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NEIRA 2021: How to Win When Competing With 10+ Companies for Every Top Candidate

Last week, we attended the annual New England Inn and Resorts Association (NEIRA) conference. Held in Chatham, MA, the event brought hospitality managers from all across the East Coast together for two days of education, networking, and celebrating life slowly returning to normal.

Hireology’s CEO, Adam Robinson, was one of a handful of featured speakers. His keynote presentation covered all things hospitality hiring in a post-pandemic world — from how to attract top talent during a tough hiring market to ways to enhance your processes in order to get top candidates hired and onboarded fast. Adam was joined by Anna Blount, Director of Research Services at Longwood International, Rich Brooks, Founder and President of Flyte New Media, and more.

While the event covered all kinds of trends in the hospitality space, hiring was top of mind for many of the folks we spoke with. This should come as no surprise as businesses across all industries are navigating an unprecedented hiring crisis. But few have been hit quite as hard as those in hospitality. You need to staff up in order to provide a great guest experience amidst the post-COVID surge in demand, but there just aren’t enough job seekers out there looking to fill these types of roles.

And the candidates many hospitality businesses do connect with have plenty of options at their fingertips, making it tough for recruiters and hiring managers to keep them engaged and interested throughout the process. In fact, according to Hireology’s 2021 State of Hiring report, 45% of job seekers surveyed say they applied to at least 10 jobs in their most recent search, with another 24% applying to at least five roles.

Throughout the two-day NEIRA event, we learned first-hand how this talent shortage is impacting businesses in the hospitality space, and we uncovered insights into how leading organizations are making hiring process adjustments to overcome these challenges. We broke down everything we heard into three key themes:

Applicant flow is an ongoing issue

Given that every company is competing with dozens of other companies for the same candidates, applicant flow continues to be an issue across the board. So how do you stand out and entice job seekers to apply for your roles? Of course offering higher pay is always an option to attract folks in the short term. But longer term, leading organizations are making fundamental shifts to their employer brand sourcing strategy in order to connect with more job seekers.

If you’re struggling in this area too, here’s what leading hotels and resorts are doing to increase applicant flow:

  • Employee referrals: At a time when simply connecting with job seekers is a challenge, tapping into your top employees’ networks is a great way to get in front of qualified talent you might not have otherwise been able to through traditional channels.
  • Job descriptions: Your job descriptions are often your first (and sometimes your only) opportunity to engage with a job seeker. Use SEO best practices when writing your job descriptions and always lead with what’s in it for the candidate — whether that’s a great culture, competitive pay, or a wide range of benefits.
  • Career sites: It’s also important to have a central location where you house all information relating to your employment branding. Build out a career site that includes everything that makes you a great place to work. Bonus points if your site includes testimonials directly from your existing employees.  

Speed matters more than ever

In addition to applying to multiple roles, today’s top job seekers are also getting hired fast. In the same study referenced above, 43% of 2021 job seekers said their most recent job search — everything from researching open roles to receiving an offer — took two weeks or less. And employers in the hospitality space have been hit hard by this. You respond to a great applicant only for them to say that they’ve already accepted another job. To move faster and stay competitive, many organizations are embracing mobile recruiting.

What does mobile have to do with speed? With the ability to carry out critical, timely steps in the hiring process like application review or interview scheduling from a mobile device, your recruiters and hiring managers can keep the process moving from anywhere and at any time — ultimately decreasing your time to hire. In fact, Hireology customers that are using our mobile app alongside desktop are able to connect with talent twice as fast as those relying on desktop alone.

Candidate no shows are common

If you’re also struggling with candidate no shows, you’re not alone. Many employers in the hospitality space are finding it challenging to keep candidates engaged once they apply to open roles. In some cases, candidates are applying to dozens of open roles, so chances are they’re not showing up to interviews because your messages are simply getting lost in the shuffle. On top of missing out on top talent, this is causing you a significant amount of your team’s time. According to Hireology data, recruiters using our platform spend at least 22% of their administrative time rescheduling interviews. That’s time you could be spending connecting with talent, engaging new hires, and more.

One way to ensure that you remain top of mind for job candidates — and avoid no shows — is to start texting them instead of relying on email alone. Email inboxes are cluttered and are difficult to navigate on mobile devices. But texting allows you to cut through the noise and makes it a lot easier for folks to respond. With Hireology’s candidate texting feature, you can send messages directly from the Hireology platform, eliminating the need to switch devices or use your own personal smartphone for work.

If we had to sum up everything we took away from NEIRA in one sentence it would be that hiring is tough right now across the board. And given the nature of the hospitality industry, getting the right folks on board is critical to the success of your business. Now is the time to make critical adjustments to your recruiting and hiring strategies to get more talent in your pipeline and bring great folks on board faster.

Hireology is here to help. Our all-in-one recruiting, hiring, and employee management platform can help you connect with and hire qualified workers so you can staff up to the levels you need to run your business. Don’t wait, schedule a free demo today.

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