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Selection and Recruitment in Ramada Jarvis group of hotels UK

Introduction

One of the main foundation nucleus in entrepreneurship is human resource management. It has been observed to involve various functions and activities upon which the survival and ultimate growth of the business enterprise rest. These activities and functions of human resource management department require impeccable competence and professionalism to ensure the smooth and efficient running of the operations of the department. Bowen (1986) observes that “in deciding what staffing needs you have and whether to use independent contractors or hire employees to fill these needs, recruiting and training the best employees, ensuring they are high performers, dealing with performance issues, and ensuring your personnel and management practices conform to various regulations.”

Over the decades, the Human Resource Management (HRM henceforth) profession, functions and activities have undergone tremendous changes. In the distant past, a number of large organizations sought the help of personnel to manage the complexity of paper work in hiring and remunerating employees. Recently, however, business enterprises and organizations create individual human resource departments to facilitate the staffing, training and management of people to enhance productivity and efficiency in the organization. It is posited in the Bureau of Tourism Research, (1989), thatŠ–

A number of recent developments-including demographic changes in the labor force, rapid technological change, increased global competition, tight labor markets in many sectors, experiments with new organizational arrangements, and public policy attention to work force issues-are making human resource management (HRM) increasingly important for senior managers in organizations and for entrepreneurs.

In another observation, Stone (2002:174) points out that the recruitment and selection is important to businesses and organizations in implementing change and counteracting changes in the environmental context of business. Occupation and individual interests for jobs also change as organizations respond to economic and technological pressures (Lafferty and McMillan, 1989). For instance, it has been observed that corporations no longer have a centralized role in decision making, non-standard forms of employment has risen substantially and outsourcing is increasing for most activities (Drucker, 2001). Furthermore, roles and tasks are changing rapidly, mostly in higher positioned jobs and HR managers will have difficulty in assessing job designs (Collins, 1987).

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Moreover, there has been an urgent demand for a comprehensive management strategy that evaluates the effect of social, economic and political impacts on the organizations’ survival and growth. The core function of human resource management in recruitment, as understood herein, is to keep the organization sufficiently and effectively staffed at all times (Collins, 1987).

With the process of staff recruitment and selection continuously posing critical challenges to managers, there is an urgent call and demand for a new and swift paradigm shift which embraces newer technologies and modern management strategies. The intricacy of matching the right candidate to the right job demands a critical human resource approach that is efficient but also effective to both an organization and the candidates as well. In this daunting task of human resource management, the Ramada Jarvis group of hotels in the UK is not left out. This paper, therefore, takes a comprehensive critical analysis of HR approach in employee selecting at three levels of management; the departmental manager, the departmental supervisor, and the operational staffs with a special reference to Ramada Jarvis group of hotels in the UK.

Ramada Jarvis group of hotels UK

Ramada and Jarvis Group of Hotels is a renowned and luxurious consolidated group of hotels operating in the UK. As a chain, Ramada Jarvis hotels are household names throughout the city of London and beyond. In the recent past, the hotel chain has grown rapidly and opened a number of branches in the UK. This growth and development has come with different challenges in the operation of the company. One of the central challenges is the maintenance of an effective and efficient human resource department. In the selection and recruitment of employees, the company has put in place several strategies among which are discussed below.

Manpower planning

Planning staff levels needs a critical analysis of the past, present and future requirements of the company. Collins, (1987)highlights that “Planning staff levels requires that an assessment of present and future needs of the organization be compared with present resources and future predicted resources and towards this appropriate steps then be planned to bring demand and supply into balance.” According to Hollings (1998), The first step in employee selection and recruitment is to take a ‘satellite picture’ of the existing workforce profile (numbers, skills, ages, flexibility, gender, experience, forecast capabilities, character, potential, etc. of existing employees) and then to adjust this for 1, 3 and 10 years ahead by amendments for normal turnover, planned staff movements, retirements, etc, in line with the business plan for the corresponding time frames.

The hotel chain carries a strategic planning for selection and recruitment. In its endeavor to maintain its work force, the human resource department ensures that it designs a logical staffing demand schedule for varying dates and period which is then compared with the crude supply schedule. In this case, the staffing demand schedule and the crude supply analysis and comparison will reveal the balance. It is on this basis that relevant steps are taken. According to Hollings, (1998)

Man power planning and analysis involve further planning of such recruitment, training, retraining, labor reductions (early retirement/redundancy) or changes in workforce utilization as will bring supply and demand into equilibrium, not just as a one-off but as a continuing workforce planning exercise the inputs to which will need constant varying to reflect ‘actual’ as against predicted experience on the supply side and changes in production actually achieved as against forecast on the demand side.

Ramada Jarvis group of hotels (UK), in this case, is adequately prepared for efficient selection and recruitment. The rapid growth in hotel industry in the UK and the establishment of a plethora of tourism training institutions and colleges and universities, coupled with portable national competency standards for a variety of hotel occupations, top management in Ramada Jarvis group of hotels will, undoubtedly, be highly skilled. The company applies testing, information gathering and interviews selection methods for the top management positions. These techniques are discussed below.

Testing

The effective exploitation of the increased numbers and varied experiences of the UK labor market demands the application of more innovative recruitment strategies. Testing serves as one of the most appropriate methods in top management recruitment in the ranks of Ramada Jarvis hotels. Testing is not only done to ascertain one’s education backgrounds but also to measure the level of managerial skills a new candidate is offering to the company. In this line, the company has been able to attract and incorporate in its management team the top managers in the hotel industry. Lafferty and McMillan (1989) observe that “…The point here, however, is that recruitment and selection practices should reflect actual expected occupational standards and overall management philosophies. Innovative sources and recruitment practices will ensure value-added recruits who are already oriented to the demands and opportunities of a career within the hotel industry.”

Tests are organized to measure knowledge, skill, and ability, as well as other individual characteristics, such as personality traits. It is a scientific method of selection and therefore it is done professionally to eliminate cases of favoritism.

Testing procedures

The company normally outsources the services of recruitment agencies in carrying out the testing process on its behalf. In this case, the positions are advertised on newspapers and the company website and the qualified candidates are encouraged to apply for the posts. The advertisement on the top position of management in the company is normally put in such a way that it attracts a large pool of talents in the field. Gabriel (1988) emphasizes the fact that one growing method of attracting external applicants has been the use of the internet. Due to the advances in technology and changing demographics of the workforce, more people are accessing the Internet as a form of job search. According to Collins (1987), management must additionally consider methods used to attract applicants and promote the organization to gain a competitive edge over other rival organizations and companies. In relation to external recruitment, advertisements are seen as the most effective tool for personnel recruitment.

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Testing in selection and recruitment involve the following tests on a candidate:

  • Integrity Testing – This is designed to assess and analyze the likelihood that applicants will be dishonest or engage in illegal activities in the company. Top management are the epitome of the success of a company. Therefore, Ramada Jarvis group of hotels put alot of emphasis on selecting the right people on such important departments. Departmental managers, departmental supervisors and operational staffs are the top decision makers regarding the running of the company affairs. In this regard, the person who takes up such responsibility must be competent and possess the right skills. Managers and supervisors are normally the role models for other junior employees (Heskett, Sasser, Hart & Christopher, 1990). That is the reason the company insists on integrity of a person seeking a top management position.
  • Drug Testing – This is a requirement that normally calls for applicants to provide a urine sample that is tested for illegal substances and to check on their health status.
  • Work Sample Testing -This test is done to measures performance on some element of the job such as computer knowledge. For instance, typing speed among others. Work sample testing is a practical way of testing a candidate on the real work he or she is likely to encounter should he or she pass the test.

Advantages of testing as a selection method

Testing gives an opportunity to analyze the candidate’s ability in different fields and gives the HR practitioners the opportunity to make correct judgment on the right candidate to select for a top management position such as departmental manager and operation supervisor (Heskett, 1987).

Limitation of tests in selection and recruitment

Tests give candidates alot of anxiety and it is very normal that an individual can perform poorly on a test due to anxiety but when given the job to perform in the management, he or she can be perfect and very competent. In this case, the HR practitioners who carry out the tests sometimes normally leave out qualified individuals based on the outcome of a result of a test done in a few minutes. It is therefore necessary that the testing method be integrated with other selection methods so as to successfully recruit and maintain talents more so in top management positions. According to Debrah, (2005);

Organizations are increasingly becoming focused on being competitive on a national and global level. The importance of the recruitment and selection process is vital for organizational competitiveness and a failure to approach this function effectively will have consequences for future job performance. Numerous authors have emphasized the importance of integrating the recruitment and selection processes into organizational strategies and HR systems as well as the necessity to respond to changes in the organization’s environment

Ramada Jarvis group of hotels has used testing as a good predictor in selecting the right candidates for top management positions. The continuous success and growth of these hotels vividly explains that their selection and recruitment is excellent. This is because the hotels attract and retain the best skills in its top management. This is also seen in their excellent services and teamwork spirit.

Interviews in selection and recruitment

The most frequently used selection method in most organizations and companies, with Ramada Jarvis group of hotels being no exception, is the interview. The company employs this selection process in selecting and recruiting personnel in the top management positions such as departmental managers. Interviews occur when a candidate responds to questions posed by a manager or some other organizational representative. In an interview, common areas in which questions are posed include education, experience and knowledge of job procedures, mental ability, personality, communication ability, social skills as well as the knowledge of current affairs.

Types of interviews used by Ramada Jarvis group of hotels include:

  • Structured Interviews – This kind of interview uses pre-designed list of predetermined questions. In this case, all applicants are asked the same set of questions and each candidate’s response is analysed. This creates the basis of judgment on the most qualified applicant for the job. There are two types of structured interviews.
  • Situational interview: In this case, the interviewer or the HR practitioner asks questions about what the applicant would do in a hypothetical situation in relation to the job he or she is seeking. These kinds of questions are meant to test the applicant’s creativity and decision making skills.
  • Behavioral interview: In this case the interviewer’s questions focus on the applicant’s behavior in past circumstances in life. This will give the interviewer the opportunity to cross check the applicant past life and make a logical judgment on his or her personality. This information will help in matching the applicant’s skills, character and experience to the requirement of the job. In designing a structured interview questions, there are steps and procedures to follow to ensure that the central objectives of the questions are met.

According to Guemier and Lockwood (1989), the structure below explains this argument:

  • Unstructured Interviews – This is where the interviewer uses open ended questions such as “Tell me about yourself”. This type of interview is preferred by the company in selection of departmental managers and operation supervisors. This is because it gives an opportunity to the applicant to express his or her skills, experiences and aspiration in a more open and creative way. This allows the interviewer to critically probe and pose different sets of questions to different applicants and analyze their responses.

Procedure of carrying out interview in Ramada Jarvis group of Hotels

The manner in which Ramada Jarvis group of Hotels carry out its interviews has been observed to be very transparent. First, the position is advertised on the newspapers and the company website. The applicants are encouraged to apply if they feel that their qualifications match the requirements of the job. Towards this, the HR department receives applications on the advertised job(s). Upon receiving all the applications based on the deadline of receiving applications, the HR department has the role to verify all the application letters and Curriculum Vitae(s) and carry out the short listing. The short listing is done to eliminate those applicants who have applied but fall far below the minimum requirement of the position in question.

After all the above procedures are completed, the HR department further contacts the shortlisted applicants to inform them that they have qualified for the interview. The shortlisted applicants are then informed on the date, time and place of the interview. On the other hand, the applicants who did not attain the minimum requirement are given regret letters (sometimes with explanations of what made them fall short of the short listing) and encouraged to try next time.

Decision Making on the right candidate

Decisions on the best candidate for the top management positions in Ramada Jarvis group of hotels is normally made using one of the following methods:

  1. Predictor Weighting – This method consist of a set of selection scores into an overall score in which some measures count more than others. In applying this method while carrying out selection for top management, the company emphasizes on the management skills, creativity, and team work spirit and critical thinking. Towards this, any applicant whose score is above average in this category stands a chance of getting the departmental management job. However, this is also pegged on the applicant’s performance in other important areas of assessment.
  2. The Minimum Cutoff Approach – This method assesses the applicant’s overall performance and the applicant’s strength in one area to compensate for weaknesses in another area. This method is advantageous to the applicant due its balance of the score sheet during the interview.
  3. Multiple Hurdle Approach – This decision making approach requires that applicants must meet the minimum requirements of one selection method before they can proceed to the next. This method is also widely applied for top management positions in Ramada Jarvis group of hotels. It is preferred due to its procedural and critical assessment which is necessary for individuals applying for top management positions such as departmental managers and supervisors.
  4. Banding Approach – This method applies statistical analysis of the applicant’s score card during the interviews. This statistical analysis helps the interviewer to identify scores that may not be meaningfully different. It is appropriate where many applicants seem to tie on their scores since it reveals some data which cannot be seen.

Advantages of interviews

Interviews are the most appropriate method in selection and recruitment in Ramada Jarvis group of hotels. This is because it is reliable, effective, efficient and cost effective. It is majorly used at entry level hence internal selection and recruitment can take other selection methods other than the interviews.

Limitation of interviews

Interviews measure a candidate’s ability based on a short assessment and therefore in cases where people just prepare for an interview question and to pass them only for the HR department to realize later that the candidates are not as competent as they might have perceived.

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Information Gathering in Selection and Recruitment

This method involves gathering information on candidates and their skills, education and competence. Ramada Jarvis group of hotels normally gathers information on individuals who have the required management skills and attributes and contact them when a vacancy arise. The commonly used methods for gathering this information include application forms and résumés, biographical data, and reference checking. It is very important since the company keeps the data bank of this information such that when they are in need of a specific person for a given role, they easily get him or her.

Internal Selection and Recruitment

Ramada Jarvis group of hotels, like any other established company, also carry out selection and recruitment. For top management recruitment, the company tends to favor internal employees who have stayed and mastered the company’s mode of operations as well as goals and mission. Internal recruitment and promotions is a great motivational factor to employees as well to the company for continuity in management and maintenance of the company culture.

Human Resource Department Challenges in Ramada Jarvis group of hotels

The rapid development and growth of the company which is precipitated by increase in tourism activities globally has resulted into establishment of new hotels (Lee, Ghosh & Oliga, 1990 ). This calls for increased number of workforce and their selection, recruitment, training, appraisal and motivation. Chew and Teo (1991) posit that “Significantly compounding the challenges faced by HR management and practitioners in the recruiting process is the handling of job applications and interview preparation. One main contributor of poor selection of applicants is the failure to establish a selection criterion that is not only consistent with organizational strategies, but reflects the frame of reference set by the job analysis. Employers frequently change job requirements and this results in incorrect selection if HR and line management select unqualified candidates.”

Among the four selection and recruitment methods applied by Ramada Jarvis group of hotels, the most appropriate one for top management in the company such as departmental managers, departmental supervisors and operational staffs is the interview method. This is because it gives the applicants an opportunity not only to look for new green pastures but also to nurture and further their managerial skills. While available literature argue that internal promotion is appropriate for higher positions in a company, the method bars new talents from rising to such positions. According to Carter, (1988);

While interviews still remain the most commonly used selection tool for organizations, psychological and aptitude tests are also methods used in selection. However, such tests must be job related, non-discriminatory and should accurately predict job performance through valid and reliable measures. Tests have been criticized in the past for lack of relevance; cultural limitations and faking such tests were common. Despite the methods used in screening applicants, the bottom-line is that incorrect selection costs the organization. Recruitment and training costs will rise as well as opportunity costs, reduced profit, loss of competitive advantage and reputation.

The hotel industry in UK has over time applied the above discussed methods in selection and recruitment. For the top management the companies prefer to use almost all the methods that is to say, interview, information gathering, testing as well as internal promotions. However, the selection of middle and low cadre employees is not as comprehensive as that of top management. This is because top management requires specialized skills and leadership qualities. In these three levels of management that is departmental manager, departmental supervisor and operational staffs, the selection process is little bit different.

Benefits of Selection Companies

Selection and recruiting agencies pay a crucial role in the reduction of the burden of searching for the most qualified personnel on companies (Irwin, 2003). When a company outsources selection and recruitment, they not only attract the most talented and experienced work force but they also reduce the cost of running the department of human resource. This makes the companies to be efficient and competitive in the market. Ramada Jarvis group of Hotels occasionally seeks the services of selection and recruiting companies in cases of top management positions and when the candidate is sought externally.

Conclusion

The world over, organizations and business enterprises are experiencing major economic crunch and environmental upheaval such as deregulated industrial regulation systems, globalization, competition and technological advancement. These economic, social and political circumstances have precipitated a complex and sophisticated of overlapping and concurrent interventions that are radically changing the existing structures, cultures and job requirements. In response to this dynamic and rapid change, managers need to approach the selection and recruitment from a strategic perspective. Recruitment and selection strategies, process and policies should be integrated within the company human resource department and the organization culture.

In the hotel industry, there is need to streamline the operations to embrace the dynamic changes in selection and recruitment. These changes include new strategies on selection and outsourcing. Ramada Jarvis group of hotels has been successful and continue to gain more ground in the UK market due to its strategic planning and management. This paper has given a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the role of the human resource department in the selection and recruitment with special reference to Ramada Jarvis group in UK.

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