Q&A with Group Recruitment Manager, Kirsteen Raitt

Written by
HJUK Marketing 2022
Firmdale Hotels

07 Oct 2022

07 Oct 2022 • by HJUK Marketing 2022

Kirsteen Raitt shares an insight into the recruitment at Firmdale Hotels, her biggest frustration and her top tips for the best work tech to aid you in your day-to-day role.

How many employees do you look after?

1,300 employees

What additional benefits do you offer your staff?

Wagestreamteam members can track their earnings and can access 30% of their earnings into their bank account whenever they need them e.g., to pay an unexpected bill.

Perkbox - Access to our exclusive platform where you’re able to browse hundreds of different free perks, discounts, vouchers and discounts from the likes of Tesco and Asda.

Firmdale discounts - Uniforms laundered for free, also discounted rate for personal items. Staff sales on cushions, TVs, candles, curtains, radios plus 50% Rik Rak products and free meals on shift.

Support with Travel Costs - season ticket loans and Cycle to work scheme.

Well Being - Employee Assistant, Mental Health First Aid, Trainers and Perkbox Wellness.

Team eventsStaff appreciation weeks, Friday afternoon tea, Social Events e.g., Summer Party.

Long Service Awards which include dinner in one of our hotels and an overnight stay.

What’s the biggest frustration in your role?

Candidates not showing up for the interview or their first day. I completely understand that candidates may change their mind for various reasons, and I respect their decision, but a lot of our time is wasted when we are scheduling time out of our day to meet with the candidates or prepare their induction and we don’t hear from them. This then delays us further in filling this vacancy and potentially we could end up losing other candidates due to the delay. A text or an e-mail to let us know they have changed their mind will suffice and I will always follow that up with a polite e-mail thanking them and asking if there’s anything else we can do to change their mind and wish them all the best.

Would you recommend any technology that helps you in your day-to-day role?

A good ATS is always helpful, one that is simple to use for the hiring managers and provides an excellent candidate journey. However, I also believe that in recruitment you still need that personal touch to engage with the candidate and for them to get a feel for the company and you for them.

What’s your worst vs best experience working in hospitality?

I have many best experiences to choose from but one that always stands out for me was when I was a Human Resource Manager for a casino, and we were opening a new casino in Southend. We had over 100 skilled and unskilled positions to fill and it was quite a challenge. We worked with an external agency who helped people who had never worked before or had been out of work for some time. A lot of the candidates had tough backgrounds personally and no-one had given them a chance before. They were an amazing group, and it was great getting to know them and to see how they were progressing with the programme the external agency was putting them through.

We hired quite a few from the group and always one stood out for me, a very young lady who had never worked before and her personal situation was quite desperate. Last time I saw her she had progressed within the casino; she had her own accommodation and had just learnt to drive and had her own car. She still remembered me, gave me a hug, and thanked me for the opportunity that I had given her.  For me and I did say this to her, I only offered her a position, she did the rest herself.

Genuinely can’t think of any worst experiences in hospitality, I love the industry the good and the bad! Any bad experience I have had, I feel I turned it into a positive and learnt from it.

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