Tom McAll began fostering the idea for HospoHire after returning from study in Vietnam, and looking for a way to combine his passion for hospitality along with his business ability.
Tom is one of our 2019 CoM X members, a program by Hub Australia, City of Melbourne, and RMIT Activator to help hospitality and retail-focused startups grow and succeed.
What inspired you to start HospoHire?
While I was studying at university I was privy to everybody applying for jobs at financial institutions and watching how that process unfolded.
The really large businesses were able to take thousands of applications from graduates and filter them down until they had a shortlist of high-quality candidates.
I took this experience and contrasted it against what I saw happening in my own workplace, a hospitality venue in Collingwood.
It was part of a larger group of venues, and people would bring in CV’s until there was a massive pile that the team would struggle to wade through to get the right people.
It’s all very different with hospitality – someone can sound amazing on paper but as a very physical, skills-based industry, it’s necessary to have someone skilled , whether it’s barista skills for a café or knowing mixology in a busy bar.
I started wondering if there was a way to apply the models larger corporations used in the hospitality industry.
I’ve worked in hospitality for a long time, so I was lucky to have lots of contacts in the industry to reach out to for feedback. I was able to find that the pain points were more specific to large-scale recruiting for new and larger venues and groups.
What are your aims for HospoHire?
My hope is that we’re able to work together to put the right people in the right roles and offer more background for selection.
Traditionally there’s a very high turnover in the hospitality industry and a lot of time invested in training and upskilling new staff – with a tool to like this I think there is a potential to add value in the form of retention and time saving for both admin and training aspects.
How did you take HospoHire from concept to product?
My first steps were creating user flow and data – mapping out how everything would work together.
I wanted to use this to find what the business case was and raise funds to move onto creating the software. I know there is a lot of demand for something like my product in the market, but I want to make sure I do it right.
When it comes to something like hiring staff, doing it imperfectly is to the detriment of the business, my customer.
The point of HospoHire is to deliver them the right team members through the right logic testing and data.
What is the key to hiring in the hospitality industry?
In hospitality, so much of the key to finding the right staff is based on character and cultural fit – there’s almost a performance art to being in that environment!
Skills you can teach and train, but so much of the personality and culture fit required to succeed in hospitality isn’t something taught easily.
We’ve created the HospoHire culture test – a fun and almost gamified experience where applicants do a culture test, a skills test, and then the program will look through their references algorithmically to generate recommendations.
Have you ever participated in anything like the CoM X program?
I’ve done a few accelerators in the past and I found them really beneficial especially working alongside other people going through the same issues and hurdles as me.
It’s something called the cohort effect – you get a group of people working on similar projects and they’re able to share their learnings and support each other throughout.
The CoM X program has been great, especially because it’s very flexible in adapting to what our specific group needs.
The institutions behind CoM X (RMIT Activator, Hub Australia, and City of Melbourne) have been advocates for every one of the participants, and the mentoring provided through the program is incredible