Four highly competitive hospitality recruiters have learned through the years to cooperate with one another in their pursuit of management-quality college graduates.
Recruiters for Red Lobster , Sodexo USA , Hyatt  and Marriott International  have been working together for nearly 10 years as an informal organization known as the Hospitality Industry Recruiting Executives. They host booths together at college job fairs and industry conferences and fund a $2,000 scholarship every year for a student who is a member of the National Society for Minorities in Hospitality.
“It’s a great way to collaborate and learn what other companies are doing to attract college students,” said Mollie Moore, university relations manager for Red Lobster, the casual-dining chain owned by Darden Restaurants .
Other operators are not excluded, but they have to be committed to the organization, its programs and events, said Randy Goldberg, vice president of recruiting for the North American Operations of Hyatt.
“We’ve not had anyone commit to all the events we’ve all committed to and consistently commit to every year,” Goldberg said.
The recruiters also host a private reception for about 200 students and professors during the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago.
Most of the students who attend the reception are already in Chicago for the NRA Educational Foundation’s Salute to Excellence, an event at which the country’s top hospitality students and professors enjoy educational seminars and an awards banquet. Other students who attend the reception are in Chicago as guests of operators. This year a Raising Cane’s  franchisee in Las Vegas, the Micatrotto Restaurant Group, is paying the way for two University of Nevada, Las Vegas, students to attend.
The HIRE collaboration is a way to share expenses and leads on talent, said Jerry Paulison, senior manager of Talent Acquisition for Sodexo USA.
“If I find a great candidate who really wants to work in hotels, I can refer them to Randy or Stacey [Veden, director of university relations and recruiting for Marriott],” Paulison said. “Or if Mollie finds someone who wants to work in contract management, she’ll refer them to me.”
Their collaboration also demonstrates what hospitality is all about, said Veden of Marriott.
“When you see us all together—we may be competing, but we work very well together,” Veden said.