Four Seasons Hotels – Sweat and luxury – Lovemark

I love hotels. The Toronto based Four Seasons Hotels is one of my favourite chain and my Lovemark. Here is an excerpt from a story “Sweat and luxury” in Report On Business that shed some light on what makes Four Seasons so special (emphasis mine),

But with 400 positions to fill, Kraenzlin’s team doesn’t have the luxury of trying out people on the job. Getting an accurate read on attitude in interviews is critical.

In this, the undisputed champion is Grace Moore, the Dublin-born former room-service waitress. Her title is “learning manager,” but when she’s searching for staff, it ought to be inquisitor-in-chief. At the hotel school in Hyderabad, she is putting her no-bullshit style to work.

Moore, Rao and Kraenzlin have taken separate corners of an empty classroom to conduct interviews. Each has a two-page form with a series of boxes: “Highly recommend,” the less-enthusiastic “recommend for hire,” and “TBNT”—thanks but no thanks.

A timid young man named Dheeraj is ushered to Moore’s desk. He says he wants to be a cook. Great, says Moore. You say you love cooking? “Tell me about a special meal you cooked for your family.” He’s stumped. TBNT.

Another student, named Vikas, comes in. He did a training program at a Sheraton hotel. Very well, says Moore. Tell me about a time when you were under pressure and how you dealt with it. Well, there was this Japanese guest who was flustered because he’d lost his cellphone—”a ridiculous reason” to get upset. Wrong answer. The guest’s feelings are never ridiculous. TBNT.

A slight woman named Roslin is up, applying for a housekeeper position. She, too, had a brief taste of the job at another hotel. “Tell me something special you did for one of your guests,” Moore demands. Roslin can’t find a good answer. TBNT.

Nothing bothers Moore more in these interviews than hearing platitudes. At one point, after hearing the umpteenth student describe himself as a hard worker, an exasperated Moore shoots back, “Everyone tells me they’re a hard worker. Tell me something different!” All she wants to know is what candidates have done, and her questions are designed to force them into giving examples of how they react under pressure (there’s a name for this technique: behaviour-based interviewing).

Finally, at 5:30 p.m., the interviewers leave the hotel school and head to a local restaurant to decompress. On balance, they’re not impressed with the students, but there are more than 20 who showed enough potential to at least warrant another interview by telephone the following week. (No one—not even a dishwasher—gets a job without at least four interviews, and for more senior jobs it’s not unheard of for candidates to face seven cross-examinations.)

2 Responses to Four Seasons Hotels – Sweat and luxury – Lovemark

  1. […] “closed”) got me to appreciate deeper why every single employee count. May be Coke can learn something about hiring from Four Seasons Hotels. OK, may be they don’t need to interview their employees seven times but it will help to put […]

  2. […] “I think in fairness, the rudeness is on both sides. You had a reservation for 8 and only 6 people showed up. You are all drinking waters and taking up a table for 8. That costs the business a lot of money.” [K: What the heck? This is where the manager seemed to behave in a less than professional manner. Is this the way for a manager of a so called high-end restaurant to talk to customers? To me, at that moment in time, the manager should have tried to find out what went wrong and apologize. Starting to insult the customers is not a good idea! Was it right for the manager to lecture the customers about “drinking water” and costing “the business a lot of money”? I hate to mention this, but I doubt this kind of attitude is acceptable to even the most junior position at the likes of Four Seasons Hotels.] […]

%d bloggers like this: