When the job market is active, it’s just as important to validate as is it to make a change. The grass may not be greener, but, finding out what weed killer a company is using can be valuable too.

We are going through a shift in the workforce. There is less talent available (or less people with the necessary skills available) which means that every hire a company makes is scrutinized, assessed, and put through the proverbial ringer. This is a simple “CYA” philosophy that has been so prevalent for so long. The culmination of a workforce shift – and this outdated mentality – leads to more interviews and layered processes. With added layers, hiring professionals make great efforts to narrow their candidate pool.

Companies seek reasons to screen you out, but they are being pressured to speed up their time to fill [open positions]. In today’s market, employers that delay the interview and hiring process run the risk of losing candidates to their competition.

Candidates have had little leverage throughout an interviewing and hiring process over the last few years.

The shift means competition is heating up, and candidates are about to get their just deserts.

More companies hiring means more options available, and more choices for you to make. It makes how you manage your job search that much more important.

In the hospitality industry, you can expect a multi-layered interview process with some level of application and assessment; phone, in person, and/or video interviewing, along with a job observation (a working interview). While every company has its own hiring process, you can bet the aforementioned steps are weaved throughout.

Here’s how to capitalize on the evolving market:

Plan and leverage. Block out time for yourself just as you would an appointment with your dentist. During that time, do not allow distractions. Spend the defined time conducting research on companies and people. Leverage social media to investigate, connect, re-connect, and to engage former colleagues and friends. Be present, not desperate. Comment on posts, participate in polls, and ‘like’ a great food pic. A little bit of time will go a long way. You just want to establish a consistent presence. Then, begin making contact with specific individuals. No mass messaging here. Let the individual know that you respect and appreciate him/her, and make that person aware that you have decided to start a job search. Ask the person to help you connect with other friends or colleagues with whom you could make introduction. Start with a small list of the people that influence you, and you’ll be astounded how far the reach will take you.

Study the company, concept, and culture. If you are preparing for an interview with a hospitality company, you must find the time to secret shop. Go to the venue. Observe the overall operation including cleanliness, organization, quality, timeliness, level of training, and engagement. Order something, and pay attention to the level of service you receive. When you do interview, you will have a recent experience to draw upon. Call out something specific like a menu item, the presentation, or the service you received. This demonstrates your commitment to your job search, and helps you to validate your perception of the company.

Prepare great stories. Put in the time to recall, and document, past experiences that help to demonstrate your skills and abilities. Read and re-read your stories until you know them by heart. When you interview, you will be able to work them into the interview. The result will be a more conversational experience. Talk about how you increased sales or efficiencies, lowered costs, focused on building, leading, and influencing a team, guest and community relations.

Finally, don’t forget why you go to work every day. Whether it’s the pace, the people, or the fact that you’re not stuck behind a desk all day, remember why you’re passionate about the hospitality industry, and take that pride with you through the interview process.


David Rose is an author, candidate advocate, and the Vice President of Recruiting with YELLOW DOG Recruiting (www.yellowdogrecruiting.com), a national recruiting firm specializing in the placement of leaders in the hospitality industry. Follow David on Twitter @YELLOWDOG_01.