitterlin & Erdem (2009), one in six fulltime employees use illicit drugs. Some of the effects of substance abuse by employees include high employee turnover in the company as well as absenteeism of employees. Medical check-ups are, therefore, necessary to ensure that applicants are not addicted to drugs. Unfortunately, not many organizations are keen on testing employees for substance abuse. Most of medical tests examine allergies and other diseases leaving out tests for drug addiction. Therefore, there are very few hospitality firms with records of substance abuse by employees. Some organizations are afraid of enacting drug testing policies because it might discourage potential applicants. It might also cause some employees to leave the company.
When making applications, candidates are asked to mention contacts of at least two people who know them. These people might be public figures, former lecturers, or previous employers. Referees are supposed to give a genuine opinion concerning candidates. Referees’ opinion can be used to judge the performance and future behavior of candidates. However, it is not advisable to rely exclusively on information from referees because they might be biased towards the candidate. Different laws also limit the kind of information to be provided to employers. Past employers tend to shy away from giving negative feedback about employees for fear of defamation charges. This might be the reason why some employers are opting for social networks.
Raj (2008) asserts that comprehensive and unbiased description of abilities of candidates by the employer is very important in the selection process. However, this can not always be achieved because candidates keep their job-hunting mission as a secret from their employers. Therefore, asking for reference from any employer before the job is offered will be interfering with confidentiality of the applicant. By the time the job is offered, any information from the former employer will be too late to affect the selection process. Since most references are given after the candidate has started working, the information can only be used as record to warn managers of possible misconduct by this candidate. Moreover, most employers are very conscious when giving their references. They merely state the date of employment, job title, and reason of employee quitting the job. This information does not give a comprehensive picture of candidate’s behavior. Most of the references are biased because not many employers want to hinder the progress of other people. Therefore, Raj (2008) suggests that references should be obtained in person or through telephone.
In the hospitality industry, human resource department is responsible for the selection process. Department’s decisions are recommendatory and the shortlisted candidates are then forwarded to executives for approval. Hinkin & Tracy (2010) affirms that the HR department should clearly demonstrate that selected applicants are the best for the position. Ultimately, executives have the powers to revoke applicants they consider inappropriate. Upon approval, candidates should present other documents such as employment permit and insurance number to the employer. All these are meant to facilitate processing of salaries. However, required documents vary from one country to another.
In most organizations employment is approved by an appointment letter, which indicates the date when employee joins the organization, the post, salary, terms and conditions. Some organizations insist that the candidate signs a contract of service seconded by organization’s representative. This is the point when the applicant is given a letter indicating that he/she has been offered the job. The initial offer is important not only for the new employee but for the organization at large because salary must be appropriate and consistent with that earned by other employees. Furthermore, conditions for the job such as working hours, bonuses and the like should be stated. Most hospitality firms offer employment on probation terms and candidates are later confirmed to have a job in case of their satisfactory performance.
In the hospitality industry employees are categorized based on the mode of payment. As such, there are only two major groups: the hourly employees and salaried employees. Hourly employees, as the name suggests, are paid based on the number of hours they work. They include servers, housekeepers, and attendants. On the other hand, salaried employees are mainly represented by managers.
Induction process begins by receiving employees, introducing them to colleagues, and briefing them about the customs of the company. New recruits undertake various induction courses to adjust to the new job. Lye (2007) recommends that the induction process should be conducted in a structured manner. Employees should be taken through organizational policies in a formal manner. Regardless of their position, they should complete the process and append their signature confirming that they have understood company’s objectives.
Selection process must be certified by follow up. It involves asking employees how they evaluate their progress. Immediate supervisors also comment on employee’s progress which is compared with the notes taken during the selection interview. If results of the follow-up indicate that the there is no progress, it could render the entire selection process faulty. Chikwe (2009) affirms that even though the evaluation process is not a part of the selection process, it shows the validity and reliability of the process and reveals its effectiveness. It is important to evaluate the progress of new employees to ensure that any problems they might be facing are addressed. Mishandled selection process is the main cause of high employee turnover (Chikwe, 2009). However, it is also important that new employees are given a chance to perfect their skills through training. This is because every organization has its own procedure of work. No matter how skilled a new employee might be, further training is necessary to orient him or her in the new working environment.
As it has been discussed in this paper, the selection process is meant to hire candidates who can help the organization to prosper. There are a number of steps in the process which help to understand abilities of applicants. However, this process can be challenging, especially when referees do not provide correct information about applicants. Some references are delivered late when the applicant is already employed. Nonetheless, if an organization is innovative and persistent, it will attract the best employees. Every stage in the selection process should be carefully handled because one wrong move can make the entire exercise ineffective. During the preliminary interview, selection team should verify certificates and qualifications of candidates and disqualify anyone presenting false information. The evaluation stage is meant to reflect on the progress of new employees to ensure that they are on the right track.