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Job seeking is hard work

09 March 2012
Job seeking is hard work

The hospitality industry needs to have more of an open mind when it comes to recruitment, says job seeker Nick Gilmartin

There have been numerous reports that the hospitality industry has been having trouble filling vacancies. This strikes me as strange in the extreme considering that 2.7 million people are now out of work and desperate for what they can get.

I have been an active job seeker since May 2010. I arrived in the West Midlands with few contacts but an impressive CV and years of experience. I began applying to all the major hotels through their websites. And, for the most part, heard nothing.

I moved swiftly to plan B. I printed off my CV a dozen times and dropped them into various hotels, bars and restaurants. And still heard nothing, except the occasional "no" or "we will keep you on file". Yeah, right.

I applied to the hospitality recruitment agencies, who promised the world, and delivered nothing.

It is clear that the jobs are out there if you are willing to search relentlessly. It is also clear that there are highly competent, qualified people who can fill the positions. But somewhere along the line there is a disconnection.

Part of the problem is the sheer unending volume of people searching for work. One job attracts literally hundreds of applicants.

Recently I queued for two hours outside a well known hotel in the Midlands with nearly two hundred others for just 10 jobs, not all full time. My fellow candidates appeared to be of all ages and walks of life.

Discrimination of disability is a continual bugbear. They hear that I talk with a stammer when nervous (who isn't in an interview?), their tone of voice down-gears an octave. With dozens of candidates they need the smallest excuse to narrow the selection.

It is a cause of slight unease that human resource departments are dominated by a single demographic: middle age ladies with children. Naturally the job appeals to them as it can be worked around family commitments. But is it leading to a certain train of thought? Do we need a balance in the recruitment sector?

With such endless streams of people now seeking work and the hospitality sector desperate to recruit, surely it is time the industry had a more open mind so that able candidates were not overlooked because of the need to speedily sort numerous applications.

Nick Gilmartin is a hospitality professional and writer based in the West Midlands www.birminghamfoodanddrink.com

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