What’s the best way to find a job in Chicago’s hospitality industry? You could go hotel-to-hotel and ask to file job applications, but that’s a prescription for getting nowhere fast. You could apply directly through the websites of major chain hotels, but there’s no guarantee the process would be productive or that the chain would have openings in Chicago. There are always alternatives like Monster.com, but those websites are more general in nature and not really geared toward helping applicants find hospitality positions.
The idea of applying to a staffing or employment agency may not have crossed your mind. Most people associate those agencies with office work or part-time jobs unrelated to the hotel industry, which is an understandable belief but not really true anymore. There are Chicago staffing agencies completely devoted to hospitality jobs, and they’re a great place to find rewarding work in one of the area’s many hotels.
How Hospitality Staffing Agencies in Chicago Work
Before we go any further, here’s the secret: a single hotel may have, at most, just a few positions to fill at any one time. However, hospitality staffing agencies work for a number of hotels simultaneously, so they will be looking to fill many more job openings (in many different categories) than a single hotel could ever offer. It’s somewhat like buying a house; you’ll have a lot more luck going to a real estate broker with hundreds of listings, than you would simply searching for houses with “for sale” signs on your block.
There is one important caveat, though. When you successfully navigate the application and screening processes and land that hotel job, the chances are very good that you won’t be working directly for the hotel – you’ll be working for the agency. Most hospitality staffing solutions appeal to the employer for that very reason; they save the hotel the effort and expense (and often, the headaches) of hiring and paying staff members.
That means your paychecks and benefits will come from the hospitality staffing agencies in Chicago, rather than from “Big Giant Megahotel Chain Inc.” If that’s a deal-breaker, perhaps this isn’t the route for you. However, the work, experience and pay will be the same no matter whose name is on the check, and this is the way more and more hotels are operating these days.
Pros and Cons of Chicago Staffing Agencies
We’ve already mentioned the biggest advantage: more jobs are available from hospitality staffing agencies than at individual hotels. However, there are others “pros” to consider, especially if you’re talented or experienced. Many of these Chicago agencies, such as Quality Hotel Staffing, conduct skills testing and assess applicants’ ability to learn and advance before hiring decisions are made. That gives you a huge leg up on candidates who have little or no experience in the industry, or those who aren’t quick studies. A number also function as hospitality temp agencies, meaning you can work as little or as much as you’d like, and that you may be able to “try out” an employer before taking a full-time position.
The only real disadvantage to finding a job through hotel staffing agencies in Chicago is that you may not be able to move up “through the ranks” of a big hospitality chain, or ask to be transferred to one of their hotels in another city for personal reasons. However, the experience you gain while working through a Chicago staffing agency will be invaluable, making you a much more attractive candidate should you decide to apply directly to a hotel or chain at a later time.