How I Moved from Hospitality to a Career in Talent Recruiting

I lost my dad earlier this year. He passed away after a battle with lymphoma. Had I not made the career switch from the hospitality industry to become a talent recruiter, I would have missed out on the last months of his life. I had not seen him in person since 2019, and I’m so grateful to have made the choice to join Goodwin Recruiting when I did in February of 2022. It gave me the freedom to be with him and the rest of my family when we needed each other most.   

Jumping into talent recruiting was a sea of unknowns to me and a tough choice. I was unsure how the transition out of the hospitality industry would go. In speaking with my dad about it, he was skeptical, too. I spent 25 years in restaurant life and was good at it. I worked with great people, helping them run their businesses successfully with a passion and drive for making people happy and creating memorable experiences.  

Even with dad being a bit cantankerous about my impending decision, I rolled the dice and jumped in headfirst. What I’ve since learned is that hospitality recruiting permeates the recruitment industry more than one might think or expect – especially today, with high turnover rates and the abundance of open positions and critical hospitality roles needing right-fit team members.  

Since hospitality recruitment is a specialty at Goodwin Recruiting, it turns out that I never really left the industry! 

There are strong synergies in working with job candidates  

Making people feel good, supported, heard, seen, and valued is something I attempt in my everyday recruiting life. This should resonate with you if you have ever worked in a hotel, restaurant, country club, or in any other hospitality industry sector. It’s important to me to give hospitality worker candidates the same attention, respect, and care. I meet with them in person or over Zoom so that I can see their faces and mannerisms and hear their stories. This helps me present job options that are the best possible fit based on what they share with me. In-person or virtual meetings also ensure I can represent them to clients in the best light.  

Overall, I think of myself as a job concierge or sherpa for job seekers, much like a fantastic floor manager who assists their team through the tough parts of dinner service. I can directly identify! I aim to carry the weight of the interview process and the anxiety of a career change, and give candidates all the information and tools I can to help them be successful during the first several weeks of a new job and beyond.  

Hospitality employers value the expertise of an industry insider   

In my relationships with hospitality companies, the laws of rapid and transparent communication hold true in creating congruence, just as one expediently communicates with guests who have high expectations or worse, a complaint. This at-your-service approach helps employers in multiple ways to not only fulfill their human resources needs in a timely manner, but to also land the very best candidates for their diverse job roles. 

Beyond having a ready talent pool to offer, I have assisted clients in writing job descriptions and bonus structures and even assisted them in the new hire onboarding process to lighten the administrative task load on their end. I also use my hospitality knowledge and skills by applying them to my clients’ organizations during the talent search and hiring process, and I visit clients in person whenever I can to understand the vibe, tone, and culture of their organizations.  

All of this is very helpful in matching personalities between candidates and employers during the recruitment process. Having been an industry insider leads to hospitality recruiting at its finest, helping organizations quickly fill staffing gaps. And since well-placed top talent tends to stick around, this increases retention, which is good for employer brands. Everybody wins.  

What’s different?  

There are trade-offs in moving from the hospitality industry to talent acquisition, but they balance out just fine. First, what’s different is working from home! Full disclosure: I have put on about 15 pounds and find myself seldom leaving the three blocks surrounding my home for weeks at a time. I’m not moving around the dining room anymore, a huge change of pace that has taken a good deal of adjustment.  

At the same time, I can structure my days to work for me. This flexibility is invaluable. While it can be a bit lonely from time to time, since I have been in this new role, I have found a strong community in the recruiting partners and support team at Goodwin Recruiting who are so helpful, even if I just need a break. They include many former hospitality industry professionals, so I’m in good company, and their inspiration and guidance are only a phone call or Zoom meeting away.   

A good and rewarding career move  

I’m loving my job. It is hard work to meet the staffing needs of today’s hospitality businesses, but it is extremely satisfying, especially when meaningful connections are made with talented new candidates and clients. New connections happen just as they do when you form working relationships with guests and co-workers in a restaurant.  

While I sometimes miss the hustle and bustle of an in-person hospitality industry service role, I so appreciate the time I can now spend with friends and family, no longer missing out on important life events. I know my dad would be happy for me.   

The life of a talent acquisition specialist might not be for everyone, but it’s working out great for me. If you have a strong work ethic, enjoy running your own business, and want to create your own success and income potential, explore a recruiting career with Goodwin Recruiting. We are a strong, nationwide recruiting team and joining us could be a great move for you, too.