Career Day in SWISSAM Hospitality Business School
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Career Day in SWISSAM Hospitality Business School
Nikolay Hotelier, 15 November 2013

On 12 November SWISSAM school hosted the Career Day for representatives of the hospitality industry for the second time in a row. HR specialists and general managers of hotels in Saint Petersburg (Kempinski, Four Seasons, Sokos, Park Inn, W, Radison, Domina, Azimut, Courtyard by Marriott, Renaissance, Corinthia) participated in the event. Extra section was held by professionals of the restaurant business. Restaurant companies such as Probka Family, Italy Restaurant Group, Dve Palochki and Stroganoff Group offered to build up a career in their restaurants in St. Petersburg. We took interviews with a few directors participating in the Career Day and prepared a special photo report about this event.

Charles Otter, AZIMUT Hotel Saint Petersburg, General Director

Charles Otter

TOHOLOGY: As a representative of the hotel, please describe a potential candidate for your company.

Charles Otter: We, here at AZIMUT Hotel Saint Petersburg are looking for candidates with a positive attitude, a reasonable degree of personal motivation and confidence and readiness to communicate with people. We believe that hiring attitude with a smile is the first priority and if a person wants to learn new skills then we are ready to teach them. When building a team, we believe that all people have equal opportunity regardless of age, sex, cultural background and contrary to popular belief higher education is not always essential, so we do not discriminate. As General Director, I personally conduct the final interview with all staff (without exception) as I believe I must try to know each and every staff member, usually this process is a formality but it’s time for me to get to know the staff member applying to work in our hotel and at the end of the day, myself and my Human Resources Manager are responsible for building the corporate culture of the hotel.

TOHOLOGY: In your opinion, what is more important: specialised education or experience in the industry?

Charles Otter: As mentioned above, education is always good but in Russia people often have degrees completely unrelated to the position, which they are applying for, because of the stigma that everyone should have higher education, this is not true as the hospitality industry relies on people's personal attitude, self-motivation and hard work to provide customer service and communication to each other and our guests. Experience is always good but if someone wants to learn, he or she is welcome to apply and come and work for us. We can teach experience but cannot teach an inpidual to wake up in the morning and start work, we can teach them when they want to learn and work.

Hans Hiertner, SWISSAM, CEO

Hans Hiertner

TOHOLOGY: In your opinion, what is more important: specialised education or experience in the industry?

Hans Hiertner: Our key principle in SWISSAM Hospitality Business & Culinary Arts School is to provide our students with both theoretical lessons as well as hands on experience through internships, and this is why the industry's top hotels and restaurants are eager to hire our staff even before they graduate. The choice is therefore not between education or experience as such. The real true choice is between the quality and relevance of the education or experience. I think our partners in 4 and 5-star hotels have acknowledged that there are many applicants to vacant positions, who have a resume, which reflects hospitality experience, but it is simply not the right type of experience that is useful for them at the level they are at in terms of consistent high-level service. For the global hotel chains, the experience should be the same regardless if you check in Bangkok, Oslo or Saint Petersburg. That is by the end of the day what differentiates the hotel from others. Personalised service.

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