Recruitment in a seller’s market

If, as a customer, you’ve been experiencing some worse than expected service standards lately, the likely cause is ‘warm body’ recruitment, which is a response to the extreme shortage of skilled staff in hospitality.

Good candidates have plenty of choices because there are more jobs on offer than there are available staff. It’s a seller’s market for hospitality skills and it will be that way for a while yet. If you’re finding it hard to attract good people and you want something to change, a good start is to accept that there are good people out there, but for some reason they are not choosing to apply to work for you.

Keep in mind that during times of record low unemployment, your ideal candidate is not unemployed. Job seekers are motivated by self-interest. They will only apply for jobs that offer them the most personal benefits, such as good money, work-life balance, training and career development to name a few.

If your advertising doesn’t appeal to the needs of candidates, you’ll struggle to attract a superstar who is carefully looking for their next opportunity. Your task when recruiting is to convince someone who’s currently employed to apply for the role you want to fill because it’s a better deal than what they are currently getting.

If your job ads read something like:

“Gun waiter wanted. Must be fast with excellent wine knowledge . . .”


“Grill Chef wanted. Must be awesome”

– you’re not trying hard enough.

The candidates you want are looking for personal benefits beyond just a job. If all you can offer is minimum pay, no training, no career path, and unsociable hours in a stressful work environment, why would anyone want to sign up for that? You might need to re-evaluate your employment benefits before you attract good people. If you can’t afford to do that, you may need to re-evaluate your business model.

The takeaway

Look at the situation from the perspective of good candidates. There are good staff out there, it’s just that they are choosing to work somewhere else – there is a reason for that. The trick in recruitment right now is to get the good staff who are available to apply to work for you, rather than the other four or five hundred businesses that are looking for the same type of person.

To learn the formula for convincing advertising copy that will attract more top talent, consider this e-learning module before you go live with your next recruitment ad.

How To Attract More Top Talent (


Chris Lambert