Hilton, which operates 6,676 hotels around the world and was named Fortune’s #1 Best Place to Work in the U.S. in 2020, welcomes 36 college interns to their corporate office every summer. Hilton promises interns a robust and intense learning experience over the 10-week program including a specific project with measurable goals, mentoring, property tours, and access to Hilton University, Hilton’s internal corporate learning platform. Bottom line: by the end of the summer each intern will have developed their own personal and professional skillset and have some fun! On average Hilton receives thousands of applications for these coveted positions, we spoke to Mandy Luczak, Director, Recruitment Programs for Hilton who runs the summer intern program, and Melissa Castro, a senior at FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, and a current intern in the Food & Beverage Development team for Hilton’s Focused Service and All Suites teams, to get the inside scoop.
Hi Mandy, what does Hilton hope to offer corporate summer interns? We strive to offer a well-rounded experience that is centered around the intern’s personal goals and skills. Each intern develops a summer plan with their manager and receives evaluations at the middle and end of the program where they receive formal feedback to help them develop and grow. Every intern is also matched with a mentor who shares their interests. On top of that, interns have access to our corporate learning platform, Hilton University, where we’ve developed specific resources, learning content, engagement opportunities, and a fun virtual space for interns to learn from each other. Within Hilton University, they also have access to LinkedIn Learning, where they can take advantage of a wide array of content like resume writing, networking, presentation skills, professional goal setting, and personal branding.
Our corporate summer interns also have the opportunity to visit hotel properties (virtually for the 2021 season) to see what a day in the life of a Hilton property Team Member looks like, from the heart of house, food & beverage spaces to housekeeping and event spaces. They also engage with senior leaders, including the CEO, from all business aspects during the Executive Speaker Series. On top of the formal programs and responsibilities, we also have fun together! We sponsor coffee chats and lunch bunch meetings as well as golf or baseball games. This year, as our interns were virtual, we hosted a cooking demonstration with one of our Hilton chefs!
What do you look for when selecting summer interns and what are your top 3 tips? We look for future Team Members who can uphold our Hilton values: Hospitality, Integrity, Leadership, Teamwork, Ownership, and Now (which spells HILTON and with the last two words meaning taking responsibility for your actions and working with a sense of urgency). My top tips would be: update and know your resume, apply early – don’t wait for the deadline, and smile and just be yourself!
How can students prepare themselves to look for an internship next summer? Join Hilton’s talent network: jobs.hilton.com, prepare your resumes, get recommendations from professors, and do research to see what opportunities are available.
Now let’s hear from Melissa, what are your top tips for other students looking to work at Hilton? Overall, not just specific to Hilton, my approach has been to be proactive in my job search. Three tips that have worked for me.
Make an effort to speak and connect with people in the company you’d love to work for, even if you don’t know anyone there.
Be fearless and don’t limit yourself to a position just because you don’t have enough experience, demonstrate your willingness to learn, and sell yourself in ways that you’d fit in that position.
Be open to opportunities, you never know how a position could positively change your life and career; you should always be open to pursuing a new opportunity!
What was the Hilton interview process like? What do you think set you apart? The interviewing process was not easy! I went through several interviews and as I would move forward, I began to get nervous. One of the things that I feel set me apart is my determination and willingness to learn. With each interview I obtained, I would ensure that I knew a bit of the background of who I was speaking to so that I could connect better with them during my call. In addition, I was honest and would admit to things I might not have been fully acquainted with but told my interviewer that I am opening to learning if I am given the opportunity to do so.
Where are you studying? Where are you from? I am studying Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University. I was born and raised in Miami, FL!
Why did you want to work for Hilton? I wanted to work for Hilton because their company values--integrity, inclusion, and empathetic leadership--and their work culture resonated with me. I like that Hilton’s focus on the guest experience is achieved through storytelling and authentic interaction. Plus, Hilton is known for being one of the Top Places to Work. Based on my summer experience, Hilton has lived up to my expectations.
Tell us about the work you’ve done summer at Hilton? I was hired as a Food & Beverage intern. As hospitality was one of the highly impacted industries during the peak periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, major modifications were made to all F&B offerings to keep both guests and Team Members safe in Hilton’s Focused and All Suites brands, this includes Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites and Home2 brands. This summer, we started bringing back offerings that were modified due to COVID-19. This began with the most important meal of the day, breakfast! Starting July 1st, Hilton brought back hot breakfast, it was really exciting to see the process leading up to how this service was reintroduced. We then assessed how the hot breakfast was working and how could we improve the service, which was really interesting.
What do you like best about the program? One of my favorite things so far that I love about this program is the inclusivity! Everyone has been incredibly welcoming, and it is genuinely something I truly have appreciated from day one. There are obvious title differences between my manager and director, but you couldn’t tell within meetings due to their abilities and commitment to task completion as a team. I like the willingness of everyone to help me achieve my maximum potential, when I ask for help or feel stuck, my team at Hilton is there to help.
I’ve also enjoyed learning new things about the industry as well as finding innovative ways to be more efficient to improve the guest experience! The “future of breakfast” project was a great one to sink my teeth into, it challenged my thinking and taught me to be more flexible in my problem-solving.