How Do You Interview?

A photo ad popped up in my personal Facebook feed today. It got my attention, so great job to the company who sent it. Sincerely. The photo was part of a before and after shot of the same room vignette. I won’t reveal the nature of the ad or the company behind it other than to say they’re not even in the vacation rental industry! That being said, it’s still not cool to bash another small business. Instead I’ll focus on what bothered me about the ‘after’ image used in the ad. as it relates to the challenges that we face in our business and our industry. I include said ‘after’ image below.

Can you see what instantly bothered me about the image? No, it’s not the blurry yellow bar. I inserted that to protect the dignity of the people placing the ad and not to make them the object of my irritation. Do you see it? Let me know in the comments below…

You see as a hiring Manager, this got me thinking about screening technique for prospective candidates. Seachange Vacation Rentals sends a Turnover Agent to every property before and after every stay. Why do we do this very difficult task? We have two objectives:

1. Risk Management for Property Damage and Maintenance

Seachange Vacation Rentals needs to check on a property to ensure there is no damage or burgeoning small maintenance issue that needs to be addressed before it becomes a huge vacation interrupting, big expensive problem. This objective covers our two sets of clients: our Property Owners; our Guests. Not only are we protecting the investment that the Property Owner has in the property, but we’re also protecting the investment the Guest has in putting their valuable vacation time in our hands at one of our managed properties.

2. Vacation Rental Staging

When Guests leave, in the rush to get everyone up, fed, washed, clothed, and out of the door on time for check out, even the most well-behaved, well-intentioned Guest can leave a property in disarray. Seachange Vacation Rentals has our Turnover Agents visit the property after check out to perform light staging to reset the property so that for the next incoming Guest the property that they walk into looks like the property photos that they booked from initially!

During the week days in a busy summer season and any time during the off-summer season we send Agents from our role call of round the year permanent staff. On Saturdays during the summer season our current staff numbers swell over 200% adding Temporary Summer Seasonal Turnover Agents to cope with the volume of property turnovers in the 4-hour Saturday turnover window.

Anywho, back to the hiring Manager stuff! How do you screen potential candidates for your open positions, people? I’m not talking anywhere near State and Federal requirements for non-discrimination. Let’s get that ghastly spectre out of the conversation. Seachange Vacation Rentals does not discriminate in employment or anything. Period. We don’t need State and Federal laws to legislate us being decent humans. We hire the best qualified human. Always.

This being said. How do you hiring Managers out there dig into the real tricky stuff during an interview chat? You see for us in the hospitality industry in a beach resort area we don’t see an interview as a panel inquisition grilling. We see interviews as a chat. A conversation to see if there’s a fit that works for candidate, employer, and clients. Our candidates are being interviewed by a short-wearing, flip flop tapping smiling hiring Manager. It’s not so corporate at the beach y’all. That being said, business is still business, so we focus on the needs of the business regardless of the flip flops.

Candidates can screen well. They seem very enthusiastic about the position. During the screening process they did a great job making a good case for the advantages that they would bring to the business if hired. Their experience is applicable. How though to really tell if they can be grace under fire on a busy, steamy, hot, summer day?

For Seachange Vacation Rentals and our Property Turnover Agents, attention to detail, while rolled out as rote is sincerely very important to the business case for the position. Attention to detail can be replaced to a certain extent by very good scripts and checklists. However, true attention to detail which to me is tied in with a curious mind, well, can that be learned, or is it innate? How does one screen for attention to detail?

Back to the image we used. Can you innately tell what bothers me about this photo? If so call me. I may just have a job for you!

One closing point to mention. This article is not intended to bash any other business, especially those operating in territories that we do not work in and do not understand. Territories that, due to various specific geographic reasons, or operating decisions specific for their flavor of the vacation rental industry, their vacation rental businesses do not send an Agent to check properties before and after a guest stay. That doesn’t mean to say that these companies have not figured out a way of achieving the same aim that we have in sending an Agent. While there are many similarities in the vacation rental industry from region to region, it’s not cool to bash another company operating in another region because they operate differently to you. For the company that I have in mind. Our glowing hearts love you! You’re an inspiration to our entire industry and raising the bar for us all. Eh? Thank you!

For our competitors operating in our own geographic territory who may be reading this. We’re sorry if our marketing is interpreted as bashing you. We do not intend that at all. We work to avoid bashing anyone. Thank you for the competition! There is no better or best when it comes to businesses in competition. Only when it comes to the client. For us businesses it’s up to us to eloquently articulate our business value proposition so that potential clients may decide the best fit among us for their needs. We love our competition!