When you wish to buy or sell your home, your best bet is to use a professional realtor who is familiar with the market, right? The realtor can help reduce the amount of time, paperwork and risk on the part of either a buyer or a seller. The same thing goes for using executive search professionals in connecting employers with applicants, particularly in a field as specialized as the timeshare industry. Whether an employer seeks to fill a position or a job-seeker is on the hunt, this is where a professional is needed the most. It’s not a do-it-yourself project.
“For employers, using an agency like ours actually saves money in a number of ways,” says Executive Quest Founder, President and CEO Keith Trowbridge. “Not only does the person doing the hiring save valuable staff time by letting the search team do most of the vetting process, but employers get the position filled faster and with greater success. After all, the placement agency already has a list of available candidates or, in many cases when filling highly specialized positions, is well acquainted with the players in the industry.”
In 1974 Trowbridge pioneered timesharing in North America with the development of Sanibel Beach Club on Sanibel Island, Florida, and later founded Captran Resorts International, Ltd. He has been involved in the development and marketing of 35 timeshare resorts in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. When he retired from the development business, he had a vast knowledge of the industry and a wide acquaintanceship among its C-suite executives.
Having been in the hiring business, himself, he understood the intricacies of finding and retaining employees. Trowbridge reminds us how tedious and costly the vetting process is to find the right fit: “In the case of the ‘do-it-yourselfer,’ by the time a full-time employee is hired and fully trained and performing, they will invest anywhere from two-to-three times the new hire’s salary,” he says. This includes such items as placing ads, reviewing resumes and checking references. But it also extends to getting to know the individual and allowing him or her to become familiar with the company to ensure there’s good ‘chemistry’ for both sides.
“Replacing a failed new-hire bears heavy costs particularly in terms of lost productivity; irretrievable time spent in interviewing, onboarding and training and, perhaps, even in compromised customer service,” says Trowbridge’s counterpart, VP Jim Perkins. “The success of an organization, no matter the size, is dependent on identifying, attracting, growing and retaining the special talent our industry requires.”
With decades of experience and connections in executive recruiting within the interval ownership industry, Perkins specializes in placements for Executive Quest, Inc. in southwest United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Between Jim’s contacts and connections and Keith’s, the company has the largest database of timeshare, vacation ownership and fractional industry professionals in the industry.
Using an agency with expertise in the timeshare industry enables the hiring party to fill a position quickly. “For example, I just finished filling the position of group sales manager for a multi-site resort developer by going straight to an individual working for one of their competitors. I knew this applicant would be happier with my client and that they would be the perfect fit. It took only one interview and they’re starting tomorrow. Big retainer firms typically take six-to-ten weeks to start sending over candidates; we need four-to-ten business days!”
Good staffing firms utilize a huge talent pool to find the perfect candidate for an employer. They spend time matching the job needs of the client looking to hire, to the competency of the professional, to help ensure a perfect fit. “This due diligence on the part of firms like ours serves the job seeker, too,” says Executive Quest Director of Operations Heather Trowbridge. “Our connections and long-term history of service to executives in the vacation ownership/timeshare industry can fast-track an applicant who might otherwise get lost in the shuffle. We operate like a consultant to the employer and the job seeker, alike.”
Keith’s daughter, Heather, essentially grew up in the business and has served the timeshare Industry in a number of capacities since 1980. Laughingly she says, “I started out generating OPC tours off the beaches on Sanibel Island for $2.00 per tour which included an extremely valuable premium – a bag of shells!” She learned from the ground up that an employment agency has a stake in the applicant’s success and how to assist good candidates in presenting themselves honestly and fully. “Our own reputation hangs on the quality of employees we place with a company,” adds Heather.
“In the early days, we saw that you might have a terrific sales manager become available for a new position, but they might absolutely be ‘all thumbs’ when it comes to writing a resume,” says Keith. “So, we offer a resumé analysis service for a minimal fee. Plus we help our candidates prep for interviews so they can better emphasize what they feel makes them best suited for the position.”
Perkins explains why using an online bulletin board site like Monster.com makes little sense in the timeshare industry. “This industry is so specialized,” he observes. “For employers, they will get a bunch of ads, social media hits and resumes for candidates who usually have no knowledge of the resort industry, whatsoever.”
He adds that job seekers who rely on advertising sites or friends’ advice are most often wasting their time. “We have spent years in the industry meeting individuals at every level and with every different competency,” he continues. “Plus, Keith maintains a robust database of interested applicants. Executive Quest’s position is to have the company pay the fee. We’re not there to find you a job. If you’re in our database and the right job comes along, we’ll tap you. We don’t go promoting individuals. We take the job and find the person.”
Having an existing network of acquaintances in the industry makes recruiting easier plus, unlike typical agencies outside the industry, Executive Quest does not charge a retainer. The big retainer firms only work on filling senior level positions, charging a third when they start the search, a third when they present results and the final third upon placement. If an employer isn’t satisfied with any of the firm’s recommendations, they are still out a substantial sum.
“We make finding the right candidate very simple for the company looking to hire: There’s no fee; they can interview candidates as frequently has they like. They pay when they hire. Plus, our fee is 20 percent as compared to big firms that charge 33 percent of the first year’s salary.”
There’s little question after reviewing the facts: using an agency with industry savvy can save both employers and job seekers time and money. Certainly, it’s not a DIY project. Save that energy and invest in something more manageable like planning a vacation!