Stepping back into the office for the first time after 18 months, working from home within four walls and interacting with people over video meetings, it was the day we were recruiting for our new Business Development Executive. After conducting several interviews in one day, the challenge was shortlisting the right candidate for the role. The Holiday Franchise Company had increasingly grown over 18 months, with a variety of Franchisees new to the travel industry, well-travelled to experienced franchisees, we needed the right fit for our new Business Development Executive.
As we opened the book to a blank page, Jo our Head of Franchise and I brainstormed what we needed from this person and what they needed to bring to the business? What do we expect the outcome of this person and impact would be? Not just for the Franchisees but also for the head office team. There was lots of ideas coming together, suggestions, thoughts and opinions. We need a strong-minded person, reliable, professional with an outgoing personality and able to work well in a team and also able to use their own initiative.
Our next blank page would consist of experience, we need someone who has heaps of travel experience, are knowledgeable with suppliers and destinations, travel sales experience was essential, able to bring new ideas to life and stay positive and motivated during challenges the travel industry can and may face.
After days of interviewing, some very strong people came to the door, some very experience and knowledgeable people. Deep conversations between Jo and I, we found this challenging as we had very strong and experienced candidates. We short listed the candidates and finished up for the weekend and was back the following week to conduct second interviews. That weekend England were playing in the Euros, In a local pub, I overheard a conversation from my friend was having with someone ‘ If you hear any jobs in the travel industry, let Kim know as she has been made redundant, it such a shame as she is so good at what she does’ My first thoughts was Kim, is this Kimberly Byrne? A girl I knew of when I was 18, Is this the Kim I had heard of when I worked at Thomas Cook, that you would hear regular shoutouts within the whole company that she was the top seller, The Kim I believe was working as a branch manager!
I interrupted the conversation, and yes this was the Kimberly Byrne (Hood) I had crossed paths within the travel industry, the Kim who had received awards at travel events I had attended in the past, very well known as a top seller and progressed in her career. I immediately contacted Jo. We then made contact with Kim, a new blank page was opened on the following Monday to note down all Kim’s experience and knowledge.
After meeting Kim, Jo and I sat down, we both looked at each other and smiled we knew we had found that right person who ticked all the boxes. We knew she would fit great within the team, she bought some inspiring ideas to us in her interview. She had a lovely, kind nature but strong-minded personality this ticked everything on our first blank page. Kim had the experience – 16 years! Worked with a variety of suppliers over her time, built many relationships with airlines and suppliers, Kim was a top seller in previous job roles, she had managed a team for an independent business. The second blank page was all ticked, the role was offered, the position was accepted and four weeks ago Kim opened her book with blank pages to start her new chapter with The Holiday Franchise Company and four weeks on the pages are being filled with new and inspiring ideas.
With this being my first time recruiting, I learnt a lot from finding the right person for the role, the blank pages became full, I persisted with time, made no rush just to fill the position and over time, we made the right choice for the right person for all areas of the business.
We have completed our team for now at head office, we look forward to our author completing the blank pages and moving onto the next chapter of progression.