Hints from HR: Ben Kazakoff, HR Manager, AHS Hospitality

Reading job ads is like Job Seeking 101. It’s a fundamental part of looking for a job.

The question is, are you reading them right?

Ben Kazakoff, Human Resources Manager of AHS Hospitality says, “A lot of people read job adverts and focus on what they can’t do, instead flip it around.”

In this edition of “Hints from HR”, where we ask the people who matter, Ben shares his personal and professional insights on what job seekers shouldn’t hold back on.

Read on to find out more…

First, a bit of background on AHS Hospitality

AHS Hospitality is Australia’s foremost and complete outsourced service provider for hotels and accommodations in Asia Pacific. Responsible for the provision of accommodation services in Australia and New Zealand for over 8,000,000 rooms a year, AHS employs over 6,000 team members, servicing a range of hotels from 3 to 5-star, as well as luxury and boutique sites and offers opportunities for a wide range of careers, from room attendants and maintenance positions to senior management roles. 

AHS is committed to providing a safe, caring and supportive environment where team members can grow and develop their careers. Comprehensive inductions, ongoing job training and strict safety policies are all part of the AHS way. They are also an equal-opportunity employer and welcome and celebrate cultural diversity within their company.

Now, meet Ben

When you were 9 years old, what did you want to be when you “grew up?”

I wanted to play basketball in the NBA.

What was your first job?

My first job was behind the candy bar at Village Cinemas.

How long have you worked in HR/recruitment?

12 years – I started in the job network, then moved to recruitment and finally became an HR Generalist.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I enjoy developing people and helping them grow in their roles.

If you could go back and tell your teenage-self one thing related to jobs/career, what would be?

There are some days that are longer than others so pick a career/industry that you have a strong interest in as you really need to enjoy what you.

Hints from Ben

What I look for in candidates: 

When I am meeting with potential employees, I’m really looking for attitude as well as your ability to learn and grow. If you’re sitting with me in an interview, I want to know what you can do for my business. What I’m wondering is, “Can I grow this person beyond the role they are applying for?”

To me, the most employable skills a candidate could have are: 

Attitude, honesty, teamwork and communication.

My advice to applicants who want to stand out: 

Be prepared. Do a little research on the company you’re applying for and be selective about what job you apply for.

Something you might not know about working for AHS Hospitality:

AHS sits quietly behind the names of our clients however we are Australia’s leading provider of outsourced cleaning services in the accommodation industry employing over 6,500 people. We provide services for some of Australia’s biggest hotel chains.

The biggest mistake you could make: 

Being late for an interview and not calling or notifying the interviewer. Even if you are running a few minutes late, a call 15 minutes prior to your interview will go a long way.

The first thing I notice about a resume

The way it is set out. What information is the person showing me first and is it relevant to the role they are applying for. Recruiters review a large number of CVs and want to see very quickly if you have the ability to do the job they are recruiting for.

The first thing I notice about a candidate at an interview

Their presentation. That first impression is critical. I take into consideration the candidate’s handshake, eye contact, smile and body language to see if the person is genuinely interested in being there.

Questions a candidate should never ask: 

“What does this job involve or what do you guys do?”……..Straight away I think this person has no idea what they’re doing here.

“Have I got the job?”………I have been asked this so many times during an interview. There may be a number of people being interviewed for the role and you could be the first person interviewed it’s unfair to put the recruiter on the spot like that.

Anything relating to the number of sick days.

Don’t shy away from asking: 

Any question relating to the culture of the team or company. Finding the right role is a two-way street it has to be the right fit for both the company and the candidate.

“What training and/or development is offered at the company?”

“After this interview, what are the next steps?”

“Is there anything from my responses today that you would like further information on?”

Questions like these show that you are engaged and interested in knowing more about the role/company.

Don’t let this hold you back: 

If you don’t tick all the boxes. A lot of people read job adverts and focus on what they can’t do, instead flip it around. Focus on what you can do really well and figure out how to bridge the gap on the things you can’t do. Have a response ready for when you are asked about it at the interview, this way you show the interviewer that you have given thought to your application and that you are willing to learn.

What I want to know about you as a person: 

I want to know if you’re an honest person and what your motivators are, what keeps you engaged and coming into work?

What homework I expect you to have done before the interview:

That you know who you are meeting for the interview, where the interview is taking place and how to get there. Also doing at least basic research on the company and role goes a long way.

My advice to a candidate who wasn’t successful:

Ask for feedback and be prepared to listen to the response. When receiving that feedback, don’t argue with the person but take it on board. If you do get feedback you don’t agree with then think about why/how you responded to questions asked during the interview and how you might respond better in the next interview.


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