**Editor's note: Jason Merrithew will be contributing regular columns to CanadianTraveller.net. We thank him for sharing his thoughts, and invite others to do the same!
Hiring travel consultants is simultaneously among the easiest and the hardest things agency leaders will do. How does one bridge the gap between “experienced sales professional” and the quicker productivity that person may bring with the high potential but larger investment in a “new to industry” hire?
There isn’t an easy answer but certainly, we can do better.
I’m a huge advocate for eliminating that line on job descriptions for travel consultants: “X to Y years of experience required.” And here’s why: past performance is not an indicator of future results.
Being a travel professional is about transferable skills. Can you carry a conversation? Are you passionate about a subject? Are you driven to provide value? Do you learn quickly? If yes, then I can teach you about cruises. I can teach you about India. I can teach you about airline rules. It is far more difficult to train personality and drive to succeed, which are the traits that I see in new to industry consultants who do well in their jobs.
I saw a job posting for a travel consultant that asked for two years of experience. TWO! As employers, let’s challenge ourselves to take some responsibility to training employees to develop the skills that we want, but to bring to the table the proper attitude to succeed in a challenging industry. Let’s challenge ourselves to think outside of the box as it relates to experience and take help more passionate travellers and sales driven individuals join our business!