Personality over experience gets the job

The new era of talent acquisition in an ever-evolving and fast-paced business environment.

Previously centred on qualifications, competencies and experience, the typical recruitment process has seen a gradual shift in focus towards personality and potential for growth. This has led to more and more companies moving away from traditional interviews, opting rather for more interactive, personality revealing hiring sessions.

Dale Simpson, Curator of Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, says that a major contributing factor to this shift is the growing importance being placed on company culture. “Healthy company culture enables a team to work like a well-oiled machine and hiring candidates who are the right ‘culture-fit’ positively impacts their commitment and dependability.”

According to Simpson, this trend is particularly prevalent in the hospitality industry. “In our sector, personality is key, and while most skills can be taught, personality – for the most part – cannot. As such, when it comes to hiring, we look first and foremost for people who have the right personality and energy for a particular role, even if this means an employee will require significant upskilling for the position. We are looking for those guys and girls who have a naturally expressive and fun-loving nature.”

In addition to boosting company culture, Simpson says that this hiring process results in higher staff retention. “When you hire based solely on past experience and qualifications, you run the risk of employing someone who isn’t a great fit to the company’s culture – and that’s not what we’re looking for. Not only is this detrimental to the greater morale of the team, but will also likely result in the candidate being unhappy and leaving, leading to a high staff turnover.”

In order to ensure the right candidates are found, Radisson RED has developed a revolutionary concept for hotel staff recruitment, which aims to break traditional hotel norms. “Based on new recruitment channels, new selection processes and new criteria, the RED Casting is an interview that candidates can’t prepare for,” says Simpson. “Through a series of four interactive workshops, candidates are put in a position where their true behaviour will shine through, which allows us to really get a feel of who they are and what role they’d be best-suited to. Live music and interactive performances will bring a fun vibe to the day, allowing the panel of casters to really evaluate the natural passion of candidates.”

Simpson says that Radisson RED Cape Town are currently recruiting three different types of staff, namely Creatives (waiters, barman, baristas, and front desk); Kitchen Creatives (chefs, chefs and chefs); and Red Gen Creatives (reservations). “A person will be trained for the overall position, depending on the type of role they are filling. This means that a Kitchen Creative will be capable of carrying out every job in the kitchen, from cooking, to cleaning and serving.

By training everyone for everything, and rotating staff on a regular basis, Simpson says that staff are able to develop a broad range of skills. “This creates a well-rounded team and ensures that the ball does not drop. If the chef is off sick, for example, someone else will be fully willing and able to step in and the show will go on without a hitch.”

Simpson concludes that Radisson RED is very excited to be at the forefront of this new era of talent acquisition. “Being guest-centric means above all being people-centric, and for RED, moving away from the standard etiquette and approach to recruitment inspires this.”