Skip to main content

Employer innovation that benefits the whole industry

We talk to Jessica Berry, Talent Manager of Firmdale Hotels and judge of the 2017 People Awards

“The recruitment process can be challenging. It’s not always seen as the most glamorous of roles within hospitality, but it’s a vital part of running hotels. All employers want to hire the right people and you have get that right from the very beginning.”

Jessica Berry, Talent Manager of Firmdale Hotels and one of our 2017 People Awards judges, feels that to attract top talent and to be recognised as a great place to work, “You need to enter People Awards.”

There is now one month left to enter the 2017 People Awards. Once again, we have a stellar array of over 40 industry experts and innovators in our judging panels, many winners in their own right. Last year, Firmdale Hotels proudly accepted our People Award for Candidate Experience.

We caught up with Jessica to understand more about her career in hospitality and what she thinks matters when it comes to innovation in recruitment.

Jessica Berry hails from Brisbane, Australia and originally studied Regional and Town Planning. Disenchanted with this career path, she landed a job at the 5-Star South Seas Island resort in Florida. Within a couple of months, she was running Conferences and Banqueting. Jessica fell in love with the world of hotels and was soon made the resort’s Wedding Co-ordinator. Upon her return to Australia, she continued to work in four and five-star hotels and by this time had moved into a sales role. She was gaining a solid grounding in hotel operations and in 2012, whilst at Sofitel, Jessica was offered the role of Events Manager at their hotel in St. James’, London. “I had the opportunity to run the Olympics Programme at the hotel,” Jessica said. “It was challenging, but really rewarding.”

Then came a turning point in her career. Jessica took stock and looked at what she really wanted to do; “I asked myself, what part of my job am I enjoying the most? And I decided it was recruitment.” After a spell at recruitment agencies, Jessica was contacted by Firmdale Hotels who were looking for a Talent Manager, somebody who was experienced in recruitment, but with a hotel background. “I was familiar with Firmdale as a brand, so I jumped at the chance.” Jessica has been with Firmdale Hotels now for three years and is loving every minute.

Jessica is looking forward to being a judge for the 2017 People Awards. “If you’re looking for a job in hospitality, you go to,” she said. “They are the leaders. If you’re looking for recognition of who does hospitality recruitment well, you look at People Awards. They’re unique in that they reward all stages of recruitment including induction and training in hospitality, and that’s special. Hospitality can be quite different to other sectors, so it’s nice to be acknowledged in this way.”

When judging this year’s awards, Jessica will be looking for evidence of successful innovation. “Employers who think outside the box,” she said, “programmes that have been implemented based on feedback from your team.” She laughed when she admitted to ‘loving a statistic’. “I love to see positive success stories with the statistics to back it up. Everybody loves a before-and-after tale!”

Jessica would encourage all hospitality employers to get involved with the 2017 People Awards. “It’s a real badge of honour to Firmdale Hotels to have won an award last year. We shout about it. We’re all competing in the same market, but an initiative that stands out from the competition can not only benefit you, it can benefit the whole industry. We all want candidates to have a great experience, but no matter what success we have, we have to improve. Things change and we have to keep challenging ourselves.”

Entering the 2017 People Awards couldn’t be easier. It’s free to enter and you can choose as many of our 13 categories as you wish to showcase your successes.  Entries close on Monday 3rd July 2017 and the shortlist will be announced in August. The glamorous awards ceremony will take place on 5th October 2017 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

Don’t hesitate to contact our People Awards team with any questions at