Seize The Season

The month of December often seems like a dead month for recruiting. Much of its 31 days are taken up by holidays and hiring activity is limited heading into the new year. However, identifying and sourcing good candidates is almost always a good investment, if not for a current opening, then for a future one. Depending on the job level, recruiting can be a several week to several month process. Anyone who waits until January 1st to begin will be at a disadvantage.

The holidays are a break when candidates have the free time to pick up their heads and see what is out there.

Candidates’ work schedules slow down and there is very little corporate travel or major meetings during the weeks leading up to the holidays. This means they have more time at work plus have the added bonus of time off. Even if they are happy in their jobs, the year-end is a natural time to assess where they are in their careers and explore options. While some of them will submit applications if they see an enticing job, may more will just gather research about who is hiring and which companies have interesting opportunities.

Candidates take action when they see an opportunity that looks like a good career move. They don’t take action just because a company looks attractive, they do it because are interested in the job. If the job is a good next step for them, then they want to learn more about the company. But they need to understand why the job is a good fit and how it will advance their career.

Every employer should be at full tilt during the holidays and make sure their jobs are posted before Christmas. To maximize their exposure to candidates, especially the highly valued passive candidate, it is essential to utilize the holidays. Passive candidates are generally succeeding in their jobs and don’t usually spend time looking at job postings. It can be challenging to get their attention, but the holidays are an opening when they are the most reachable. You need to have compelling content and useful information, and if you do, you will get more interest. Sending successful candidates a text-only job description, or posting a text-only job description is generally insufficient.

Employers need to reassess how they are sourcing and reaching out to candidates and the holidays are a perfect time to experiment with that. Start with posting mobile friendly job descriptions as the majority of candidates are getting their information on a mobile device. Tweet your jobs, post them on Facebook; utilize social media to get your jobs maximum exposure. Try video based recruiting to attract top passive candidates who won’t be swayed by typical text-based job descriptions.

December is far from a dead month for recruiting. With passive candidates seeing what the job world has to offer them, there is plenty of opportunity for recruiters to experiment with new recruiting trends and build a strong candidate pool and tested tools heading into 2016.

Sparc Helps Morgans Hotel Group Recruit for Its City-Within-a-City Hotel Properties

“Morgans believes in delivering guest experiences that are genuine and transformative, and we need to ensure that we hire people who derive true pleasure in delivering on that promise each and every day. Featuring our employees in our recruiting efforts is a natural fit and a highly effective way of attracting the best candidates.                    

                                                                        Lisa Moran

Morgans Hotel Group


Morgans Delivers Memorable, Luxurious Experience for Guests and Employees…

If Morgans Hotel Group is known for just one thing, it is its innovative approach to the hotel experience. Widely credited with creating the first “boutique” hotel, the company continues to lead the hotel industry’s boutique sector through its stylish and luxurious properties located in both urban locations such as London and New York, and exotic settings such as Istanbul.

From the lobby to the dining room and from the rooftop to the pool deck, Morgans prides itself on delivering a one-of-a-kind, transformative experience for its guests. This philosophy extends to the experience of each of its employees, many of whom have been with the company for years. Whether it is the chef who has the opportunity to source and make his own ingredients or the housekeeper who receives additional training to reach the management level, Morgans offers its employees unique opportunities and experiences that they cannot find anywhere else.

…But Recruiting Efforts Were Stuck in the Past

Never satisfied with the status quo, Morgans began to look for a way to push the boundaries of their existing recruiting efforts. The company wanted to more clearly convey to candidates the passion that their employees feel for their jobs, as well as communicate the company’s values and culture more authentically.

Their traditional recruiting methods were slow and expensive. Finding the employees who not only had exceptional qualifications but also had the passion for excellence was a challenge. And the need to fill positions quickly was constant; a top restaurant cannot operate without a chef. The staid and boring online job boards just did not cut it for a company that wanted to be on the leading edge of hospitality recruiting.

One of the challenges faced by the recruiting function was the sheer breadth of roles that must be filled. Not only do they staff all corporate functions, each hotel employs security, IT, construction, chefs, event planners, sound engineers, housekeeping, training and every function needed to run a small city. Focusing on one function would be a luxury that Morgan’s recruiters do not have. Adding to the challenge is location. Location is not flexible and properties such as the new hotel in Doha will be staffed entirely with employees from other countries. Job marketing needed to make an impact.

Morgans brought in Lisa Moran, President of Employment Practices Group, a leading Human Resources consultant, to work with their team to bring innovation and excellence to recruiting. “Morgans wanted candidates to feel an immediate emotional connection with the existing employees and hotels. Posting detailed job descriptions on traditional job boards has no spark to them whatsoever.”

Tweaking the existing process was not an option. Morgans wanted to dramatically improve the way they were attracting and hiring employees. They needed a new approach that did not require additional staff or additional funding, but connected with potential employees more powerfully.

Sparc Brings Morgans’ Recruiting Out of the Doldrums

Morgans turned to Sparc which gave them a streamlined and easy to use tool to create engaging job profiles. Using short, sound bite-style videos, the mobile optimized recruiting platform provides candidates with a preview of their work environment and potential manager and co-workers. Additional details – about the company, position, career path, location and other distinctive aspects of the job opportunity – also are included with the job profile to encourage the candidate to apply.

“The short, unscripted videos convey a credibility that is not possible in print. As candidates watch the videos, they understand that the corporate communications team did not write a speech for the hiring manager to deliver – the manager truly wants to share, in his or her own words, what makes this job interesting and attractive,” Maury Hanigan, founder and chief executive officer of Sparc, says. “A simple video of real people talking about real jobs gives you an authenticity that is compelling.”

With 14 properties throughout the world and more under development, Morgans also needed job profiles that were easy to set up and leverage the organizations’ existing applicant tracking system, Taleo, so that recruiters only needed to set up job profiles once. This level of time-saving integration was critical for Morgans. The Sparc platform also manages quality control over their video content by ensuring that nothing is posted without the appropriate levels of review and approval. In this way, the hotel group’s high standards are upheld to ensure that a consistent candidate experience is delivered.

With the engaging content easily assembled on the Sparc platform, Morgans began marketing their jobs instead of just posting them.

 New Approach Creates Buzz, Engages Targeted Talent

The results were impressive. Jobs profiles took on a viral life of their own because the job profile was interesting and the Sparc platform has social media sharing built in making it simple for candidates to retweet, post to Facebook or share on LinkedIn or Google+.  Their job profiles were seen by candidates who never looked at a job board or Morgans’ corporate careers site.

“We are always interested in new tools that will help us reach our recruiting goals faster or be more consistent in delivering on our brand promise, both with guests and potential employees,” summarizes Alexis Toomer, Morgans’ HR Manager for Operations and Talent “But prior to partnering Sparc, we had not found a platform that gave us a creative approach that not only was worth our time but that also was streamlined and simple to use. With Sparc, we now have a quick and easy way to bring our employment brand to life. In our videos, you can see the diversity of our staff and the vibrant hotel atmosphere that you will be working in – it’s truly an authentic glimpse of life at Morgans Hotel Group.”