Labor gaps are not new to the hospitality industry, but the magnitude of the current workforce shortage is. In 2009, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated 353,000 job openings across the leisure and hospitality sector. As of 2018, according to the BLS, that number swelled to 1,139,000. In fact, hospitality leads all industries in open positions.
What this means for recruiters and HR leaders in hospitality is that all strategies, from branding to visibility to hiring to onboarding, have to be on point. In order to improve the quality of candidates, broaden your talent pool, and increase conversions on your job postings for positions like chef, server, housekeeping, front desk and hospitality management positions, your company has to serve up an impeccable candidate experience and use targeted outreach to get these job listings in front of the right candidates. Hospitality hiring, especially in the current industry talent marketplace, is high-volume and continuous, so long and short-term improvements to your recruitment marketing are what will make the difference in why a candidate engages with your job posting versus that of a competitor.
According to Deloitte’s 2019 US Travel and Hospitality Outlook, attracting talent in the Hospitality industry requires outreach. The existing workforce, as well as tomorrow’s talent, needs inspiration to pursue careers in travel, culinary arts, and hospitality, both as a fulfilling and stable source of short-term work and as platforms for long-term career advancement. Through apprenticeship and training programs, career events, and partnerships with academia and nonprofits in career development, industry leaders have opportunities to create smoother transitions to the field and showcase the field to a community of educators, parents, and students who perhaps wouldn’t have previously considered the option. This is your long-term strategy for closing the talent gap, but for hiring many and hiring now, there are a few things you can to optimize your job postings to convert top candidate to qualified applicant.
How to Improve Conversion on Hospitality Job Postings
A recent report by hospitality skills and workforce development nonprofit People 1st estimates that the hospitality sector still needs 993,000 staff by 2022, with 870,000 needed to replace existing staff. As a result, according to new research conducted by The Caterer, an overwhelming number of hospitality employers are finding recruiting to be their most significant challenge. There are things you can do now to improve your odds.
Consider your content. Keeping the content on your job postings (and job descriptions) up-to-date will make your hospitality roles relevant to search engines. Your job titles should align to what your ideal candidates are searching for online. The same goes for the descriptions you link to your job titles and postings. If you’re not updating them based on job requirements, you’re going to get a lot of unqualified applicants. Use BLS job titles, keyword tools (there’s one built in to Google Ad Manager), or simply search for your own job titles to see what comes up. Modify your titles and descriptions based on what your ideal candidates search for and you can improve your ranking in search and increase traffic to your job postings for these roles.
Your career site. The website and location of your job posting is just as important as the content, copy and call to action. Consider the technology and how applicants will interact with and experience your employment brand. Try to regularly test your own job posting and application process from the perspective of a candidate to understand how technology plays a role in the experience. Each job posting platform (job board, career website or blog) produces a different candidate experience. Consider the importance of mobile, ease of use, accessibility, talent networks and apps.
Mobile is a key technology to consider as part of a job-posting strategy. Candidates increasingly use their mobile devices to search and apply for jobs. According to a report from Snagajob, 82% of job seekers are now searching for jobs from their phones. Make sure your post (and careers page) is mobile-friendly and responsive.
Increase visibility. On your career site and off, if you’re not already using images and video on your job postings and social sites, it’s one easy and inexpensive way to increase engagement. Job postings with videos are viewed 12% more than postings without video. On average, employers receive a 34% greater candidate application rate when video is added to job postings.
We’ve discussed how valuable video content can be in previous posts, from improving candidate engagement to increasing SEO rankings. Consider employee testimonial videos, team or company event videos and other visuals that give candidates a look into what it’s like to work for your company. Make the content easy to share and relatable.
Create clear differentiation. The best recruiters research their competition tirelessly and are prepared to answer questions, overcome objections and sell the role in this competitive, candidate-driven marketplace. The best job postings create a clear message that sets them apart from other employers. We mentioned video above but consider the gift of just how visually pleasing content in hospitality can be. Hotels, restaurants, destinations…your customer-facing assets likely tell a story, but what about your employees?
Testimonials are a powerful way to share what makes your company unique and a great place to work. The best testimonials come directly from your employees. Beyond research and employee testimonials, visual media helps to set employers apart from one another. This includes photography, videos and other digital assets that complement your job posting. For similar examples, check out AT&T’s career site, T-Mobile’s career “tours,” and careers at Airbnb.
Make it easy to apply. Using a big apply button at the top and bottom of the job posting will increase your likelihood to have a convert by applying for a job posting you have listed. If a candidate has to search or is confused about how to apply for your job, they’re going to move on.
Targeted campaigns. Online job posting ad campaigns can be a powerful tool to target only the candidates that meet your qualifications, streamlining your hiring process by eliminating unqualified candidates before the application stage. Campaigns like these are more likely to convert, especially when you can target geographically, by skill level and education, and required certifications.
You can even use targeted campaigns to engage candidates at competitor companies or those who are interested in completing a required certificate. For example, Talroo offers a robust set of tools to help elevate visibility for your job posting and hyper-target qualified candidates. Using a data-driven talent attraction solution allows you to optimize a paid campaign in real-time, amplifying what’s working and turning off what doesn’t so you get the most out of your recruitment advertising budget.
Engage Gen Z & Millennial Candidates with Digital Job Listings
One final thought: Recruiters across industry have barely had time to catch up with best practices for recruiting millennials, however the “new” digital generation now 25 to 40 years of age. It’s important to consider just how many choices this demographic has in the hospitality sector, as well as develop recruiting strategies for the real new digital generation, post-millennial or generation Z. Gen Z is the first truly “always on” generation and they don’t remember a time before smartphones. Your mobile campaigns, apply process, and job postings have to be on point, especially for hospitality jobs when you’re hiring entry-level new college graduates. Gen Z is graduating from college and they’re out on the market in full force, however, they have never experienced a job market where you couldn’t easily apply to a job online.