4 Skills To Look for In Hospitality Staff And How To Hire It

Editorial Team | How-To

Hospitality can be a financially rewarding industry, but it can also be ruthless if businesses fail to hire the skilled staff required to build a long-lasting operation.

The last few years have proved challenging for the food and hospitality industry. Achieving growth and success in an already tough arena has been made exponentially harder due to the growing demand for skilled workers. Poor access and a lack of retention of hospitality experience have created a huge staff deficit helping to perpetuate an ongoing wage war as businesses seek to secure the few skills that are available.

Combine this with a decline in hospitality-related graduates and a lack of general skills in areas like communication, teamwork and problem-solving means small businesses are being forced to employ highly casual and seasonal workforces. The Tourism, Travel and Hospitality IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast recognises this stating that there is a significant lack of skills in specific areas of the business making it increasingly hard for businesses to operate and grow.

But as borders start to open and optimism rises, business owners are looking to attract some new blood and inject some much-needed energy into operations. Yet as hiring managers look to pull the best from a stack of CVs, it is important to understand the skills required for doing better business in 2022. The IRC report suggests four focus areas for future consideration, skills that give businesses a focus in the interview room. Bolster your team and set yourself up for success by ensuring any new staffer has these soft skills in their arsenal.

Teamwork and Communication

Why It’s Important

This skill is important because it runs through so many different aspects of the food and hospitality business. Not only does teamwork help to clarify roles and responsibilities, specify business goals the route to achieving home but teamwork also enables managers to reward excellent teamwork and mark progress. Teamwork also means that manager needn’t micromanage their staff as effective communication is only ever achieved through working together which in turn encourages staff to offer feedback for future growth and improvement.

How To Hire It:

Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility

Why It’s Important

Let’s address the elephant in the room. The restaurant business is tough at the best of times. Chuck in a global pandemic and shifting strategies and it made infinitely harder. Hiring for resilience and mental toughness is key to business right now and it will be continuously important going forward. Recognising the value of learning from mistakes helps to foster resilience in employees. Training, pivoting, encouraging, and clear communication means staff can work through tough situations and environments and come out stronger – making them an increasingly valuable asset to any business.

How To Hire It?

MYOB recommends finding a clear measure of communication skills if a choice needs to be made between two candidates with similar levels of skill and experience. They recommend judging CVs against completeness, accuracy, relevance, and language. They also advocate for scenario-based testing and role-playing as part of the hiring process.


Why It’s Important

Problem-solving isn’t taught at school or at university and so it can be an increasingly difficult skill to hire. In hospitality, problems arise often. Be they focused on the back of house or front of house, chefs, servers, managers, and customers service workers often need to think on their feet to keep service moving forward and the customer happy. Although you can train staff to act in a certain way when situations arise, understanding that quick and cool heads are an asset will put you in good stead when it comes to hiring day.

How To Hire It?

Entrepreneur Magazine advises hiring managers to take a different view on the traditional interviewing questions by broaching out-of-the-box topics which can reveal a candidate’s unique problem-solving capacities and communication skills. For example:


  • What can a manager expect from you?
  • What type of management do you prefer?
  • What do you expect from your employers?

Also, throw in a curveball question:


  • Why are manhole covers round?

Critical thinkers and problem solvers think outside of the box. Testing their ability to do so could prove beneficial in the long run.


Why It’s Important?

Self-managing employees work efficiently with little oversight, help drive business objectives and innovate processes. They ask questions, seek tactical advice, and appreciate criticism. More importantly, they identify issues and propose solutions.

How To Hire It?

Hiring self-starters isn’t easy. The key is asking the right questions to determine their personality type and their key strengths.

According to Business News Daily, these are a few examples of effective questions to ask in an interview.


  • Tell me about a situation at work where you needed help but couldn’t find anyone to help you. How did you handle it?
  • Tell me about the last time you learned something new for the sake of learning, and how you have benefitted as a result.
  • How would you describe your ability to delegate responsibilities?
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