e-business: 5-minute Q&A

One-woman HR team manages recruitment

Annabel Roaf, HR manager, TheFirstResort.com

Annabel Roaf graduated with a psychology degree in 1994 and spent five years as a financial recruitment consultant at Hays Accountancy Personnel (1994-96), Accountancy Additions (1996-98) and Martin Ward Anderson (1998-99). In April 2000, she joined on-line travel company TheFirstResort, launched by Thomson Travel Group and technology solutions provider Netdecisions. Her initial remit was managing recruitment and building the teams. The company has grown from four people in London and 30 in Manchester to 30 in London and 110 in Manchester. She is a one-woman HR team and has administrative support from office assistants in both bases.

PT What have been the main recruitment issues?

AR Recruitment has generally been successful without too many complications. In terms of methods, the key issues for me to consider are speed and cost. When recruiting (for a dotcom), the general criteria are the same as when recruiting for a bricks and mortar company; what differs is the emphasis that I would place on them. For example, personality factors are crucial – a weak link would be very visible and could prove quite unsettling for a new team.

PT How reliant are you on technology?

AR I regularly use on-line recruitment sites and have found them to be a quick and economical means of advertising. Cost and speed are key elements in recruitment advertising but there are still occasions when we need to broaden the search to consultancies or traditional advertising.

PT What is your retention and motivation strategy?

AR We do not want to establish a situation where we throw money at people in order to keep them here. We strongly believe that people who join us will feel a strong personal commitment to their role and to the success of the company. In return for that commitment we will recognise people’s contribution and reward them accordingly, as well as providing a good working environment and an opportunity to have a stake in the ownership of the company through the share options scheme.

PT What plans to expand?

AR There are plans to double the size of our call centre within the next six months and the head office will expand in response to the needs of the business and the development plans.

PT What are your favourite bookmarks?

AR For recruitment news, I check out some of the on-line recruitment sites – totaljobs.com and Monster are good sources and for HR issues and news, personnel.today’s site is good!

PT What would be your advice to an HR manager currently involved in setting up a dotcom division or company?

AR Be prepared and well organised before the rush starts – I found the first three or four months rushed by and when I stopped to look we had 100 employees and I was having to review and assess the processes that were established on day one.

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