Are Opinions Worth Listening to?

Throughout my life I have been known to have an opinion about almost everything! I guess that’s the way I was brought up, to speak my mind, and I have done that even when my opinions have not been sought or when they can be construed as being somewhat controversial.

In the oh so ‘politically correct’ world in which we now live, you have to think twice about speaking up on any subject for the sake of upsetting someone, even if you are telling the truth.

While I understand that the respect of my fellow human beings is a priority these days, we should not forget that we also have an obligation to be honest, and in the case of a recruiter, tell people what’s wrong and why they can’t get a job. It might not always be pleasant, but at the same time, should help a candidate understand the reason why he didn’t get the dream job which he imagined was a perfect fit.

It is fair to say I have got myself into trouble for being honest on occasions, but at the same time, might have helped a candidate take an honest evaluation of his skills and background even if he didn’t like my view at the time.

What many candidates don’t understand, when applying for jobs via a recruiter, is that the position guidelines, candidate profile and work background – in fact all the requirements – are set by the client. The recruiter is the messenger of these requirements and follows them strictly if they want to make a placement and stay in business!

At times, when clients miss out on a potentially perfect candidate just because he is above their set age range or has a family travelling with him or did not work for a specific hotel/brand, it is hard to rationalise. Examples of ageism, racism or sexism are not difficult to find and have been discussed ad infinitum by us and in the media, but remain very common in society today.

Most job advertisements are pretty specific and in many cases, job descriptions are posted online for potential candidates to read and compare to their own experience to consider if they are suitable, but how many people really read them or read the full job advertisement for that matter?

Whilst there is generally no indications of age, sex or religion (unless perhaps you are applying for a job in countries like Saudi Arabia), most advertisements do spell out the basic needs regarding experience and category of hotel experience required.

In an advertisement that specifically says ‘resort experience essential’ then there is not much sense in applying if you have never worked in a resort. The client wants someone with this experience and will not consider anyone else. If an EAM with strong F&B background is outlined in the ad, then that is what a client wants, so if you have never worked in F&B then there is not much sense in applying, because the client has a reason why he wants a candidate with that background.

Similar situations arise when a candidate that has never worked in a luxury hotel applies for a job that specifically says, ‘only candidates with a luxury hotel background are considered’.

We all have our place in this world, and some candidates are perfect for the world of 4-star hotels, understanding that the dynamics are different and focused on making sure the guest has an experience that suits his budget, while in many cases, the real luxury hotel that charges US$2,000 a night has very different challenges to make guests happy.

In our industry we are inundated with opinions. We are guided by opinions, not only from our employers or owners, but from our guests, who direct their opinions at us via guest questionnaires, social media reviews, hotel booking sites and so on… Opinions are everywhere and it is up to us to take them on board and convert them into something positive.

After 40 years in the industry I can categorically state, that many (guest) opinions are not worth the paper they are written on, but hotels and hoteliers are often still judged by them, even if it is beyond their control.

It is not much different in the world of recruitment. When a recruiter is unable to find a solution to a client request for a European Michelin star chef for the salary of an apprentice, or a General Manager for the salary of a Department Head, the recruiter is also subject to an opinion, valid or not.

Listening to opinions is important, but all opinions need to be within reason to be valid.

About the author

rsz_karl_faux_ccKarl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.
For more information about Karl and Elite Search visit http://www.elitesearch.com.au and The Elite Hotelier http://www.elitehotelier.net

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