When interviewing hospitality professionals, clients occasionally request presentations or action plans from candidates, to further evaluate their qualifications for the role.
For instance, Sales candidates are asked to prepare a marketing or action plan that they would execute, should they get the role, within their first 30/60/90 days on the job. I have also had a Public Relations candidate asked to prepare a launch plan for an opening property.
I have two views on this practice. For a sales candidate, demonstrating their understanding of the brand, market targets, goals of the organization and culture through preparing an sales action plan, is a great way to assess the candidate. Assuming the candidate has had a thorough interview process, with several property stakeholders, the presentation shows that the candidate listens, comprehends and is strategic. It also demonstrates that the candidate has good presentation skills, essential to their sales process.
Conversely, I recently had a Public Relations candidate (one of several candidates in final interviews and all asked for the same plan), asked to submit a six month PR launch plan for the new property. My candidate, I felt, had a credible concern that she was giving away her “creative value”, by putting her ideas and resources on paper for the client. This put the candidate in a difficult position. While she wanted to be competitive and put her best ideas forward, she didn’t want to give away all her resources for a position that she may not be successful in achieving. Potentially her ideas and plan could be used by the property as part of their pre-opening plan by the successful candidate. Clearly, I recommended she present her best work, but I understood her concern. My preference would be for the client to ask for successful plans that the candidate had executed in prior roles.
While asking candidates to present a plan as part of the final interview process, I think the key is to be realistic about expectations, make sure the process is not be too arduous, or that the content be construed as the candidate giving away their value.