How AI Can Help Hoteliers Rethink the Hiring Process

Instead of looking for keywords on resumes or a certain number of years within the industry, consider targeting candidates based on psychometric assessments.
Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor, Hotels
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Eleven years ago, Kerry Goyette began Aperio Consulting Group to help companies build high-performing employee cultures. She has spent her career learning what drives human behavior in the workplace and then finding ways to measure it so that she can help organizations improve.

“All organizations, whether successful or not, are a product of their people,” Goyette says. “People are an organization’s biggest asset, and more attention needs to be placed on them.”

For the hospitality industry, this could be an especially timely piece of advice. Joblist’s Q2 U.S. Job Market Report reported that 60% of job seekers would not consider working in a restaurant, bar, hotel or other hospitality job. Of those, 70% said nothing would convince them to work in hospitality. 

[Labor and workforce management has never been a hotter topic for the hospitality industry than now! See what's happening within your industry here!]

How do you fill a position when no one seems to want to work in your industry? Goyette has an answer for that: Look outside the typical job applicant pool.

“Your typical candidates are the ones who have had the negative experiences and don’t want to return to the industry,” she explains. “We look in other places for candidates that are the right fit personality-wise, regardless of what industry they currently work in. This allows us to overcome that negative bias.”

To help her and her team with this task, Goyette relies on artificial intelligence to sift through millions of data points and then point out trends that humans might miss.

The Value of AI

Consider for example a hotel chain with five properties. Three properties are performing very well but two are not. To help identify the problem, Goyette’s would first give psychometric assessments to the employees at all five locations. A psychometric assessment measures a person's psychological traits, features, and abilities. These may include cognitive skill, personality, and communication style preferences. The assessments Goyette uses have all been vetted and validated. 

Afterwards, she would run the data from these assessments through an AI algorithm to figure out which personality traits bubble up to the top as most common among the employees at the successful properties. AI would also indicate who were the low performers and what personality traits they have in common. With this data in hand, Goyette could figure out why some employees are unsuitable for their current roles and why others are thriving and could make recommendations for how the hotel could hire better candidates for specific positions.

“Right now, human resource managers look at resumes to make hiring decisions,” Goyette explains. “But this isn’t the best way to hire staff. Instead, we should be recruiting candidates using automation and algorithms to create a tailored message that will appeal to potential workforce members on a personal level.”

Instead of asking for a certain number of years of experience working the front desk at a hotel, for instance, hoteliers would focus more on asking potential new hires questions such as: Do you enjoy interacting with a variety of people and personalities on a day-to-day basis? Do you like solving problems under pressure? Are you good at multitasking? 

Save Money, Make Money

While it may initially seem like a lot of work, this analysis of one’s employees actually benefits the business significantly. How so? Depending on the position, it can cost a business 1.5 to 10 times the salary to hire and train a new staff member. Corporations that are constantly having to hire new people are losing significant sums of money.

“In many cases, a position can sit open for 18 months before it becomes a real issue,” Goyette adds. “Take the time to hire the right person. Not only will you cut down on new hire and training costs but you’ll begin to build a company culture where your employees will want to work.”

Artificial Intelligence can also help companies make money by helping to identify employees who may be a better fit for a different position within the company. Goyette shares the example of a company who was looking to hire a high-level salesperson. The CEO was adamant that the new hire should have a college degree. After giving all of the employees -- including those in the warehouse -- a psychometric assessment, Goyette found that one of the warehouse employees would be a perfect fit for the sales job. Goyette convinced the CEO to promote the warehouse employee to the sales position even though he didn’t have a college degree. Within nine months, the former warehouse employee was the No. 1 salesperson in the region and within two years was the No. 1 salesperson in the country for this company.

“This employee had zero sales experience, but he had all of the right behavioral traits,” Goyette explains. “That made him the right fit for the job – not his experience or his resume."