Career Advice Recruitment tips

Hotel eyes staff who make good FITS

A position as a corporate management trainee with the Hyatt group can open the door for a fresh graduate to a career with a growing hotel chain that has nine brands around the world.

“It is a very attractive programme. A lot of fresh graduates are very ambitious and this programme helps them fast-track to a junior management level,” says Matthew Chiu, assistant manager at Café, at the Hyatt Regency, Sha Tin.

Chiu recently finished his trainee programme and is now working in his first post as assistant manager of 22 staff in the hotel’s elegant ground-floor Café. The relatively new Hong Kong hotel started offering graduate training in 2010, during its second year of operation.

“This programme has been initiated by Hyatt. [Group] hotels with fewer than 300 rooms take one trainee. Those with more than 300 rooms must take at least two trainees a year,” says Kyle Lo, personnel manager at the Sha Tin hotel.

With one position at the food and beverage division already filled this year, Lo is still seeking the right corporate management trainee for the rooms division.

Getting in is not easy, however. Initial interviews include meeting the director of human resources (HR) and the general manager, as well as the divisional head of specialisation.

Candidates who qualify for the second round will have to meet the area director of HR and the director of recruitment for Asia Pacific. Finally, they must pass a psychometric test.

Applicants should have at least a BA or equivalent, preferably in hospitality. Work experience is not necessary but they should have done an internship stint with a hotel.

Lo says that in other parts of Asia, candidates are expected to speak two languages, but in Hong Kong, they must know Cantonese, English and Putonghua.

“They should have the potential to become a leader, so they need to have good communication skills. They need to demonstrate this ability by speaking with confidence and demonstrating leadership experience,” says Lo.

Candidates must satisfy Hyatt’s philosophy as good “FITS”: flexible and good at team work, having initiative and showing sincerity. Five requirements must be met in interpersonal relations: mutual respect, honesty and integrity, humility, creativity, and the ability to have fun at work.

“We also expect mobility from the candidate. They may be transferred to other properties; the mainland has a lot of hotel openings,” Lo says

The training, built on a template used by all Hyatt hotels, includes corporate leadership trainee webinars – seminars held on the Web – with trainees taking part across the region.

At the same time, it is also highly customised, with details decided on through discussions with the trainee, taking into account the hotel’s business needs.

The 12-month programme starts with a three-month familiarisation, to give an overview of HR, sales and marketing, and finance.

“They will also attend most of the regular courses, according to the hotel’s training calendar,” Lo adds.

Trainees usually find time management the most difficult, and Chiu agrees. “You have to spend time familiarising yourself with each department and on the floor. And at the same time, you have to do different projects. It is hard to squeeze in everything and finish with every task at a high quality,” he says.

Chiu himself was tasked with making a report on the upkeep of the internal back-of-the-house standards that are a guideline to ensure the quality of the hotel’s work environment, and a public-speaking exercise as master of ceremonies at the annual staff party, where he had to speak in English and Chinese.

Chiu’s favourite project was his Mexican food promotion in the employee restaurant. He personally designed every part of it, from the menu to the promotion material – including a Facebook page, and even the decoration of the venue. The food promotion left fond memories, not only for Chiu but also for staff members.