Lets Talk More About The Service-Industry Recruiter And Their Cool Companies, Too

There is always a lot of talk about the sexy recruiting being done in Engineering, R&D and highly technical industries.  There even more attention on the “hip and cool” recruiters who’s  job it is to find those ” in demand” candidates.  You can’t go on the Internet, go to conferences, read blogs, etc. without hearing  some buzz around their sourcing strategies, social networking tricks and the latest and greatest recruitment technology being used by these recruiters.  Yes, there is some very innovative recruiting being done by these folks indeed, but there is more out there we should be talking about.

As a consultant,   I have had the opportunity to work with many industries and companies (even some of these “sexy” companies with the “really cool” jobs that everyone wants to work for).  I am, however, always surprised of how little attention is given to the recruiters that focus on the other jobs out there.  You know the ones… the jobs that may pay less than others,  that some recruiters may think are beneath them to recruit (or companies they’d work for).  I’d like us all to talk a little more the service-industry recruiter heroes and the cool companies they work for, too.

There seems to be exclusion for some technical recruiters to include retail, hospitality, service industry recruiters as equals.  Is it that these service-based industry recruiters are still perceived as less than competent or up to speed on technology and techniques?  Is their work really less of value to the world than the other recruiters?  I’m especially interested in this topic because, I’ve lived it firsthand.  Even to this day, when people find out I was an “hotelier,” you can see it in their eyes…oh, you hired housekeepers?  No, I’ve never hired a housekeeper sitting at corporate, but I’d be proud if I had.  That job is one of the most important jobs for most service-based organizations around the world and not easy to recruit for today.  I am also amazed of the inaccurate perception of service industry jobs.  The service industry also has very high paid, educated leaders and technical thinkers that are changing the world. For example, a single hotel can be a multi-million dollar business.  Just think about the brain power it takes to run one (the job titles would also amaze you).  I’m proud of my background and my fellow hoteliers, especially one of our Riviera Advisors clients that are getting a lot of attention lately.


Recently, The Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center was awarded was named the #1 top “100 places to work 2011” with Dallas Morning News for the second year in a row.  They were also named the 2011 #1 Top “Best Place to Work” large company in Dallas Fort-Worth with the Dallas Business Journal.  You can’t get much cooler than that!

Gracie Vega, Gaylord Texan’s Vice President of Human Resources said “these are very meaningful awards to us, as it is based on the feedback provided by our Texan STARS (Employees) on the fun work environment, competitive benefits, training programs, communication tools, community outreach, and leadership that we provide.  I am extremely humble to have the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful family.”  Why wouldn’t everyone want to work at this place? By the way, the employees at The Gaylord Texan love HR.  Yes, they actually love the human resources team and treat them like rock stars.  It is refreshing and beautiful to watch in action.

I always enjoy going out to The Gaylord Texan, especially this time of the year.  There’s nothing like a hotel all dressed up for the holidays.  But, you can also feel the energy year-round the moment you drive up to the front door.  The employees just look and act differently at The Texan than anywhere else I’ve been.  The smiles are real, not forced, and you know it.  All the employees are doing what they are doing because they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.  Even when I am walking the “back of the house” (the non-guest areas), the employees greet their fellow colleagues with eye contact and  genuine friendly hellos.  As a recruiter at heart, I am always so jazzed to see this happen in real life.  We’ve all read the books about how to attract and retain employees, but this isn’t a show, it’s for real.  I often think about the recruiter down in the basement (by the dumpster) that got this party started.  Why don’t we give these service-industry recruiters and HR professionals more respect in the recruiting profession?  They have really cool jobs, too.  Believe me, they can find their way around LinkedIn like the best of them.

One of my favorite experiences at the Gaylord Texan occurred when I observed an offer being made to a manager candidate.  The recruiter brought the candidate in for “one more interview,” at least that is what the candidate thought.  When he got to HR, to his surprise, his new boss, and other senior leadership were waiting for him with balloons, music and a lively celebration.  The offer of employment was hand delivered to him with pomp and circumstance, all personalized to him.  Yes, I saw a grown man cry (with joy).  I bet he remembers that experience for the rest of his career (wherever it may take him).  This is by far a success practice in recruiting and retention.  Some of you may think this is corny, but I best most of you would love to see it happen to you.

The Gaylord Texan gets it.  That is why they are one of the best employers out there.  Don’t for a minute think it is easy to recruit for The Texan either.  Even with all its awards, the recruiting team has very high expectations and the bar is raised often.  They hire talent, talent wants to work with talent and not just anyone fits their culture.  It’s a very demanding job in recruiting for them these days.  Give them a call and ask them how they do it.  I bet you will learn something.

As you sit in the latest state-of-the-art Starbucks, drinking that XYZ latte, typing away on your new iPad, while talking on your smartphone, take a moment to look around you.  Thank that service-industry recruiter for helping find the talent that allows you to enjoy your day.  Yes, R&D, Engineering, highly technical jobs may be sexy and often paid higher, but service-level job recruiting is what makes your world go ’round.

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Diana Meisenhelter

Diana is an alumnus of Riviera Advisors, and worked with the Riviera Advisors team from 2004-2012 as Principal Consultant.

Diana has over 25 years’ experience leading and being a strategic thinker in Talent Acquisition. She has held key corporate roles as a Managing Director and Vice President of Talent Acquisition, has had a significant experience in global consulting across many industries, including Entertainment, Gas, Financial Services, Electric and Utilities, Healthcare, Hospitality, Government, Oilfield Services, Technology and Telecommunications. She started her career as recruiter. She knows what good looks like from all levels; her passion is in helping companies identify how Talent Acquisition can implement best practices and impact and improve their business.

Most recently she led Talent Acquisition for FedEx Office. Previously, she was Vice President of Staffing and Talent Acquisition for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts and Director of Worldwide Recruitment for Westin Hotels & Resorts, She also was responsible for executive recruitment and College Relations for American General Hospitality and held corporate HR generalist roles for Embassy Suites, Inc. prior to the hospitality industry; she worked in other industries such as healthcare, IT executive search and US government support.

Diana has a Bachelor of Arts, Communications/Business Management from The University of Maryland - College Park and an Associates of Arts, European Studies, The University of Maryland - Munich Campus, Munich, Germany

She is actively engaged in the HR and TA profession and helping the profession by volunteering in key leadership roles in the community: Board of Trustees - DallasHR (local mega chapter for Society of Human Resource Management), Society of Human Resource Management, Member of profession networking groups like CareerXRoads Colloquium and The Conference Board.

Past President the DFW Staffing Management Association (previously EMA), Founding Member Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals, Board of Directors - Woman’s Business Council South West, Talent Acquisition Executive Board/The Conference, SHRM Texas State Council and the Board of Directors for the International Association of Corporate and Professional Recruitment.

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