By Sasha Milner, Executive Director, Client Services
Sasha Milner has spearheaded interviewing, hiring, and training efforts for her teams in all of her professional roles. No matter which industry she has found herself in, talent acquisition has been a passion, from a tour operator, to a disaster relief NGO, and currently at Concierge.com!
We’ve all heard it before, “you are only as strong as your weakest link.” So why not invest your time and resources in hiring strong talent to eliminate and minimize those weak links?
At Concierge.com we are in the people business. Our product is human interaction and we work in customer service — we are people pleasers, fixers, and human orientated machines with a keen eye for detail. So, while our platform is incredible and helps keep our team (and clients) organized, manages details, and allows us to excel, our people are the true foundation to our success.
We are nothing without strong talent. That being said, how do we have such great talent??
Here are four tips detailing how we have had such success in hiring top talent:
- Know your job description: Review and identify the top three to four most important skills required. A dream candidate will have dozens of strengths and assets, however it is important to identify what you deem the most crucial skills — your deal breakers. If you can identify those, then you can do a better job of assessing your candidates’ capabilities in those areas.
- Eliminate any unconscious bias: When we hear ‘bias’ we generally think of discriminating against a person's race or sexual orientation, but there are many other ways you can judge a candidate. Bias can also be based on age, education, industry, or class. Diversity is crucial on any team. The more perspectives contributing to one team or problem, the more success you’ll have in overcoming hurdles. Sometimes you may be attracted to someone like you, because you feel comfortable with that person and know how they communicate, but someone who always agrees with you and yesses you may not challenge your perspective. When reviewing resumes, don’t look at candidates’ names, don’t look at their graduating year, or where they may be from, look at their skills and evaluate how those skills would fit into your team.
- Do your homework: You should always prepare for an interview — “winging it” is not fair to you or your candidate. Look up their past experience, stalk them on LinkedIn (that’s what it’s for!) and identify what you’d like to dig into based on their past experiences. Be prepared with probing questions, so you can evaluate how they would perform in this role with your company.
- Evaluate skills: Now that your candidate in front of you, this is your opportunity to learn everything about this person to help you identify if they would be a good candidate. Avoid any questions about a candidate’s age, marital status, or sexual orientation/preference and instead focus on their skills and experience, since that’s what you need to evaluate. Focus on behavioral questions (this is based on past performance), motivational questions (will they be a good fit culturally?), and technical/functional questions (any specific software or hard skill that is needed).
Even after you identify the best candidate and hire them, it does not end there. You need to continuously invest into your talent — it is your job to ensure they have the proper resources, training, and support to learn and grow within your company. If you do not provide the new hire with adequate tools, their chances of success will greatly decrease.
With our focus solely on consumers, we are truly selling an experience, and at the foundation of that experience is our talent, our humans. It can be time consuming to find the right talent, but the time it takes to interview, hire, and train can be so taxing, it is worth it to make it a focus. If you invest the time up front and do it correct the first time, you can prevent having to do it regularly.
After graduating from Ithaca College, Sasha Milner moved to Boston where she worked in sales for Go Ahead Tours, then took her passion for travel to New Zealand and Australia, working in hospitality across the South Pacific.
On a pitstop in the US, Sasha accepted a position with experiential marketing agency Pop2Life as a fulfillment coordinator. Five years later, Sasha dusted off her backpack again and relocated to a remote village in Nepal, working for All Hands and Hearts, a volunteer-fueled, disaster relief
non-profit, hiring, training, and managing program staff in their fundraising and volunteer management efforts.
After Pop2Life was acquired by Condé Nast, there was
a need to help re-build the team, so Sasha found her way home to NYC as the Executive Director of Client Services for Concierge.com.