Will AI replace human hospitality recruiters?

Last year, the Metaverse was touted as the future of business. While that might certainly be the case at some point in the future, it feels that the enthusiasm for this project has waned.  

The technology needed to experience Web 3.0 is still unfamiliar to many, but more importantly, there has been a huge backtrack in recent months from innovators such as Meta and Disney, as they have dramatically reduced their workforces dedicated to this sector. 

On the other hand, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is growing in influence. We are familiar with AI through popular culture, and Hollywood movies have often highlighted the advantages and disadvantages very clearly, and often, dramatically!  

Since Chat GPT was launched in November 2022, we have seen a sudden deluge of AI add-ons and features added to familiar websites, search engines, and productivity programmes. Devices we already own, suddenly have the ability to leverage the power of advanced AI…. for free. 

There is no doubt that AI is disrupting the way we work, live and interact. Like all advancements, it has the potential to create both new opportunities and challenges for various sectors, and the hospitality industry is no different.  

But what impact is this technology likely to have on recruitment in the hospitality industry? 

Hospitality Skills
Before we look at how AI could affect recruitment, it is important to ask if AI might make a difference in the type of roles or skills that may become more sought after in future.  

AI can enhance the efficiency and accuracy of many jobs across the sector by automating repetitive and routine tasks, such as data entry, reconciliation, invoicing and payments.  

This can free up time and resources for employees to focus on more strategic and innovative activities. This could help hospitality professionals to generate new insights and recommendations, identify new opportunities and trends, and create new products and services. 

While the reduction of manual tasks may certainly affect the number of employees required, it may also help augment the skills and capabilities of employees to help them to deliver more value for their businesses and guests. This would require the industry to continue to adapt and evolve roles and responsibilities and acquire new skills and competencies to leverage the power of these technological advancements. 

We know that finding and hiring perfect candidates for hospitality roles is a challenging and time-consuming process. AI will certainly be able to help streamline and improve certain recruitment processes including: 

  • The screening and shortlisting of candidates based on their resumes, skills, qualifications and experience. AI could help save recruiters time and effort and reduce human bias and errors 
  • Providing personalised and timely communication, feedback and guidance throughout the recruitment journey. This can increase candidate engagement and satisfaction, and improve the employer brand 
  • Providing insights and recommendations for recruiters and hiring managers. This can help them make better and faster decisions, optimise their strategies, and identify talent gaps and opportunities. 
  • Helping candidates find and apply for roles that match their preferences, goals and potential. This can increase the quality and diversity of the talent pool, and reduce the turnover rate. 

Understanding Bias in AI  
A 2021 Forbes article, Understanding Bias in AI Enabled Hiring, it was highlighted how AI objectively assesses the data points and reduces assumptions, mental fatigue and bias that humans often succumb to.  

While there is a risk of human bias being subconsciously programmed into the AI algorithm, there are still clear advantages to relying on AI to screen candidates on a large scale.  

In 2019, a Harvard Business Review article, Will AI reduce Gender Bias in Hiring, it highlighted that AI does not need to engage in unconscious biases to penalise based on gender or other under-represented groups in order to get a self-esteem boost. 

Reducing human bias is undoubtedly a fairer solution, but this lack of bias could also be a significant drawback to AI-based recruitment.  If a business wanted to diversify its workforce or business culture, recruitment without any human judgement may not serve the purpose.  

There are candidates out there with atypical work experiences that fail to meet the AI algorithm standards, who could potentially be the best fit in terms of their individual personality, interests, character and work ethics. 

Our Conclusion
As specialists in people strategy, we recognise that our view comes from a position of bias, but we strongly feel that AI will never replace our consultants. It will likely become a powerful tool that can augment our capabilities and performance, by helping reduce mundane tasks. This will allow us to focus on the human aspects of people and performance strategies, such as building relationships, focussing on retention and culture, and providing added value to businesses and candidates. 

If you would like to have a chat about your people strategy, please get in touch and we can chat – human to human – on Tel: +44 20 8600 1166. 


HOSPACE 2022 – Overview and looking ahead to 2023 

After two years of huge challenges, hospitality enjoyed a bumper year in 2022 as pent-up demand drove business. However, as the Permacrisis (a word that was recently chosen as Collins English Dictionary’s word of the year) shows no sign of abating, 2023 has already been labelled by some as the “year of coping”. In this article, we reflect on some of the insights from HOSPACE and the hospitality industry in 2022 and look forward to what trends we might expect to see in 2023. 

Despite the ongoing cost of living crisis, sustainability continues to be a driving force behind many of the decisions made by owners, operators and investors. The current costs of energy and our reliance on fossil fuels have made more sustainable options a preferred option in terms of future-proofing.  

Speaking at HOSPACE in November, Danny Pecorelli, Managing Director of Exclusive Hotels, noted that while their collection of hotels may include some challenging designs, they have put sustainability into every decision they make. This has led to the introduction of wild swimming pools, technology-led solutions and a gradual movement from gas to induction in the kitchens. 

Unfortunately, many operators noted that none of this comes cheaply, but the cost of not doing something is even higher. 

Danny’s commitment to sustainability was later recognised as he was deservedly announced as the winner of the Inspirational Sustainability Leader of the year award. 

From a recruitment perspective we are continuing to see trends from 2022 expected to continue throughout 2023.  

Culture continues to play a determining factor in decisions candidates make to accept new roles or stay in current positions. We have spoken before about how candidates want to share the same values as their current and prospective employers.  

The way in which companies communicate and act on these values will be seen as a crucial factor in successful recruitment and retention. The cost of living is also a huge factor as many candidates are starting to see moving jobs as being an easier route to an inflation busting pay rise.  

With inflation hitting double figures in recent months, any pay increase less than this is viewed as a real terms pay cut. Moving jobs is often seen as the best way to increase a wage packet and we are now seeing remuneration expectations hitting +20% on current wages.  

2023 – A Coping Year
With these additional costs and an uncertain revenue forecast facing hotel operators in 2023, it is no wonder that a number of commentators at HOSPACE were referring to “A Coping Year” ahead.  

Hospitality has faced huge challenges in the last three years and those that have come through have developed a significant level of resilience.  

In many ways, the Pandemic Pivot was a lifeline for hospitality as it forced operators to adopt new technologies and ways of working to directly improve the customer and employee experience.  

While this agility and adaptability were necessary survival techniques in 2020/1, these skills will be used to continuously improve processes, control costs, boost revenues and drive profits in 2023.  

Previous recessions saw hotels forced to drop rates and drive occupancy to maintain profits. With many hotels still struggling with being under-resourced and the costs of selling a room increasing alongside the cost of living, many hotels will be looking to maintain or even increase rates. Some operators are potentially closing parts of their building or restaurants to save costs.  

Overall, it does look like the luxury sector may be in a stronger position to adapt to the current challenges. Their ability to pass increased costs onto customers who can still afford luxury is a comfort that won’t be reflected at every level of hospitality, which will be faced with a carefully balancing act of cutting costs and raising prices. 

Although 2022 has been a bumper year, we’re seeing a degree of caution for 2023. 

For support with your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details:   

 Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk   
Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email:  chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk  
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email:  andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk  
Tairona Lattanzi +44 20 8600 1164 I Email: taironalattanzi@fmrecruitment.co.uk


“We don’t use recruiters!”

As proud sponsors of HOSPA, we were delighted to attend HOSPACE 2022 and as ever, there were some intriguing discussions with industry experts which we enjoyed. One of the presentations got off to a thought-provoking start when a panel member announced “we don’t use recruiters!” 

At a time when finances need to be so carefully managed for businesses, we understand that the costs involved in recruitment should be fully justified. However, at a time when so many businesses are experiencing huge challenges in retention and recruitment, is this the kind of support you can do without? 

Naturally, as specialist recruiters, we are speaking from a biased perspective and so appreciate that we need to try and understand this challenge from a different angle.  

In that vein, we should ask why someone would feel like they don’t get value from recruiters? 

In terms of value, a good recruiter will solve the immediate challenge of placing a high performing employee in a key role. However, there are other benefits that can be easily forgotten.  

Depending on the size of the operation, recruitment often involves other employees taking the time-consuming jobs of sifting through CVs, contacting candidates and co-ordinating diaries.  

This takes employees away from their day-to-day roles and away from areas where they can offer direct value to your customers. While some businesses are lucky enough to rarely need to recruit, the lack of experience in the market can make this particularly challenging and time consuming when they do.  

In fact, this lack of experience can often lead to an even more frustrating result if a lead candidate unexpectedly decides to pull out of the application after using the process to negotiate a better package somewhere else, or decides to leave soon after starting in their new role. A recruiter can protect your business and your current employees in these positions. 

Of course, not all recruiters will suit your needs, and your needs may not suit the cheapest option. If you simply want to distribute a job vacancy far and wide then that will be an economical way to get hundreds of CVs and applications, but do you have the resources to sift through them all and find suitable candidates to interview, let alone to hire?  

A specialist recruiter can give you and your team the gift of time, and since fees are usually only paid once a candidate has started their role, there is no outlay until the position is filled. With the guarantee of replacing the role should the candidate not make it through the minimum period, it really is a risk-free solution to a particularly challenging problem. 

As it turns out, we were able to ask a few questions of the panellist about their comment and it was interesting to note that they did backtrack somewhat on their comment to support specialist recruiters like ourselves. This was quite a relief to hear, as we have helped recruit roles in the industry for over 20 years, and have actually successfully assisted this individual’s company several times! 

If you would like to have a chat about your recruitment strategy then please get in touch with our team.  

Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk    

Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk  
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk  
Tairona Lattanzi +44 20 8600 1164 I Email taironalattanzi@fmrecruitment.co.uk

Are businesses taking too long to appoint their ideal candidates?

With a backdrop of remote hiring, which has been a mainstay of the past year, plus added complexities and sometimes bureaucracies of the recruitment cycle, many companies are taking longer to confirm candidate appointments. Meanwhile, the ongoing fallout surrounding the pandemic and Brexit continues to impact the intricacies of the recruitment process, with fewer available candidates in the market.

What is the optimum time between meeting a candidate and hiring?

With the average time-to-appoint across most industries around four weeks and a growing number of job seekers expecting an offer within the first week of the first interview, most companies are falling short when it comes to meeting candidate expectations. (Yello)

In larger organisations, the recruitment cycle is further extended. Layers of candidate assessment, screening, reviews, scheduling of various interviews all too often add unnecessary time to the process and risk the best candidates withdrawing in favour of a company that got there quicker.

Shifting expectations and demographics of the candidate market 

With the changing landscape of recruitment, accelerated by the pandemic and restrictions in the movement of talent, another variable for companies to navigate is the changing demographics of the candidate market.

At one end of the spectrum, we will start to see more of Generation Z entering into the marketplace. Their high-tech upbringings shape the way they approach employment, with many not even considering an application if recruitment methods are long and outdated.

At the other end, the fastest-growing segment of the labour force in the coming decade isn’t millennials or the newest band of Gen Z workers. According to Glassdoor’s UK Job & Hiring Trends for 2020, it’s aging Baby Boomers.

This demographic of age 65+ workers are healthier, engaged and more in need of retirement income than previous generations. In the UK, the 65+ population is expected to grow by nearly 60 percent over the next 25 years, faster than any other demographic group. The dynamics of the changing talent pool can leave companies with added layers to navigate, all adding additional time to the recruitment process.

What is the impact of a prolonged recruitment process?

When it comes to acquiring top talent, companies need to have the resources in place to act quickly, hire fast and provide a positive candidate experience. For recruiters, a prolonged recruitment process takes time away from nurturing relationships with candidates on behalf of their client’s company.

Contacting every stakeholder involved in interviews and juggling schedules should be streamlined.  On average, ⅔ of the overall hiring process time is spent confirming the interview schedule. The back and forth to finding a time that works for everyone slows down the overall process and risks signifying to the candidate that a company simply isn’t organised and risks losing quality candidates before they’re even able to confirm an interview.

All of these challenges ultimately have a knock-on effect in the market and impact all stakeholders. A poor candidate experience for job seekers affects their confidence in the company’s brand and affects recruiters’ ability to fill future roles quickly and efficiently.

What can be done to optimise the recruitment process?

Review the multiple layers of candidate screening and benchmarking exercises that companies feel are required to identify the right talent and safeguard companies from the expense of hiring the wrong candidate.  Interview schedules should be agreed upon with your recruitment partner at the commencement of the process meaning key stakeholders then have the interview dates in their diaries for the recruiter to fill with appropriate candidates. This is where the benefit of having a dedicated recruitment specialist helps take charge of much of this activity and streamline the whole recruitment process.

FM Recruitment is perfectly positioned to support businesses to enhance their recruitment process, helping to reduce the time to appoint the right candidate. We have been established for over 35 years and have an exceptional network with proven experience to attract talent from tech-savvy Gen Z and millennial workers to experienced seniors.

At FM Recruitment, we are here to support both businesses and candidates to navigate the world of hospitality recruitment. We are specialists in financial recruitment at all levels in the UK and internationally.

For support with your next career move or to improve your recruitment strategy, please contact FM Recruitment now using any of the below details:

Office +44 20 8600 1160 I Email fm@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Chris Denison Smith +44 7775 711923 I Email chrisdenisonsmith@fmrecruitment.co.uk
Andrea Shaw +44 7714 236469 I Email andreashaw@fmrecruitment.co.uk

Chat Button