Finding the right hire doesn’t depend on age
Finding the right hire doesn’t depend on age
20 FEBRUARY 2013 7:43 AM

When it comes to choosing between risk-taking millennials or seasoned professionals, hiring executives are tasked with seeking out the right candidate to fit the job at hand.

When guests travel, they might notice the leadership members of a hotel looking, shall we say, slightly younger than before.

I have heard many even say they look too young.

But these young workers are more likely than not to have advanced or specialized hospitality degrees. They’re also likely to have been brought up in the industry.

Brandon M. Springer-McConnell

Does that carry enough weight to really hand over the reins of a multimillion dollar operation? If you are from the millennial generation, you think it does. The process to obtain these roles, however, has been made much harder by those not quite ready to let this new generation take over.

The numerous stories contained within industry trades about the changing face of younger leadership are often penned by those who already have made their way into these roles. They speak of what not to do in an interview or what to say to get your dream job. The truth is that while some of us have been fortunate enough to land great roles, there are thousands of industry management professionals waiting, begging and even pleading for the phone to ring just once so they can get a shot to do what they love, which is to make people smile.

Tackling age equality
This comes back to the very important crossroads we face in our industry: age equality when it comes to interviewing and hiring decisions.

Great hoteliers before us have faced similar challenges in many forms. From race to gender equality, our industry always has seemed to be ahead of the national curve. And while some independent groups are putting younger qualified people into management roles, there are many that are not.

With the mixed news of positive growth within the hotel industry matched with continued slow national economic growth and rising unemployment, the choices to fill leadership roles are now as decisive as ever. There are two very basic paths when it comes to defining these roles: Hiring executives either choose older applicants with tenured professional experiences who often fall behind in the newer e-commerce culture, or they choose younger applicants with more formal education, certifications and a more varied work history.

As I heard one young leader explain recently, our generation “did not make the decisions to get us in this economic mess, but we have the creativity and mindset to get us out of it.”

In a recent anonymous poll that I came across a while back, age has become one of the most critical factors when making final hiring decisions.

So what is truly the right answer for human-resource professionals and hiring managers? Which applicant is better, more stable and better for the long term? Applicants will flood your inbox with résumé s and promises to join your team and instantly make it better. There is no true cookie-cutter template of what makes the best applicant. It is your responsibility to look at what is best for your team.

Tenure and more years illustrated on a piece of paper versus creativity and out-of-the-box non-industry thinking. Steady hand versus taking risks.

Remember, the best applicant will not always come from your own backyard. They are everywhere; you just have to find them. Ultimately, a hiring executive’s job is to look for qualifications and aptitude to find the missing piece to your company’s employment puzzle.

Brandon M. Springer-McConnell was a Disney Trainer and has worked with multiple national companies in leadership role. Brandon is also incoming chair of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Under 30 Gateway Council.

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No Comments

  • K.V. Simon. February 21, 2013 3:43 PM

    Congratulations and welcome to the Chair dear Brandon. Blending and Balancing is critical to building a robust enterprise. Recruiters will have to do some deep sea fishing as well as engage in a lot of sifting and sieving activities if we are to attract and retain quality and value adding associates.

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