Advice for millennials entering the hospitality workforce

Emily Charczuk
Emily Charczuk

Note: this interview was conducted by Nancy Lee, Head of Press Relations for YHS in conjunction with FRHI’s Royal Sponsorship of the Young Hoteliers Summit 2015, being held March 16-18 at Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.

To begin with, could you please briefly introduce yourself?

My name is Emily Charczuk and I am the Manager, Talent Development for FRHI Hotels & Resorts. I have been with the Company for 3 years and in my current role, I oversee and support our programs for campus recruitment and leadership development globally.

You have been working in Human Resources almost throughout your whole career. What aspects about Humans Resources interest you?

What has always attracted me to Human Resources is the ability to make an impact, both on the business and on the individual colleagues that allow that business to thrive. In today’s business climate, I think strategic HR management is essential to a company’s success and it’s wonderful to be able to contribute to a company that recognizes this.

With many millennials entering the workforce in the near future, what is one piece of advice you have for them before taking their first position?

Two pieces of advice come to mind. First, I encourage millenials and young hoteliers to keep themselves open to different experiences and to be on the lookout for various opportunities that present themselves. It is sometimes easy to get tunnel vision and this could cause one to miss out on valuable experiences. Second, never stop learning.

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What is your take on the Day 2 Theme: The New Work Force: Millennial employees catering to Millennial travelers and Empowerment: Generating experiences for employees, taming new talent? How are these subjects important for you and FRHI Hotels & Resorts?

Organizations have to be aware of and responsive to any changes that will impact their operation and while the changing demographics of the workforce will bring about new challenges, FRHI Hotels & Resorts is well positioned to respond to these challenges. Our Company has a longstanding commitment to developing top talent and setting up young hoteliers for successful careers in the hospitality industry. We are constantly evaluating our existing programs and adapting them to ensure they provide fulfilling experiences and meet the development needs of our colleagues.

What do you see as key to attract and retain talents for your brand?

In my experience, current and future hospitality professionals are seeking a reciprocal relationship from the company that they work for. They wish to align themselves with a company that they believe in and that invests in their development, providing opportunities for both personal and career growth.

One important initiative in our organization that helps us to ensure we are attracting and retaining top talent is our recently launched Employee Value Proposition: Connect, Grow, Live. At last year’s Young Hoteliers Summit we challenged YHS participants to offer strategies for bringing the FRHI EVP: Connect, Grow, Live, to life in a meaningful way across our organization. We have implemented many of these strategies over the course of the last year and continue to seek out opportunities to make a positive impact on the lives of our colleagues because we know our colleagues drive our Company’s success.

How can an applicant’s CV stand out to you? What is the most telling element? (e.g. experience, education, extra activities, etc.)

It’s wonderful to see a combination of experience, education, and extracurricular activities on a resume, but I also look for a commitment to the hospitality industry. Passion is essential to success in this sometimes challenging, but incredibly rewarding industry, and it’s a pleasure to see that a candidate has actively sought out opportunities to grow as a well-rounded hospitality professional.

What interview question do many candidates answer poorly?

I consider the interview process to be an opportunity to get to know a candidate beyond what is listed on his or her resume so I try to encourage candidates to let their personalities show and to answer questions honestly. That being said, there is much to be said for preparation. Candidates should take some time prior to an interview to review the experiences they have acquired either professionally or in their academic careers that they could relate to the position they are interviewing for. Beyond that, candidates should demonstrate that they have taken steps to learn about the company and the specific role for which they applied.

Having previously attended the Young Hoteliers Summit as Challenge Provider, could you share with us some of the aspects of YHS that make your brand excited to attend again?

The Young Hoteliers Summit provides a platform for leading industry professionals to interact with the top hospitality students from around the world on a number of relevant and interesting topics. Last year FRHI Hotels & Resorts had the distinct pleasure of participating in YHS as Challenge Provider and we experienced firsthand the incredible energy of this event. As a Company, we have always recognized and valued the importance of developing and building relationships with top hospitality talent and we are thrilled to be participating once again as a Royal Sponsor.

How would you describe the Summit in one sentence?

The Young Hoteliers Summit offers hospitality leaders the unique opportunity to interact with top hospitality students from around the world, sharing insights, challenges, opportunities, and a mutual passion for the industry in an educational and fun environment.

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