Hospitality hiring has become more competitive over the years. The World Travel and Tourism Council revealed that there is a growing challenge for the hospitality sector to find talent in its 2015 report (1). Sadly, this challenge has further increased due to the effects of the pandemic. There is good news, however. According to a 2020 report by McKinsey (Diversity wins: How inclusion matters):

“Companies whose leaders welcome diverse talent and include multiple perspectives are likely to emerge from the crisis stronger. In short: diversity wins, now more than ever."

Hotel chains like Hilton have set ambitious targets to increase diversity at leadership level for this very reason. Marriott [3] and Hyatt [4] have won various awards for their inclusive initiatives in 2020, setting the precedent for other hospitality companies. Implementing inclusive recruitment is not hard.  In fact, our 11 best practices can help you increase the quality and size of your candidate pool easily.

Before jumping in, let’s have a look at the definition of inclusion and inclusive recruitment, followed by HR’s role in pioneering the change.


What is Inclusion?

Although diversity and inclusion are often interchanged, they are not the same.  

Diversity means all the ways your employees differ from each other i.e., race, skin colour, religion, beliefs, preferences, (dis)abilities, and gender. Having a diverse workforce doesn’t mean employees automatically feel included or welcome at work.

Inclusion is the factor that keeps your employees engaged, happy and comfortable at work through conscious integration. It gives your employees the feeling of belonging and confidence because of opportunities and work culture. By making their opinion count and including them in decision-making, employees can perform at their best.


What is Inclusive Recruitment?

Inclusive recruitment means tailoring your recruitment efforts to make applicants feel like they belong from the moment they apply for a job.


The Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion in Recruitment Are:

  • Talent Attraction: Jobseekers assess your diversity and inclusion efforts through social media much before applying. 67% of jobseekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when seeking jobs, according to Glassdoor. They can sense how and if they will fit in by reading your job advertisement. How they are treated during a job interview is also a decisive factor. 
  • Diverse Customers: Having a diverse workforce can make guests from diverse backgrounds feel welcome and attract them to your hotel, restaurant, or resort [5].  

  • Better (Financial) Performance: According to research by McKinsey, companies that hire diverse candidates tend to have better financial performance than those who don’t have a diverse workforce [6]. 

  • Brand Image: If your hotel or resort claims to be inclusive, then matching your recruitment efforts to this promise is a good idea. After all, your hospitality talent represents and delivers your brand promise.

How Can HR Pioneer Change Regarding Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace?

Incorporating diversity and inclusion in your hospitality brand is the responsibility of the C-Suite. But the strategies for daily activities regarding diversity and inclusion should be led by HR and People Managers.  HR can make a strong business case to leadership, and foster true inclusion of their diverse workforce through targeted integration. Inclusive recruitment is the best way to start building a diverse workforce, followed by performance management, compensation, learning and development and talent management.


What Are the 11 Best Practices of Inclusive Recruitment?

1. Measure Demographics

Measuring workforce demographics with the focus on managerial roles and key positions can help you get a current picture of diversity within your company. Look at how diverse groups are represented within the organisation’s 20% best-paid jobs or leadership level, for example. Measuring allows improvement.

2. Be Careful with Wording

Did you know that using words like “Guru”, “Jedi” or “Ninja” in your vacancies can harm your attempts at inclusive recruitment? According to Glassdoor, these words can discourage women from applying, just like “proven”, “expert” and “superior” do. Be careful of using pronouns in your job descriptions, as they can do the opposite of fostering inclusion. Tools like Textio are great for reducing gender bias in your job advertisements.

3. Set Interview Goals 

The hospitality industry is typically a very diverse place to work, because of globalisation. To make sure all applicants are given a fair chance, you can make it a requirement to interview at least one person from an underrepresented background for each vacancy, for example. 

4. Use Structured Interviews

To limit unconscious bias, ask all candidates the same questions in a structured manner. Behavioural questions work really well.

5. Develop a Referral Program

Ask your current employees to refer candidates from minority and underrepresented groups with a targeted referral program.

6. Hire Via Various Universities

Expanding your on-campus recruiting efforts to different schools can help boost your diverse candidate pool, such as public, private, vocational, and hospitality schools. Including schools from different regions or countries will help attract candidates with more or less economic resources and varying degree levels. 

7. Focus on Key Requirements

Sometimes job advertisements reflect excessive “nice to have'' requirements, which many candidates are not able to meet. These can also make your company look pretty demanding. In fact, research by Hewlett Packard [7], indicates that men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications, but women only apply if they meet 100% of them. Focusing on key requirements will help your jobs become more accessible. 

8. Make Use of Employee Testimonials

Asking your current employees to share their inclusive experience on social media can give a feeling of belonging to applicants. The more familiar the faces and stories, the better.

9. Tweak Your Job Advertisement

When writing your job advertisement, make sure it encourages both binary and non-binary candidates to apply by including the right pronouns, photos, and language. Did you know that publishing a job advertisement is one of the many things you can do on Hosco’s unique platform?

10. Be Mindful of Interview Dates and Times

Some interview dates and times may fall during a period of fasting, prayer or other religious observances. Planning around them ensures an inclusive experience for the jobseeker and illustrates that you care.

11. Share Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Goals and Achievements

Keep your hospitality company accountable by sharing a public dashboard of your D&I practices on your website, social media, recruitment platforms and even job ads when applicable. This can foster trust and encourage a diverse candidate pool to apply.


→ 🤔 Want to make sure that your company treats job applicants and current employees fairly?  Discover our 5 steps to becoming an equal opportunity employer.



[1] Global talent trends and issues for the travel and tourism sector (Oxford Economics, 2015)

[2] Diversity wins: How inclusion matters (McKinsey & Company, 2020)

[3] Diversity & Inclusion (Marriott Corporate)

[4] Hyatt Company Awards (Hyatt Newsroom)

[5] The Importance of Diversity at all Levels of the Hospitality Industry (Glenn Skolnick, March 2021)

[6] Why diversity matters (Vivian Hunt, Dennis Layton, and Sara Prince, January 2015)

[7] Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified (Tara Sophia Mohr, August 2014)