The success of your hospitality business depends upon the people who support it. These are the people who will be connecting with your customers and representing your company to the world. So, when it comes time to hire your staff, the firm you choose for your hospitality staffing solutions needs to fit your company’s unique needs.

The selection process for a firm can seem daunting but clarifying your needs and determining what you need in terms of staffing will help streamline the process.


The firm you choose will be responsible for selecting the faces that will represent your business. When you put it in that perspective, the importance of this decision is evident. You should approach the selection of your hospitality staffing firm with the same attention to detail that you give to your other business decisions. Determining the criteria for selecting the firm is as important as selecting the staff itself.

Experience is always one of the first considerations in the selection process, but you need to really zero in on how the firm can help your business specifically. A country club kitchen will not have the same staffing needs as a hotel kitchen or a museum café. Look for experience that is directly related to the type of business that you have.

Here are some key considerations for the firm you want:

  • • Do they have adequate experience with your type of business?
  • • Do the agents have practical experience working in the industry as well as experience in the candidate selection process?
  • • Do they maintain a broad candidate pool with diverse skillsets and backgrounds? A company may claim to staff for the hospitality industry, but that doesn’t mean they have qualified candidates – or a large selection.
  • • How do they manage candidates and maintain a diverse roster? Think about the different positions in a hotel or restaurant. A staffing firm that does not have adequate candidates will either not be able to successfully handle your staffing needs or they will delay your staffing as they scramble to search for and vet candidates on the fly.

These are the people who will be connecting with your customers and representing your company to the world.


Hospitality is often a high-pressure industry. While the firm you choose should evaluate the technical skills of the candidates, they should also look at other areas to determine suitability for the job.

Take the time to do these:

• Sit down with your representative and give them a realistic description of the environment of your business.

• Outline if the staff you need will be working in high-pressure situations such as a kitchen or an extremely busy front desk for a midtown hotel. These types of situations call for a certain demeanor.

• Discuss the crucial and critically necessary skills you need. Technical skills can be taught, but some things, like the capacity to courteously and efficiently handle an upset customer takes time to develop in most candidates: very few candidates are prepared for those situations, and even fewer come “ready-for-primetime out of the box”.

Emotional skills are just as important as technical skills, maybe even more so. The hospitality staffing firm you choose should have, at least, the following skills evaluation imbedded in their selection process:

• Is the candidate able to remain cool under pressure? • How does the candidate handle stressful situations? • Are they adept at building effective relationships with coworkers and customers?

Ask to see their candidate selection criteria. You should see questions and tests that are designed to evaluate technical and emotional skills. One very effective tool for making these determinations is the behavioral-based interview question. These questions put the candidate in real-life situations, allowing them to provide responses regarding how they have handled similar issues in the past. The questions should be framed in a way that they elicit deeper, more thoughtful, and more insightful responses.


Hiring event staff calls for different selection criteria than hiring hotel staff or restaurant staff and the firm you choose. It is important that you not only find a firm that can meet your company’s needs, but it is also a company that you feel comfortable working with as well. Your level of comfort and trust in the firm is vital. You need to feel confident in the firm, so you can hand that task over to them allowing you to focus on other aspects of growing your business.

If you find a great firm but don’t really feel you are connecting with the representative that has been assigned to you, don’t hesitate to request a new one. If you feel that the staffing firm isn’t meeting your needs, then find one that does. In the end, it’s your business that must come first and you need a hospitality staffing firm that recognizes that and honors it. They need to treat your business with the same importance that you do – as if it was their own.