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Baha Mar COO confident on hiring

Anticipates heavy demand for jobs will help offset skills gap
  • Paul Pusateri.

Guardian Business Editor

Published: Oct 07, 2013

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Baha Mar’s new chief operating officer has committed to giving “every Bahamian who wants to step up and take a shot” a chance at a career at Baha Mar, as another senior executive anticipates the company “doubling” the 10,000 contacts made with potential employees by the time Baha Mar opens.

Chief Operating Officer Paul Pusateri told the media in his first interview that his experience in hotel openings, with companies such as Four Seasons globally, gives him confidence that Baha Mar will be able to attract the number and quality of staff that it needs with ease.

His comments came shortly after the Inter-American Development Bank recently suggested there were “serious concerns” over the ability of Baha Mar to soak up unemployed Bahamians due to a “skills gap” in this nation that has left 60 percent of companies struggling to recruit appropriate workers.

Pusateri said: “I’m new to the island but I’ve done many openings, openings with companies like the Four Seasons all over the world, and we’ve done it in countries were everyone would be shocked that we were able to open a property with a culture that transcended the culture of that country.

“What I’ve seen is when you design and develop a property like this, a campus like this, you have more demand than you need. I believe everyone is going to want to work at Baha Mar. In my short time here, with all the people I’ve talked to, there’s a tremendous amount of excitement about the project, [even though] we have not begun to communicate why it’s going to be something very unique to be working at Baha Mar [and] our strategy for that. We think as we start doing that there’ll be a tremendous demand for people to start working here.”

The former Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Chief Executive Officer said he has been very impressed to date with the Bahamians he is working with at the resort.

“I am dealing with a handful of young people who are some of the brightest young people I have ever worked with, and they are Bahamians that were either in London or France or the United States working and they have made the decision to come back and work at Baha Mar,” he said.

“What that tells me is there is a very patriotic connection to working at Baha Mar and to me that tells me about the basis of how we develop our culture and go through our hiring process.”

Both Pusateri and Robert Sands, Baha Mar’s senior vice president of External and Governmental Affairs, said that the number one quality Baha Mar will be seeking in new recruits is the right attitude to providing service.

“We are not looking for individuals with the prerequisite skill sets first, we are looking for someone with a hospitality disposition and an approach to be able to work in this environment where world class guests have an expectation for service delivery. That will be the initial criteria, then we will give them the skill sets to execute their jobs,” said Sands.

Sands said that with its not “Nassau-centric” approach to hiring, which has seen the company undertake recruitment drives throughout the US, UK, and Canada among Bahamians, he feels the company has a strategy to “mitigate against any shortfalls” that could otherwise impact a successful hiring initiative.

“Recognizing that having touched some 10,000 (potential employees), and havi­ng a database of 6,500 (resumes), some 500 plus days before opening, speaks well to the fact that that number will double and will give us the opportunity to make the selection of people who we can put into a pool from which the brands can make their selections. We are extremely encouraged by the amount of response that Baha Mar has gotten,” he added.

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