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Hilton on the hunt for employees

Thursday, January 6 2011

Hilton Trinidad is doing its part to “stimulate the economy” by hiring more staff for 2011, according to its general manager, Ali Khan.

“You need to stimulate the economy, generate some excitement. This way, just before the New Year, allows us to start 2011 with the hope that the economy is going to (improve). We took the opportunity now because we had an excellent December and we need more staff. We hope next year would be better and all these economic woes would be behind us. That’s the main reason we are doing the job fair,” he said.

Khan was speaking to Business Day last Thursday, during a job fair organised specifically for the hotel.

Hilton Trinidad has 30 to 40 vacancies to fill but the hotel’s human resource department also intends to keep a list of qualified applicants for future use.

“So, whenever an opportunity arises, whether it’s for contract labour or part-time labour, we would have a list of qualified people.”

Khan added that panel interviews with various members of the hotel’s management was the best way to eliminate the possibility of a hotel employee ‘pushing’ their family member’s name for a job.

“The job fair interviews are all open, transparent, so there is no nepotism in the hiring of our staff. People can bring their friends and family to the interview but come in the open and participate in the job fair in front of everybody,” he explained.

The hotel had certain qualifications in mind when interviewing dozens of applicants at the December 30 event. Namely, persons had to be service-oriented, safety-conscious and customer-focussed.

Khan said Hilton Trinidad is keen on expanding its Latin American customer-base, therefore applicants who speak Spanish had an advantage, as well as those with a tertiary-level education.

One applicant, 21-year-old Simone Jones, said her pervious experience as a part-time waitress inspired her to apply for a more permanent position at the hotel.

“I loved the experience, so I came back for the job fair interview. I love to interact with people, to serve them. It just brings a joy to me. I think my personality helps me stand out from other applicants. I would prefer to work as a waitress but if they put me in another area that would not be a problem,” Jones said.

Fellow job fair participant, Nicole Trim, spoke about the interview process.

“I applied for a position as a room attendant. My interview was very nice. I always had a love for Hilton, so I decided to apply when I saw the newspaper advertisement. The interviewers asked me how I would handle certain situations, how I would react. Basically about my interests and why I want to work here. I have a good feeling about my interview and hope to get called for the second round,” said Trim.

To ensure all applicants were interviewed that day, Hilton’s managerial staff conducted back-to- back interviews from 10 am to 3 pm in a section of the ballroom.

While speaking about the job fair, Ali Khan boasted of the “attractive” package offered to all Hilton Trinidad employees.

“Our basic salary starts around $4,000. When you add service charges and our rewards system, it can go to $8,000 or $9,000 TT. That means a dish-washer here can make $4,000 to $5,000, sometimes $6,000, depending on the number of merit points earned. This depends on attitude, quality of service. Sometimes a point is over $1,000 TT. Minimum salary is 40 or 50 percent higher than normal minimum wage,” Khan said.

He added that all employees get an employee discount whenever they stay at any of the Hilton’s 4,000 hotel around the world.

Khan also said “the majority of hotels in this country eventually hire some of our employees because we have always grown people.”

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