Now hiring a recruiter!

Holy mackerel. Last Thursday I made a post about the fact that I’m hiring someone to work with me as a travel consultant/coordinator, both on the award ticket front as well as the hotel front now that I’m a travel advisor with Brownell.

When I made the post I expected I would get at most a dozen applications, and I figured I’d have an impossible time making a decision among those. At the very least I expected I’d be able to talk to each individually, see if we’re a good fit, etc.. Instead I got hundreds. Yes, there’s an “s” at the end of that, as in the plural of a hundred.

I said from the beginning I’d accept applications until next Tuesday, so I haven’t responded to anyone yet, as I want to make sure everyone has a chance to apply before pursuing anyone further. Though rest assured your applications have been received.

Nonetheless I sat down this morning and started going through some of the applications to hopefully narrow down the search a bit, and I’m just in amazement. The diversity of the people that applied (and their sense of humor) is beyond incredible. I’ve gotten applications ranging from students to doctors to lawyers to professors to airline pilots to flight attendants to consultants, to just about everything else. It just comes to show you how amazing the diversity of this hobby is.

At the same time, I’m slowly starting to go bald from pulling my hair out all morning. I opened up an Excel spreadsheet this morning and decided I would make a spreadsheet with two columns — one with those I found to be a good fit, and one with those I found to not be so good of a fit. After putting the first dozen emails in the first column, I realized just how difficult this is going to be.

So I’m honestly at a loss as to how best to approach this. Obviously I want to take my time to make sure I get a good fit, though at the same time I need help soon. So thanks to everyone for their patience as I try to figure out how best to do this (and I’m certainly open to suggestions, including “pick me!”).

There is one thing I’ve decided on since starting to read the applications — I’ll definitely be offering internships in the future for those of you looking for more short-term, limited hour involvement. There are a lot of people that are interested though not able to put in the time in the short term, and in those cases an internship with the potential for a more full time job sounds like the best bet.

Again, I’m open to suggestions, and in the meantime thanks for your patience as I try to figure this all out!


  1. yeah, we all knew this would happen 🙂 i think your only option is to come up with some sort of points system…decide what qualities you think are important (personality, experience, whatever) and how important they are. then each person will get a score and then you can look over the top ten or so and try to decide or interview them or whatever. otherwise i don’t see any way for you try to compare awesome to awesome..lucky you to be in that situation 🙂

  2. You clearly need an HR assistant 🙂 At least for this hiring event. So I nominate myself to go through all the applications and pare them down to a more manageable list of potential candidates. We can come up with a list of characteristics that are must-have, nice-to-have, etc. and then narrow the pool down to the ones you can look at yourself.

    Let me know.

  3. This is a bit like when the Podunk Hilton Garden Inn puts out a 500-point “like us on facebook” offer and gets a bajillion likes, right? 🙂

  4. I will be the first to say it: you could just choose me and be done with the whole deal. 🙂

    Good luck, Ben, you will get it figured out.

  5. You could look for a Coasian solution, who (among equally qualified applicants) will offer the most money or points in exchange for the job?

  6. Most people are likely to pick some you can work with you, often someone “likable’, someone “similar” to you or a “friend (or friend of your CEO!).
    Some questions for you to answer before you look at the resumes (i) what does it take to do the job? Can they handle the time-lines and stress? And most importantly, how much time do you want to invest in them? You need to find exclusion criteria.

  7. Ben,
    I have owned my own small business for 18 years, and I have to tell you that employees are the hardest part of a small business. Just when I think I hired the right person, they completely let me down. And then along comes someone, that I am not that impressed with, but as I work with them, I realize how smart they are, or organized or whatever. Some people are amazing and others are just a waste of your time.

  8. Hey, you need to hire someone to sort through the applications and find a good pick. I’ll send you my resume. 😉

  9. Hi Ben,

    If I were in your shoes, I’d consider asking a friend or family member to help go through the applications.

    You’ll obviously have to work with the person you ultimately choose. Friends and family members are close, but they can provide valuable third-person insight that we might overlook otherwise. Sometimes the people close to us have a better sense of what we are like and what we’re trying to do than even we ourselves do.

    Or if that doesn’t work you could just pick me. 🙂

    Good luck either way– with so many qualified candidates, you’re sure to get someone excellent!

  10. The best predictor of future performance is past behavior. If I was in your situation, I’d be looking for demonstrated and proven track records, it reduces the chances of hype and fluff, which a small business does not need.

  11. One suggestion-have a list of minimum requirements you are looking for and cut anyone with less than those requirements. From there, have a list of the ideal qualities you are looking for-match accordingly. With that large a pool of applicants, there is no need to settle for less than ideal.

  12. Well, given the type of position you’re trying to fill, after you narrow the field a few sample booking/itinerary builds might be in order.

  13. Really good suggestions up above, although I would suggest that a chart or points system might be a bit overwhelming and clinical. In my own experience, hiring an assistant is often a gut call – you are going to spend A LOT of time with this person, so it needs to be someone you can imagine getting along with!

    Everyone who applied probably meets your “minimum requirements”, so the bigger challenge might be finding the person you trust to interact with your clients! So having Mom help go through the emails might not be a bad idea… 😉

    Or, you could just pick me and have done with it!

  14. Im confused. You asked for a minimum time requirement of 25 hours a week or so, against standard pay. I can see many students to be interested…but doctors, lawyers and pilots? These are generally not the people with that much free time on their hands, let alone willing to deal with incompetent call centers all day for lower pay than they would normally make.

    Are you sure it’s not somebody pulling your chain here?

  15. As much as you might think you need to go through every application in detail and hire the absolute ideal candidate, you don’t. You need someone who has the skills to do the job and whom you can work with. Go through the applications, find some people that stand out, and interview them. If you like someone, make an offer. If they accept, you can stop. You’re not obligated to go through every single application, rank them all accordingly, etc.

  16. I really think you should hire someone who already has a job and benefits, this way they don’t have to worry about not having such benefits from you (i.e. health insurance). For example I’m full time now, but if I was offered your job, I’d cut my hours at the hospital down to 2 or 3 days a week (part time) this way I can still receive health insurance etc. And then once you can utilize the person full time they could quit their full time job!

  17. @ Xandrios I’m a nurse and I applied for this position. My schedule is flexible. I can also work per Diem as a nurse, work flex time, etc. I can choose to work 12 hours one week and 60 the next as a nurse if I choose. So these other people can do the same, therefore it’s believable!

  18. I just sent you an email with a bit of recruiting advice. Obviously, I would advise hiring me to start with, but if you don’t want to take that route right away, hopefully what I sent will help your search. The email subject is “PICK ME and other recruiting advice”, though I promise it does actually contain useful information. Good luck!

  19. Is it to late to apply? I wanted to submit my application but I might not be able to do it until the end of the week.

  20. Probably missed the deadline to apply as well. Anyway on a separate note, can you let me know via PM how to best contact Virtuoso, in case they need a consultant already based in Asia Pacific (Singapore) for many years (8 years and counting) with extensive experience traveling both for work and leisure across the region, and a real interest in sharing my experience with Virtuoso travelers?

    Happy Holidays btw wherever you may be spending them, and thanks again for all the valuable info you have been sharing on your blog all this time.


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