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Reasons to Hire Former Hospitality Staff for Entry-Level Office Roles

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In many Temporary and Corporate Support jobs, it’s the “human” element that’s the magic ingredient for success; the ability to relate to (and work effectively with) people, whether they be customers, colleagues or stakeholders. If you are looking for someone to learn and grow with your role, the coachability of the candidate should supersede experience. This crucial skillset is often hidden in seemingly unlikely places – a treasure waiting to be uncovered by the discerning employer.

Before I came to Beyond, I had a background in the hospitality industry and worked various roles in cafés for a number of years. On the surface, it may have appeared that I lacked the right experience to make the change to recruitment, but it became clear that my time in hospitality had helped me build an adaptable customer-facing skill set that has proved invaluable in my career as a recruiter. I hit the ground running, quickly learning the ins and outs of the recruitment profession and building genuine relationships with the clients and candidates I worked with.

This experience has shaped my approach as a recruiter specialising in Temporary Staffing Solutions. I recognise the unique value that people with hospitality experience can bring to a range of customer-focused positions in other industries, particularly entry-level office roles such as Reception, Office Administration, Call Centre Representatives, Sales-based roles and Processing Officers. In a changing market that has been flooded with job seekers from hospitality, this is an excellent opportunity for savvy employers to capitalise on this untapped talent pool and bring priceless customer service experience into their teams.

Here’s why you should consider hiring people with hospitality backgrounds for junior office roles and what to look for to find the best candidates.

The Value of Hospitality Experience

When hiring for office roles, many employers understandably focus on people who already have experience in the Corporate Support space. However, I have often seen that just because someone appears to have previous office experience, it doesn’t mean they have the right skills to thrive in fast-paced, customer-facing roles.

People who have worked in hospitality in the past naturally develop a range of transferrable soft skills that equip them to succeed in Support roles, including:

  • Time management and prioritisation skills
  • An agile working style with the ability to adapt quickly to new expectations and environments
  • High levels of customer service and communication skills
  • The ability to build rapport in a limited timeframe with a variety of different stakeholders
  • A strong work ethic, resilience and improvisational skills
  • Attention to detail and environmental awareness

With these types of soft skills being vital for a variety of office roles, there is a big advantage to thinking outside the box and considering candidates who may not have direct office experience, but have all the right transferrable skills, a proven ability to learn quickly and the potential to succeed if given the chance. Another advantage is that this type of candidate typically does not come with a pre-conception of what the role ‘should be.’

What to Look for When Hiring People with Hospitality Backgrounds

Although there is plenty of talent in the market right now, reaping the full benefits of hospitality experience still means hiring the right people. If you’re considering adding someone from hospitality to your team, I recommend looking for the following:

  • Progression – Perhaps they have moved up the ranks to become a trainer or manager or were entrusted as a keyholder. Progression within hospitality roles shows that the person is driven and reliable.
  • Education – Working in hospitality doesn’t necessarily mean someone lacks higher education; there are many skilled candidates transitioning out of university and waiting for the opportunity to take the next step in their careers.
  • Learning potential – A candidate’s ability to grasp new concepts quickly is more important than what they know already. Whether it’s in a call centre, processing claims or entering data, entry-level jobs tend to have a process. A better understanding of the process means a better performance of the nuances of their role.

These are not skills that can be assessed just by reading a CV, so instead of going straight to interview, screen over the phone first. This provides you with a much better idea of what they’re really like than just reading a CV and gives you flexibility with time in the interview process.

Keep in mind that although there will always be a learning curve for anyone starting a new role, the transition period for these candidates often isn’t as long as you might expect. People with hospitality backgrounds are used to adapting to changing environments and will typically hit the ground running.

Look for people who have held roles such as Customer Service Representative, Café/Restaurant Manager, Team Trainer, Kitchen Hand, Barista and Chef – they will often be equipped to make the transition to office roles easily.

Summary

At the end of the day, once a person has been in a job for a while and are succeeding, it doesn’t matter what they did before. In my own job as a recruiter, the fact that I worked in hospitality doesn’t come up! It’s the achievements and outcomes I have now that count.

If you’re looking to hire for an entry-level office role, working with a recruiter can help you find the perfect fit – we look beyond the appearance of the CV, know the individual’s personality and understand the nuances of the company.

If you need support with finding the right Temporary staff for your business, feel free to reach out to me – I’d be happy to help.