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Hospitality and tourism industry is all about delivering satisfaction to the customers. Various type of services offered in this industry requires the service provider to recruit the employees with relevant competency in order to fulfill the customer satisfaction. According to Obadic and Maric (2009), this industry is the backbone of a country’s economy due to the increasing importance of labor force in providing services to the customers. This circumstance will open up the chances to the institutions to produce graduates in hospitality and tourism industry in order to get employed after graduating.
As opposed to traditional belief, this industry does not go after intelligence and skills. Instead, hospitality hires job applicants who have the right personality (Rok, 2013). There are multiple findings done by previous research that conclude employers prefer job seekers or graduates with excellent presentation and interpersonal skills.
Primarily, hospitality courses expose its students to work that requires high customer contact such as receptionist and waiter during their internship. This, in turn, increases the need for students to present themselves well so that guests will be pleased with the service that they received.
Such presentation skills can also be developed whilst students are doing their internship in case they have not acquired such skills yet. Perhaps after getting a clear picture of how the industry works, students are able to shape their personality into what the industry deems desirable. Employers also look for graduates who are able to work best in teams, possess positive behavior, open towards experience, dependable and goal-oriented (Juricko, 2013).
According to Branine (2011), employers in EU countries have similar views that having the motivation, problem-solving and communication skills are crucial in those who wish to work in the hospitality industry. This heightens the importance of having good personality traits. Psychometric tests are usually performed to measure graduates’ personality before they are recruited; it is a technique used to solve the persistent issue that has been happening in this industry which is the lack of competitiveness, motivation, and conscientiousness in those who wish to seek jobs in hospitality (Kusluvan and Kusluvan, 2000).
Personality comes from the Latin word persona which means a façade used by people acting in theatres to display their roles in a play or to mask their true self. Personality is generally known as a person’s differences in the way they behave, feel or think. This is what makes humans unique. Traits are characteristics of anything that is a part of the environment. Attributes consist of physical, functional and operational. In this case, it is more focused on functional attributes. Functional attributes are morphological, phrenological or behavioral, structural, physiological characteristics that affect organism’s performance or functions. As cited by Cashian, Clark and Richardson (2015), Yorke (2004) says that employability is: “A set of achievements – skills, understandings and personal attributes – that make graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their chosen occupations, which benefit themselves, the workforce, the community and the economy” Such definition implies that Yorke believes graduates have to obtain specific skills and personality traits to be employed. Moreover, ‘graduate experiences’ should be emphasized as well. ‘Graduate experiences’ go along with employability skills which will then give graduates advantage in terms of generating their own distinguishable identity (Hinchcliffe and Jolly, 2011).
Once a graduate possesses a certain set of experiences like values and intellect, people will automatically perceive the graduate as being aware of social values and one that has the capability to communicate the right information and creating new ideas. Andrews and Higson (2008) elaborate on the types of skills that contribute to graduate employability such as the capability to work under pressure, good communication, willingness to learn and etcetera. All of this skills can be found in individuals with different personality traits. We can see that employability is closely related with skills and experiences hence enabling the researchers to identify the kind of personality traits that influence factors of employability in graduates. Big Five model is a tool that can help determine individuals’ behavior based on five dimensions which are Extraversion (sociable and energetic), Neuroticism (emotionally unstable and pessimistic), Openness to Experience (curious and have an eye for art), Agreeableness (caring and trustworthy), and Conscientiousness (responsible and hard-working); it has helped researchers to find out the necessary data needed in relation to students’ personality traits in an educational setting (Chamorro-Premuzic, Furnham, & Lewis, 2007). Therefore, skills like excellent communication and experiences like values can easily be linked to extraversion which is easily defined as individuals who are sociable and energetic.
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