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Hospitality Design


Updated: Apr 13, 2023

By: Doris Hager, Principal of Hager Design International Inc.

I’ve been running our design firm for over 30 years and have hired many people in those years. In a recent discussion with my partners, I was asked to share my knowledge around hiring and it made me think of some of my experiences. I thought I’d share it in this blog.

We’ve hired some wonderful and talented designers, sales professionals and administrative support but have also hired or interviewed some doozies.They are shown here in 7 categories of what to avoid and run from.


This is a candidate that has had a major event in their life recently. Could be the death of a close family member or spouse or a major life altering event as loosing their last job or working in a career they no longer love. This person does not know what their future should look like and are merely following what they should be doing versus what they love doing.

For the employer it means that this person, once they find themselves, will most likely leave. Their performance may not even be where its expected as they are grieving or their heart is not in it. It’s a shame that the event has happened in this person’s life but as a company we have a need to fulfill the position with the best and most available candidate. A person in transition is not fully available to do their best.


Well, who hasn’t done that? We certainly have a number of times, when deadlines were colliding, and we needed manpower to get the work out. We don’t listen in an interview, project our own wishes upon the candidate to fulfill our desperate need for ANY body to do the work and ultimately this backfires. No one has time to train the desperation hire, they are left to their own devices in a strange new company and the expectations are high of their performance whether suited for that position or not. The team leader gets frustrated as they often have to redo the work they are expecting of the new hire which means more time is spent getting the work out than if the person was not working there.

No desperation hires have ever worked out in my experience.


You can’t get a word in edgewise with this person. They love to talk about themselves and their many accomplishments and love to let you know how wonderful they are in the interview. If you do manage to get a question or word in, they never answer the question fully or directly. Their listening skills are on pause.

From my experience this person oversells themselves and their capabilities. They set the bar high for our expectations of them and typically underdeliver as they do not have the experience but expect the paycheck.


This person forgets to bring their portfolio, has not had time to look at our website or find out about us and overall is unprepared. I’ve had a number of people show up without their resume and expect me, without prearrangement, to have a computer waiting and ready so they can pull up their portfolio from the internet or USB. What happened to the person that brings multiple copies of their resume for us to write on and brings their laptop loaded and ready to show us their credentials? I guess those were olden times.

As well they have no questions prepared for us and if quizzed usually don’t really understand the role we are trying to fill. Doesn’t seem like a winner candidate!


Hmmm, don’t get me started with this type. Showing up late for an interview shows a complete lack of respect for the potential employer or their time and sets a bad precedence of what is to come. There are always real reasons to be late, have the courtesy to call, be prepared with our phone number so you can explain why you are late. Real reasons matter and every interviewer understands if there is a real accident, something real happened when leaving the house and is prepared to reschedule. Everyone has a busy schedule, be mindful how this comes across.

The habit of being late is ingrained in this person if they don’t have a valid reason for being late to the first interview and keeps everyone waiting. Brings up the question of will they also be late on other deliverables? How will they earn the respect of others and our clients if they don’t respect their time? It may become an issue if hired.


Changing jobs every 6 months should be a clear signal that this person gets bored easily and does not know what they want out of life. 6 months isn’t long enough to know if the job is the right one. At 3 months both parties know they want to continue or end the relationship. At 6 months the hire is just getting acquainted with the procedures of the new company. It takes 2 years to fully understand how a company operates, its goals and procedures and how to represent that company properly.

We put a lot of energy into each hire and a revolving door hire upsets the company as they now have to search again for a new candidate and repeat the process putting us behind by at least 9 months.

Be wary of this hire it may cost you more time and frustration.


I’ve had people show up in clothes that do not fit, skirts that do not relate to the bulky sweater on top and wrinkled shirts and uncombed hair. Clearly none of these were intentional fashion statements. We don’t expect a decked-out fashion model to walk through the door every time but we do expect a professional attire when coming to an interview and combed hair. I’m not sure what these people were thinking but they don’t get invited back for second interview.

Let’s get back to dressing properly and do some research before showing up for possibly the job of a lifetime. Professionalism is not dead, on the contrary as we are going back to the office (we’ve never stopped as essential service to the construction industry) let’s be proud of where we work and how we look. The sloppy look is dead!

In conclusion when hiring - trust your instincts and your experience. If any of these 7 types of people show up for an interview, show them the door. There is someone else out there that could provide a better opportunity for them and someone better suited for your organization.

In our company, when a professional candidate shows up and makes it to the second interview, they will have passed a number of unspoken tests. Our initial ‘tests’ start from the professional resume, the phone interview, the responses, the follow up and the candidate’s character that shows up before we even start with the skill testing or checking of references. Once a candidate passes our initial ‘tests’ and gets short listed, we have a thorough testing system that allows us to analyze a candidate on their technical abilities and other skills. The life skills they must have before they apply.


I would love to hear some of your experiences, feel free to email me at or reach out via LinkedIn. Doris Hager is the founder of Hager Design International Inc. a Vancouver based international interior design firm.

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