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What Are The Differences Between a Job Description and Job Specification?

written by Matt Smith

There are two sets of criteria that applicants for travel jobs must satisfy. Firstly, they must hold the necessary qualifications and experience to undertake the tasks required of the post. Secondly, they must possess the personal qualities and attributes required to fulfil the role. These criteria are laid out in two key documents that should be sent out to every applicant as part of your recruitment process: the job description and the job specification.

When they receive the job description and job specification, applicants for your vacant travel job can decide whether or not they meet your criteria. This will help unsuitable applicants to self-select out of the application process. It will also enable suitably qualified applicants to present themselves in the best possible manner in their CVs and at interview.

The Importance of Current Job Descriptions and Job Specifications:

Every time a travel job vacancy arises within your company, it is worth reviewing the job description and job specification for the role. Job descriptions and job specifications can become out of date over time. Allocated tasks may change, with new duties added and outdated responsibilities removed. The skills required for travel jobs may evolve. For example, ICT skills will become more important if new technology is introduced by the company. In order to attract talented candidates for your vacant travel jobs, your job descriptions and job specifications must be as accurate as possible.

Job Descriptions for Travel Jobs:

Within each job description you should list the key duties and responsibilities that require to be carried out by the postholder. The most straightforward method of doing this is compiling a bullet-pointed list. While it should cover the main tasks allocated to the post, the list of duties and responsibilities does not need to be exhaustive. If you try to list everything a postholder may have to do, the job description could run to several pages. Even then, you are unlikely to think of every possible eventuality. To keep the job description at a reasonable length, you should group tasks by generic headings. To cover any tasks that are not set out in your list, include a general statement at the end of the job description indicating that the postholder will be expected to carry out any reasonable tasks assigned to him by his line manager.

Each job description should include a brief organisation chart that illustrates which post the travel job reports to and any subordinates for whom the postholder has line management responsibility.

Job Specifications for Travel Jobs:

A candidate's personal qualities and attributes can make a significant difference to how she will perform in a travel job. Essential personal qualities and attributes should be written down in the job specification. For example, many travel jobs require individuals to have excellent interpersonal skills because they will be dealing with people every day. Lack of interpersonal skills could lead to conflict and tension between the postholder and customers.

Each company has its own values and ethos. To ensure that you recruit people who share your company's values, relevant attitudes and behaviours should be outlined in the job specification for each job within the company. If your company prioritises first-class customer service, every job specification should include a requirement that postholders understand the importance of delivering a high-quality service and are customer focussed.

It is vital that the personal qualities and attributes listed in the job specification are limited to those that are essential for the role. This will help the company avoid allegations of discrimination. Indirect discrimination can creep in to job specifications when unnecessary requirements are imposed on applicants. For example, if a job specification states that candidates must have ten years experience in a role, this may discriminate against younger applicants unless this figure can be justified.

Time invested revising and updating the job descriptions and job specifications for vacant travel jobs will pay dividends when you attract top-quality candidates.

How to Motivate and Retain Workers in Frontline Travel Jobs

written by Claire Wright

Around three quarters of employees working in the travel industry feel underpaid. There are many travel jobs that attract relatively low rates of pay, such as kitchen assistants, domestics and waiting staff. While wage rates for these travel jobs need to remain competitive to enable employers to offer the best deals to customers, the quality of service provided by the people in these posts can have a significant impact on customer satisfaction. In addition, turnover of staff in frontline travel jobs can increase expenditure on recruitment activity, which pushes costs up. Employers in the travel industry should put strategies in place to motivate and retain workers in low paid jobs.

Hire the Right Person for the Role:

The starting point in motivating and encouraging employees in frontline travel jobs is to recruit the right person for the role. If you want someone to remain in the post for a number of years, there is little point employing a student who is looking for work during the summer break and who will move back to college or university once term begins again. However, if you know that the work on offer is seasonal, students and transient workers may be a good fit for the travel jobs on offer.

You should seek references and carry out pre-employment checks for all new employees, no matter how low paid the role. This will help you to avoid a situation where you have to dismiss employees with a history of poor performance or behaviours.

Get to Know Your Employees:

By understanding what motivates each employee, line managers can tailor their approach to get the best out of each team member. Some employees in frontline travel jobs will be motivated solely by money, in which case managers can increase motivation by maximising their earning potential. For example, they can ensure that busy periods mean extra hours for the existing team members rather than bringing in additional part-time workers. However, other employees will be motivated by non-monetary rewards, such as recognition and flexibility. It is important that the line manager tailor her approach to encourage and motivate every employee.

Develop Two-Way Communication:

By keeping employees informed about developments in the business and seeking their input on how working practices can be improved, you can help to create a feeling of loyalty to the business. Employees in frontline travel jobs often have valuable insight in to how the business can improve.

Recognise Hard Work:

Praise from a line manager can encourage employees in frontline travel jobs to go the extra mile. When employees understand that extra effort is recognised, they are often prepared to work harder. For some line managers in the travel industry, offering praise for a job well done is a natural part of their management style. However, for others some training may be required to help them develop the necessary skills to offer positive feedback and recognition.

 Be Flexible:

Employers can generate trust and loyalty by offering as much flexibility as possible for employees in frontline travel jobs. This may include permitting some employees to work flexible shift patterns, if the nature of the work allows. For example, if housekeeping staff work alone and need to complete a four hour shift within a six hour period, allowing employees to be flexible about when they begin and end their shifts could be more convenient for them and benefit the business by increasing loyalty and reducing staff turnover.

Career Development:

Where there are career development opportunities within the company, ensure that these travel jobs are offered to high-performing frontline staff. When employees know that their efforts in their current roles can help them to secure promoted posts, they are more likely to give of their best.

Your Hobby Can Help You Pay for International Travel

written by Claire Wright

If you have itchy feet and want to see the world, but you are on a limited budget, you may think that international travel is outwith your reach. However, you can expand your list of possible destinations by turning your hobby in to a job that will allow you to earn as you travel.

Travel Jobs for Foodies:

If food is your passion, there are a number of travel jobs open to you. The most obvious option is to secure work in the kitchens of hotels or restaurants in your chosen destinations. Cooking is a skill that travels well and appetising food is always in demand. Depending on your proficiency, you could secure employment as a kitchen assistant, sous chef, team leader or chef. You could even work your way up the hierarchy as you gain skills and experience.

However, food and drink enthusiasts have other travel jobs open to them. For example, you could use your passion for food or drink to become a tour guide. Drawing on your knowledge of the food or drink available in well-known culinary destinations, you can develop tours that provide holidaymakers with useful information on the area together with visits to local producers. As a gastronomic tour guide, you can visit some of your favourite locations while educating others about your hobby.

Travel Jobs for Sports Enthusiasts:

If you are proficient in a sport, you can use your hobby to earn while you travel. Many tourists are looking for active holidays. They want to ski, golf or scuba dive rather than laze on a beach. By using your experience and knowledge of your favourite sport, you can work your way around the world teaching others the necessary skills. For some sports, you will need to undertake instructor training before you can be hired. But this can be a small price to pay for the privilege of participating in your hobby on a daily basis while exploring new destinations.

If you are a keen walker, you could lead treks in destinations that you want to visit. Guided walks are extremely popular as the leader does much of the planning and organising for participants, who simply need to turn up and walk.

Travel Jobs for Entertainers:

If you love to sing, dance or act, you can find opportunities to hone your talent and perform to a live audience on a daily basis on board cruise ships. The entertainment offered by cruise ships covers everything from orchestras to steel bands, jazz singers to pop groups, full-scale musical numbers to stand-up comedy. When you take a travel job on board a cruise ship, you will wake up in a new location every morning.

Travel Jobs for Socialisers:

If you are an outgoing person who loves to socialise and meet new people, you could pay for your travel by working as a holiday rep. The key duties of a holiday rep are to plan and promote activities that customers will enjoy. You will also be expected to solve any issues that come along, such as problems with accommodation. You are likely to enjoy being a holiday rep if you find a tour company offering holidays to people with similar interests to yourself. If you enjoy visiting pubs and nightclubs, look for a tour operator which organises holidays in well-known clubbing destinations. Alternatively, if you enjoy history and museums, seek out a tour operator catering for culture vultures.

If you want to see more of the world but need to earn cash in order to travel, think of what you enjoy doing most. There may be a way that your hobby can help to pay for your international travel.

Passive Candidates Hold the Key to Travel Recruitment Success

written by Matt Smith

At any one time, only a small proportion of the travel workforce is actively seeking alternative employment. The remainder are sufficiently happy in their current roles that they are not scanning the recruitment pages for new opportunities. When you post a vacancy, your ideal candidate may not be actively seeking a new job. However, he may still consider an offer of employment if the right opportunity comes along. The secret to effective travel recruitment is not simply to reach active candidates with recruitment adverts, but to also reach passive candidates with subtler recruitment methods.

Take a Creative Approach to Travel Recruitment:

Passive candidates are not going to notice your carefully crafted job advert for one simple reason: they are not actively looking to move jobs. Attracting passive candidates takes a little more creativity than traditional travel recruitment methods.

The key to developing a bank of people who may become passive candidates for roles in the future is to start building ongoing relationships. The relationships may begin at trade fairs, conferences, business lunches, or networking events. The secret is to then find a way to stay in touch that does not revolve around job search, such as engaging the individual in online discussion forums or business blogs.

Travel Recruitment through Social Networking:

By following the careers of talented individuals in the travel sector through social networking websites, such as LinkedIn, you can identify people who are ready to move on from their current role. Rather than simply browsing numerous bland profiles, watch out for people who engage in relevant discussion forums and demonstrate an up-to-date knowledge of the industry.

Travel Recruitment Agencies:

The methods required to pursue passive candidates can be time-consuming. However, you do not need to tackle this task alone. Travel recruitment agencies can give you access to a large number of passive candidates that have remained on their databases. After an agency places a candidate, the individual often remains on the company's database. When you place your vacancy with a travel recruitment agency, your consultant will search her database of existing candidates to identify whether any of them have the necessary skills and experience. If so, the agency can make a direct contact with passive candidates on your behalf.

Pitch the Post:

Because passive candidates are not actively looking for work, you may have to adopt a sales approach to convince your target that the role you have on offer is his next logical career move. Do not be afraid to sell the benefits of working for your company. Have your pitch worked out before you make contact with a passive candidate. In particular, what is it about your company that would encourage him to leave a secure role to come work for you?

Think Global To Attract Top Talent

written by Matt Smith

Increasing the size of the recruitment pool can help to ensure that you attract applications from top quality candidates. For senior jobs, with attractive salaries and interesting career prospects, candidates are more willing than ever to move location to secure a promoted post. For executive travel recruitment, the world is becoming smaller with a global pool of applicants. Individuals are increasingly prepared to relocate or commute from their home countries in order to progress their careers.

Increased Globalisation:

Developments in technology and emerging markets have led to increased global expansion by many companies, with increased business travel as a result. In addition, more and more holidaymakers are seeking to travel to exotic and unusual locations, allowing plenty of scope for expansion in to new countries within the hospitality industry. Expansion opportunities such as these increasingly mean that travel companies require to fill vacancies at executive level, both at home and abroad.

The Move Away From Expats:

Traditionally, senior executives were encouraged to take assignments abroad through expatriate arrangements, with enhanced salary and expenses packages. However, as companies find themselves financially constrained, executive travel recruitment is increasingly undertaken using local contracts or commuter arrangements. With cheap flights available between many countries, executives are often happy to work Monday to Friday in one country, flying back to their home country at the weekend.

As a result, you may find applicants from abroad applying for senior vacancies, even where there are no expat arrangements on offer.

Advertising Your Vacancy:

When you want to attract applications from across the globe, the internet can be an extremely useful tool. However, with a massive number of recruitment websites available, how can you be sure that you are advertising your vacancy in the most visible location? By taking advice from global recruitment specialists, you can find out which recruitment websites are likely to give you the best return within your sector.

Social media may also play a role in executive travel recruitment because it enables potential candidates to find out more about your company and the role on offer before they commit to a potentially life-changing move. Business networking websites, such as LinkedIn, can help employers and recruitment professionals to take the initiative and carry out searches for individuals with the desired skill set.

Securing a Visa:

Although it offers many advantages, inter-country recruitment presents its own challenges. One of those is securing the right to work for the successful candidate. This is where an executive travel recruitment specialist can add value to your recruitment process. With a thorough understanding of the visa requirements of different countries, executive travel recruitment companies can help you to navigate through the complicated field of securing the necessary right to work.

The Challenges of Global Recruitment:

If you put in place an executive travel recruitment strategy that allows for applications from foreign candidates, you must also be aware of the challenges involved in helping your new recruits to adjust to a new culture. It is advantageous to be completely up front during the recruitment process about any disadvantages of living and working in the target country. Using an executive travel recruitment company to assist with this can be extremely helpful. Candidates are more likely to be honest about misgivings when speaking with an intermediary than they are at interview.

A structured induction programme is essential to help the new recruit settle in to the job. For anyone travelling from abroad, this may include tasks outside of work, such as setting up a bank account. A mentoring programme can also help a new recruit to settle. This provides someone to talk to who is outwith the line management structure, allowing the individual to share concerns and ask questions without fear that it will impact on any performance assessment by the line manager.

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