SEATTLE—Management and consulting firm Columbia Hospitality, based here, has created an executive search program designed to place highly skilled and qualified candidates into positions in the hospitality industry.
It couldn’t come at a better time for an industry that has furloughed or laid off millions of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Columbia Hospitality has long had the desire to formalize this line of business, having helped so many clients through the years. COVID-19 has been a tremendously challenging time for our industry and the talented people who drive it,” said Greg Prescott, the company’s director of people strategy, whose team leads the program. “Columbia took the opportunity to not sit idle, rather to double down, diversifying our business model and pursuing the same entrepreneurial spirit that has guided our success and evolution over the past 25 years. As our industry responds and recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, it is imperative to have strong leadership. We, Columbia Hospitality, have the connections and experience to support our industry by assisting with finding and hiring the strongest leaders to help lead a successful recovery.”
According to the company, the program has placed more than 6,000 individuals during a period when the organization increased its portfolio by more than 350%. Since the program began, it has earned a 100% placement rate; 80% of all placements are still employed.
“There is no better time than the present to engage talent across the world and support those who have either been impacted by the pandemic or are simply ready to accept their next challenge,” said Prescott. “We look forward to serving as a matchmaker for businesses and people alike looking at their next chapter.”
Besides using state-of-the-art technology to source, select and place executives, Columbia Hospitality finds success through a more hands-on approach to talent acquisition and placement, noted Prescott.
“Columbia invests considerable time getting to know each client and the ins and outs of their business,” he said. “This provides an expeditious interview process on the client side, plus an improved candidate experience with a clear understanding of the hiring process. Each candidate will also spend considerable time with senior leaders across our organization to ensure that Columbia’s highest recommended candidates are aligned with our clients’ core values; that the candidates are fully invested in the opportunity; and that all relevant metrics are fully vetted. Said differently, candidates presented to our clients are endorsed by subject-matter experts.”
According to Prescott, Columbia Hospitality successfully placed leaders at The Rainier Club, Novelty Hill Januik Winery and Block 41 Event Venue, among several others, prior to the formal launch of the program. He added, “In addition, we have found two niche markets where we are quickly becoming recognized for our efforts, including master-plan communities and luxury guest ranches, with successful placements across several states.”
The company has placed candidates in high-ranking positions such as CEO, general manager and executive chef.
“Given Columbia Hospitality’s diverse background and operations in nearly every vertical of the hospitality space, we bring tremendous talent experience in nearly all hospitality-related positions such as sales and marketing, accounting and finance, engineering and operations,” noted Prescott.
The hiring process is extensive, with Columbia Hospitality guiding the candidates along the way. “Our process includes interviews with various Columbia Hospitality senior leaders as well as the client, followed by on-site property visits, a criminal background screening and reference checks,” said Prescott. “Depending on the client, this process may differ slightly to include activities such as meeting with the management team or being asked to present to a group of stakeholders on a specific topic. Columbia will also help guide compensation negotiations, relocation, housing assistance and so forth.”