Tell us a little about yourself
My name is Rob Zajko, I am Senior Director, Talent Acquisition Europe, Middle East and Africa at Hilton Worldwide, and I began my career at Hilton Worldwide in 2011.
What did you speak about at WTM this year?
This year I had the great pleasure of speaking at the ITT: Future You Conference to an audience of 400 students on the topic of why hospitality is such a fantastic industry to work in. I outlined the various job opportunities available, highlighted some of the key skills and behaviours that hospitality companies like us look for in new recruits, and detailed some of the fantastic programmes Hilton Worldwide offer to graduates to help them succeed in our company.
Why are you focusing on career advice?
We recognize the importance of attracting and retaining the best talent for a career in hospitality and we’re passionately committed to our responsibility as one of the largest hospitality companies in the world.
We believe that connecting with everyone, including young people, and tapping into their energy and ideas contributes to our collective success. Young people are the largest demographic in the world today. Preparing and employing them in meaningful jobs are keys to a brighter future.
What initiatives does Hilton Worldwide have in place to support graduates entering the Hospitality industry?
In 2013 we pledged to impact one million young people in the lead up to our centenary in 2019 and we’re supporting this commitment through a number of different initiatives across EMEA. Our range of activity to support this aim includes targeting young people at all ages and stages of education, but at a graduate level, a couple of particularly exciting programmes on offer include:
This structured training program is designed to fast track graduates to run their own hotel within 5-8 years after having completed the program. It is a rigorous and adventurous ground-up program that will rapidly elevate skills. Graduates selected for the program experience two 9-month placements within our hotels that allow for exposure to many different departments, people and cultural backgrounds. It’s an exciting time, with opportunities to network with hotel leaders during meetings, dinners and cocktail receptions. Each of the placements as an Elevator requires Graduates to take on an actual business project with bottom-line impact, and the chance to be supported by senior managers as they conduct feasibility studies, document findings, and present the final project to the hotel management team.
Finesse is a 36-month training program which includes two 12-month placements in our hotels in Europe, the Middle East and/or Africa. Throughout the placements, participants gain valuable experience in all of the main Finance functions while also being exposed to Operations, Business Development and Human Resources. After completion of this program, each person will be assigned to a full-time Finance role with the goal of fast-tracking their career to a Finance Director position within 5-8 years. During the program, participants take part in off-the-job training, work on business-driven projects, and study for their CIMA Professional Finance qualification. They are also supported throughout the programme by mentoring from a Regional Finance Director.
We are proud that all of our graduate-level recruitment activity, which also includes a range of Management Development Programmes, offer excellent support and guidance to those who take part. For example, all Finesse participants meet regularly with an assigned Regional Financial Director, and all those on the Elevator programme work with a GM mentor throughout their training. In doing so, not only are they given the opportunities to succeed, but also the support and guidance to help them achieve their potential.