Spotlight On...


...Liz McGivern

Director of HR and Training

Red Carnation Hotels

What were you like at school? How would your teachers describe you?

My attention span was not good and I loved the social side of school. I asked a lot of questions and I was very cheeky.

Your first job was a cleaner – when did you realise that you wanted to get into Human Resources?

I went into HR three and a half years ago. I was very much a trainer before that and realised that the company needed someone as a Director of Human Resources and so I appointed myself! Not quite, I suggested to my boss that I would be the best person for the position and luckily for me, he agreed!

You were named Human Resources Manager of the Year at the Hotel Catey Annual Industry awards. Can you tell me the key achievements that you have had since being with Red Carnation?

From a training point of view we have put ourselves on the map for offering great training courses and developing people.  Learning leads to career progression.  Also, it means we are giving something back to the business.  

What is your favourite interview question?

“Tell me about a time when you have had to breach or bend rules to offer great service”

How important is it to have a well presented CV?

It’s your first impression. It doesn’t need to say everything about you but it must get you noticed. I sometimes receive 300 CVs for one position.

What did your parents do?

My mum was a teacher and my dad worked in Sales for Esso. 

Which wines do your order when you go out for dinner?

Burgundy normally, my favourites are Julienas or Fleurie. I also love South African wine – especially any of the Bouchard Finlaysons.

You are a Gemini – a multitasking, on-the-go, worker who loves to communicate and interact with others. Gemini people need constant stimulation--sitting behind a desk for the typical, eight hour workday is not easy for them and they are the usually the person that knows and shares all of the office gossip. Does this sound like you?


What made you want to work at Red Carnation Hotels?

I was head hunted. My first question to them was why do you want me?

What was it like going to the Catey Awards dinner to collect your award?

I didn’t know I had won although I knew I had been shortlisted. I wore a long black dress and you really get a sense of the occasion at the Hotelcateys!  I didn’t expect to win so when I did, the shock was huge. I would say to anyone you should do what you believe in and grab good opportunities that come your way. 

"I would like people to see how good careers can be in hospitality. There is money to be made, and the hours are no more unsocial than many of the other jobs out there plus if you wish, you have the glamour of travel to top it off"
-Liz McGivern 

Describe a typical day in the world of Liz?

5.30am I get up, with a long journey into work. Half an hour to catch up. I meet with my team twice a week and I am out at each hotel once a week. I have training days around twice a week and a meeting with my Managing Director once a week. Loads of chatting through the day depending on how I am feeling and I work on projects like the Staff Appreciation Party.  I leave the office around 6-6.30pm and sometimes have a drink with friends, sometimes go to Pilates and occasionally get invited to a work function!

What do you love most about your job?

Watching people grow and reach their full potential

What is the hardest thing about this industry?

Attracting good people into it. I would like people to see how good careers can be in hospitality. There is money to be made, and the hours are no more unsocial than many of the other jobs out there plus if you wish, you have the glamour of travel to top it off.

Who inspires you in life and in the industry?

The owner Mrs Tollman and my Managing Director, Jonathan Raggett. There is also someone that I will always remember, Benazir Bhutto. When I was a working at the Portland Hospital I used to deliver food to her room. She was at the top of her profession but she still took the time to talk to me and she once even bought me flowers.

What do your friends/family think of your job?

They are proud of me and very encouraging. Also, they think I am good at what I do because that is what I tell them!

What is the biggest mistake you ever made at work?

I recruited an executive chef who I later discovered couldn’t cook! 

If you could go back in time and give yourself one bit of career advice what would that be?

Listen and learn 

What is the most expensive thing you own?

My house though I don’t actually entirely own it!

Gherkin or gurkout?


Marmite – love it or hate it? Love it

Love it

Favourite chocolate bar?


What do you want to be when you grow up?

A novelist

To visit The Red Carnation Website where Liz Works please click here
To go to Liz's page click here

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