In the Trenches: Finding the Right Employee

I’ve made the decision to hire a new employee, and now the tough part begins. How the heck do I go about finding the right person for the job?

This would be easier if I was looking for a concierge to monitor people’s flights and help when things go wrong.  I have a list of people interested in that role.  But this is for a travel architect job.  This is someone who works fixed hours and helps initially book travel for clients, so it requires different skills.

The first thing I did was reach out to the people who already work for Cranky Concierge. I asked everyone if they had any recommendations — candidates who they thought would be a good fit. After all, I found my first travel architect through one of my concierges, and I couldn’t be happier about the way that has turned out. So far, however, I’ve only received one possible employee referral — and I’m not entirely sure if he has a real interest yet. I’d like to have a bigger pool of applicants to consider.

Next, when I wrote about my decision last week, I posted a link on my blog. I’ve already received four resumes from readers! But the people who read my blog are generally airline people, and I don’t want to limit myself to that demographic. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t hire an airline person, but applicants aren’t required to have an industry background. I’m absolutely willing to consider someone with no airline experience who simply has great work ethic and is able to pick up new skills and information quickly.

To reach those people, I could post the position on generic job sites like Monster or CareerBuilder, but that’s only going to get me an avalanche of “bleh.” I really don’t want to sift through a pile of “bleh” to find a few potential stars if I can avoid it. There are better approaches.

I’m thinking my next step will be to tap into LinkedIn. I’ve approved countless requests to connect with people, but I virtually never use the network for anything. So it’d be nice to see whether my connections can come through with some options. I’m also thinking about going back to my alma mater to advertise the opening.

What else would you do?

About Brett Snyder

Brett is the Founder and President of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. He also writes the consumer air travel blog, The Cranky Flier.
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I have had some luck with organizations for the professional I want to hire. For example, when I was hiring a paralegal, I contacted the local branch of the National Paralegal Association. I also had some luck with You can search through resumes for candidates. And finally, I found some great local help through freelance websites like and Even though, these sites are for independent contractors, the local people I found, were willing to work for me as employees.Good luck. Sharmil McKee Business Attorney Philadelphia

Loveth Chiamaka
Loveth Chiamaka

thanks for the tip,but not everyone knows how to solve a

Joel Spolsky
Joel Spolsky

Hey Brett --


What I suggest doing is imagine the perfect person for the job... what are they doing right now? Where do they work? What's their title?


For your position -- it might be a very experienced executive travel agent working at Amex. Or it might be a concierge at a Ritz Carlton. Maybe it's someone who went to Cornell in Hospitality. Or someone who worked for American Airlines Operations. The idea is to be really specific, which, paradoxically, makes it EASIER to find a qualified person.


Then use Linked In to search for people that match those criteria. I just searched for "American Airlines Operations" on Linked In and found thousands of people. I could probably narrow that down to ten people who might be perfect candidates for you.


Once you have about 10-20 candidates, contact them all, explain the position, and see if you can get three or four to apply. Interview them all and pick the best one. Ta da!


The perfect person probably already has a job and doesn't know that they're looking for a job... that's why Monster and CareerBuilder don't work... they are targeting people who are out of work, which is only a fraction of all the great people out there. You may have to hire someone away from another company.


Good luck!



Thomas Jaeger
Thomas Jaeger

Hi Brett,

What I did in similar situations (reaching out to you as well) was to extract my entire LinkedIn contact list to Excel and then shortlist the people that I think might be either a good fit themselves or someone that would generally know people with the type of background I am interested in. That has generally worked really, really well. Fully agree with you on the "bleh" from generic sites.



Alex Bauer
Alex Bauer

In addition to the networking component, LinkedIn also offers a job posting service. It's not cheap, but the fee gives you access to some pretty high-powered people. In my generation (the just-graduated-from-college crowd), those of my acquaintances I would consider most successful and competent all view LinkedIn as a primary tool for their job search.


On the other hand, most of us ended up landing positions through careful networking and existing connections. Perhaps reaching out to some other travel blogs with a readership not so dominated by 'airline people', or even your enviably large Twitter following might yield some good results...

Madalyn Soulliere
Madalyn Soulliere

go to and look for someone whos comfortable and has natural customer service skills. Everyone needs to know how to solve a problem without getting upset.


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