Screening Hotel Employees and Psychometric Testing

By: Patrick Barnett

Screening hotel employees should involve a degree of psychometric testing in order to determine if the applicant is suitable for the type of work involved. Hotel employees have a particularly close relationship with other employees in addition to exposure to very tempting situations for those with a criminal tendency.

For that reason, the normal background employment screening cannot be ignored, and any psychometric testing carried out should be additional to all of the other pre-employment checks that are normally carried out on potential new employees.

The legal consequences of a hotel employing somebody without carrying out suitable and sufficient pre-employment screening, and that person going on to assault or rob from a guest, are too severe for any hotel management to contemplate, and so complete and thorough screening is essential. There is a duty of care, not only to the hotel guests, but also to the other employees and contractors dependent upon the success of the hotel for their livelihood.

With regard to the traditional background checks, all previous employment must be checked out, even if not relevant to the hotel industry. You are looking here for anything that could suggest unsuitability for this type of work, such as an employee who prefers to work alone and finds it difficult to be a team player. Hotel work is very much team work, and anybody who cannot work closely with others would not be suitable.

With previous employment you are looking for employment gaps, where the applicant appears not have had a job. These periods have to be investigated. The same is true of any gaps in residential addresses provided. Either could indicate a term of imprisonment that the applicant is naturally trying to hide. Although there is no national criminal record database in the USA, you can check the local court records during these periods that have not been explained.

You should then be able to find any criminal cases that explain them. In most cases it will be necessary to attend personally to check the records, so this is often done by a third party professional investigator that knows how to do it effectively, and is generally known by, and has the help of, the court officials in the investigation.

Medical checks will also be necessary, and although the potential employee can refuse, you can also refuse the job. It is in your interests to know if the applicant has any condition that could affect your guests and also his or her ability to do the job. You cannot discriminate for genuine disability, but you have to know if any special accommodations would be necessary.

Each hotel should check every applicant for drugs through a standard urine test, and should also make it a a routine standard test for existing employees. Apart from any other consideration, an employee that is dependent on drugs might be more liable to be tempted by a guest's open door. This is a sad fact of life that cannot be denied. A large proportion of crime in most countries in the world is now drugs related and you cannot afford to employ an addict in a hotel.

The psychometric testing previously referred to relates to a tool that each hotel can design in association with a professional psychometric screening company that is designed to determine the suitability of a candidate for hotel work. This is done by means of a series of specially designed multi-choice questions. It can be altered to suit each position within the hotel from the top to the bottom.

The benefit of the psychometric test is that it does what the normal background employment screening investigations cannot do: it determines whether or not a particular potential hotel employee has the right attitude and qualities needed to communicate well with guests and work in close contact with fellow employees as part of a large team. It is very useful information to have if you are a hotel manager seeking a new employee.

It is also claimed that psychometric screening can reveal a criminal tendency, even if the candidate has had no previous criminal record, although such conclusions should be considered very carefully and it is not recommended that they be provided as a reason for rejection of the application.

Many hotels operate their own screening tool that has been designed around that specific hotel. It is certainly something to consider as an addition to the traditional employment screening procedures that are routinely carried out, either by you, or by employment background screening professionals.

In conclusion, then, screening hotel employees requires everything that you would do for any other form of employment, plus a bit extra. That extra is due both to the nature of the job and the fact that the employee may be in close contact with guests and and also their belongings.

As already stated, the need for good teamwork is also not to be forgotten since that also required a particular type of individual. Psychometric screening can help with these, but must be designed by professionals qualified in this type of work. However, don't forget the traditional background checking methods that provide the history of the candidate that are just as important in screening hotel employees as an applicant for any other form of work.

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