On my return to the UK after working abroad for two years, I was looking for a job that combined my love of travel with an enjoyable and passionate work environment. My love of travel began at a young age and I've since visited the US, South East Asia, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe.
A local friend had just been offered a position at Audley and her positive reviews made me interested in the company. From then on, everyone I told about Audley knew them by reputation as an incredible place to work, and so I decided to apply. This happened to coincide with Audley launching a new recruitment experience for candidates.
The online application form
I visited the Audley Careers website and applied online, which was both quick and straightforward to fill out. You're asked for some personal details, including contact information, why you're applying for the role, a brief summary of your experience in travel, plus a copy of your CV/resume and a cover letter.
I was then invited to complete a short questionnaire, which evaluated my work-life personality traits that takes approximately 15 minutes.
The video interview
The next step in the Audley recruitment process is the video interview. Admittedly, the idea did make me nervous, but actually it was fine. The questions were straightforward and I was given plenty of time to prepare my answer before recording it. You can do the recording on any mobile device, including laptop, smartphone and tablet (using the latest versions of iOS or Android, or the latest version of Chrome or Firefox). I could also complete the interview at a time of my choosing, in my case at home, alone, in my pyjama bottoms, with a well-deserved glass of wine waiting for me just to the left of the webcam’s field of vision.
You can blur the video on your screen as it records, so you don’t have to watch yourself squirming in discomfort (a feature I found helpful), and you get two attempts to answer the questions.
Chad Horne, our Head of Resourcing, explains why we have introduced the video assessment:
Following the video interview, I was invited to a phone interview and then the Witney office for a face-to-face interview. The whole process was very efficient and quick.
I was interviewed by Ashleigh, one of the resourcing specialists in the HR team, and Stuart, head of the USA team. The interview was well structured but relaxed, with a combination of competency-based questions and questions relating to my previous travel experience. I was then taken on a tour around the office by one of the USA regional managers.
I remember driving into the office in Witney and thinking I’d arrived in a worker’s haven, with teams on the lawn having picnics and BBQ lunches, groups of staff working out in the gym, meetings by the River Windrush and the beautiful old mill building. I then completed a short writing task to assess my written skills. About a week later, I received the call to offer me the position of USA travel specialist and I was more than happy to accept.
Initial training began a couple of weeks later, with a one-week induction course. This is designed to prepare you for ‘fam’. Travel specialists joining Audley spend a month in destination; this is known as a ‘familiarisation trip’ or a ‘fam’.
Within four days, I was fully briefed and kitted out with my itinerary and all of the documentation I’d need over the next four weeks in the States.
You’re also given extensive training on what to expect, what to get out of the trip, what to pack… everything you could possibly think of was covered. Before you jet off, you get to spend a little time with your team and meet your regional sales manager.
Two days later, I was off to America.
Learning on the job
I flew from London Gatwick to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and then spent the next four weeks driving down the coast on Highway 101 to Los Angeles, with many points of interest and activities along the way.
Everything had been planned for me, including car hire, hotels, flights, and even detailed suggestions about what to do in my spare time. The trip is designed to give us a taste of the unique experiences we offer our clients. I was lucky enough to experience a bike and wine tasting tour in Napa Valley, whale watching in Monterey, a tour of the local food carts in Portland, and a walking tour of Pike Place Market in Seattle.
A fam gives you the opportunity to see your country of expertise as your clients do, and you’ll keep topping up this first-hand experience every 12 to 18 months.
Back from fam, you start an intensive three-week training course, The Audley Way Part One. You’ll learn what it means to be part of Audley: the company values, how to liaise with clients and make successful bookings, and so much more.
Then, you join your team, speaking to prospective clients on the phone. I’m currently in the middle of The Audley Way Part Two, a secondary training course that continues through my first months at Audley and involves a monthly training day.
My introduction to life as a travel specialist at Audley Travel has been an absolute pleasure. From the beginning of the ever-evolving and advanced recruitment process, right up to fully joining my team, Audley has proven to be a forward-thinking, passionate and social company to work for, that truly value all of their staff members. I look forward to continuing my career here.
Begin your career in travel and join our teams in Witney, London and Boston.