With 12 unique properties in the UK capital and a new super-boutique hotel on the way, Edwardian Hotels London mean it when they say “Innovation is at the heart of everything we do”. In our exclusive interview, Front Office Operations Manager, and 2015 alumnus, Niki Lahtinen, reveals what he looks for in candidates and why he finds it at Les Roches.
Innovation, service and culture are three powerful pillars of the privately owned Edwardian Hotels brand, and act as a guide when Niki is recruiting new colleagues. “The reason we come to Les Roches is we find here passionate, career-driven individuals,” he says. “A lot of them very international, have most likely stayed in hotels in the past in their lives, and they are very aware of what the lifestyle brings them.”
“Being a graduate from here in 2015, I know what a lot of these people are capable of. It would be an honor as well to have any of them joining us in our own company.”
Front-end and back-end roles
In one statement, Niki summed up the diverse career paths available in the modern hospitality industry.
“We have positions in food & beverage, front office, marketing, HR, finance, revenue management, even IT development. So, these are all career possibilities that can be provided by us.”
Recruiter insight: What I look for in a candidate
When you’re part of the Les Roches alumni network, you automatically want to give back and help your fellow hospitality professionals to succeed. Niki was on-point with this when he shared what he looks for in hospitality candidates:
- “I would be very curious to see if they would be the ones to approach me, or if I need to engage the conversation with them.”
- “I want to see how they would introduce themselves. Would they actually mention anything about themselves? Would they be open about what they are looking for? Would they straight up come and tell me “Hi, I’m Niki, I’m looking for an internship with you starting from July until January”, for example?”
- “And then of course, how confident do they feel? I know that everybody is always nervous when they come to these presentations. But we want them to feel like they are at home with us.”
More than first impressions
In our industry, first impressions count for a lot, especially when greeting clientele. But when it comes to recruiting the right talent at on-campus Career Days, Niki also looks beyond the initial introduction. “We are not there just to judge from first impact, we will see how do they perform or behave throughout an entire conversation.”
“Being exclusive is very difficult”
As guest expectations and technology continue to evolve, Niki sees both the challenges and opportunities of maintaining market relevance, while staying true to the Edwardian brand.
“I think that personalization and technology might be the two biggest trends that are right now growing in the hospitality industry. We’ve realized now that being exclusive is very difficult. You need to be very aware that you want to be open to everybody.”
“Technology is a tool that we must learn how to use in very subtle ways. We don’t need to bombard guests with applications that they need to download, or force them to do an online check-in. But there can be things such as data acquisition to understand trends that are emerging or that our guests are enjoying.”
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