Jobseekers should know how to present themselves on paper and during an interview: Sayed Haggag of Marriott International
Sayed Haggag is the Director of Talent Acquisition at Marriott International Middle East & Africa. Sayed holds a Bachelor degree in Foreign Trade and Business Administration from Helwan University in Egypt. He spent most of his career with Marriott International, and has an experience that spans over more than a decade in the area of Human Resource Management (HRM). Sayed’s expertise lies in several areas which include competency management, succession planning, and leadership development. Here’s how our interview with Sayed went.
1. How do you like living and working in the UAE?
Dubai is a perfect city to live in; it is a cosmopolitan city with a thriving cultural diversity. Despite the increasingly diverse nationalities working and living in the city, I found Dubai to be upholding its Arabic tradition very strongly. I feel comfortable raising my children in such an environment and cherish the chance to interact with a multinational workforce.
2. What is your average day at work like?
I think the question is no longer relevant; things have changed a lot with today’s technologies, so that one doesn’t really disconnect. With the internet and smartphones, my weeks are truly 24/7. But, if you mean my days at the office, then it is an average of 10 hours a day. I do my best to keep weekend for family activities.
3. What is the biggest challenge you face in hiring talent?
Finding the right talent is a challenge; it is how you match the available talent with the candidate profile for the job. Working conditions and the aggressive business demands require getting the right fit first time, second chances are no longer viable. Businesses cannot afford rapid turnover, as it generates an unstable environment and a lack of performance consistency.
Customer expectations make it even more challenging. I think that the level of service quality within the industry has dropped lately, but within Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton hotels we do not tolerate any compromise when it comes to guest satisfaction, as we believe that there is no second chance. We strive to find the right talent who can fit in our culture and truly deliver the company promise.
4. What is your advice to someone looking to start their career in the hospitality industry?
I would say two things are very important; the 2Ps of Presentation and Persistence. Jobseekers should know how to present themselves whether on paper or during an interview. My advice to all job seekers is to know your strengths, polish them, and sell them. Remember that nobody is perfect – you are as strong as other candidates, just know your strengths.
5. What has been the highlight of your career?
The opening of three Marriott properties in Doha – Renaissance Hotel, Courtyard By Marriott, and Marriott Executive Apartments Doha City Center – helped me gain significant professional development. I also gained a brand new perspective in international talent acquisition.
6. What do you read to keep abreast of industry developments?
I read many publications that keep me updated with developments in my field of work such as Hotelier Middle East, Caterer, and People Management Magazine, in addition to a number of other industry-related websites.
7. How do you think the Middle East has evolved when it comes to HR policies and practices?
The HR function in the Middle East has evolved a lot and has taken a wide step comparing to a few years back due to the current political and economic situation in the region. HR professionals now recognize the importance of having transparent employee relation practices and thus design competitive retention policies. We have seen some markets decline in certain locations while others have been flourishing. This fact mandates employers to maintain effective retention strategies so that they are not trimmed out of their best talent who might leave for other more flourishing markets.
8. Anything else you would like to share with our Bayt.com community?
I would like to thank Bayt.com for the opportunity to share my views with fellow HR professionals. Bayt.com is definitely the site which we should all support as the leading website of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa. At Marriott International, we believe that our partnership with Bayt.com it is a true win-win relationship.