Finding the right person for each position is an important job at any company, and this task is particularly challenging at a place like PetRelocation, where roles often defy easy description.
Luckily we have a strong and savvy Human Resources team! Over the past few years, Tom, PetRelocation's HR Generalist, has done his part to build a successful and unique company by taking a creative approach to recruiting, interviewing and nurturing great talent. Read more about Tom and the role of HR in our latest employee spotlight.
Why did you decide to apply to PetRelocation initially?
I was naturally drawn in by the uniqueness of the company and PetRelocation’s purpose. On a professional level, I was excited about working at a small business with a start-up mentality to gain greater exposure into watching a company grow into a larger one. I had previously worked at larger companies that were a bit further down the corporate road and wanted more experience with the up-front heavy lifting.
What’s the best early memory you have of working here?
Helping the hiring team develop our group interview process was an interesting early moment with PetRelocation. The team had planned it out and although we had the best intentions, we initially didn’t know how it would actually translate upon execution. We adapted and changed the structure over the first few months, however at the end of the day it was reassuring hearing direct feedback from the candidates about how rewarding and fun the interview had been. Even though it was physically demanding and challenging to keep things running smoothly behind the scenes, it was professionally rewarding to help develop that unique candidate experience.
What has been your favorite story to tell others about day to day life at PetRelocation?
To be honest, I don’t have a go-to story about a day in the life at PetRelocation and I often get asked this during interviews. A day in the life is consistently different with tons of fun one-off moments scattered across a day. While constant change is not for everyone, I have found it quite rewarding and challenging.
HR is an active business partner with every department in PetRelocation. In what way to you think you make the biggest impact in supporting those teams while they are supporting our clients?
Whether it is focusing on improving benefits and polices, identifying skills and learning development areas, or onboarding and training, we focus on improving the employee experience so that our team can do their jobs better with a greater reward.
What has been the biggest surprise or change that you have experienced here since starting to work at PetRelocation?
Generally the biggest surprise has been seeing the company consistently adapt and evolve with our internal processes with a relatively quick turnaround. As far as change, I’m happy that we have brought in some wonderful leaders over the past year that will help the company continue to grow in the coming years (Director of Marketing, Director of Human Resources, Director of Sales Operations, Controller).
Tom's dog Leo
You are one of the hosts behind PetRelocation’s twice-annual Trivia Night. Can you tell us about the history behind this and what you do to prepare for this fevered competition?
Trivia night was started by our trainer, Rebecca, in 2012, and the events have become an extremely fun way to celebrate the rare knowledge that one possesses from shipping pets all over the world by working at PetRelocation. The hosts meet weeks beforehand to discuss what the categories will be and brainstorm questions together. We typically have eight unique categories including audio, visual, and unique employee trivia with each round containing an intense yet fun bonus question, which is my favorite part.
What do you think will change about Human Resources in the next five years that will impact our staff?
The ability to work remotely with flexible work hours, open time off, extended maternal/paternal family leave, the variety of benefits offerings that would be self-selected based on individual need, less paper, clear accountability with metrics and its reinforcing impact on performance management, and the end of the standard performance review.
What advice do you have for people who want to be successful when they interview with the company?
Almost all our applicants love pets. While we appreciate this like-mindedness, rarely does it ever make someone stand out from the crowd. What makes a successful interview is good research into the company and being able to showcase why your background fits with the current needs of the company. It is also reassuring to hear well thought out questions throughout the interview process. Our best interviews flow like a conversation rather than your typical question/answer interview.
What do you wish other people knew about us?
To borrow a phrase from Sam the Eagle, “You are all weirdos.” All kidding aside, we solve incredible logistical challenges and arrange happy pet reunions around the world every day. It’s amazing to hear the stories that our sales and client care consultants share in our company daily huddles.
When you are away from the office, how do you like to spend your free time?
Say you have friends coming into Austin for the weekend. What one thing do they absolutely need to do or see so they can get the “Keep Austin Weird” experience?
Depending on the time of year for their visit, Austin has so many fun things to offer – from diving into to Barton Springs without hesitation, watching the bats fly underneath Congress Bridge, or participating in a fun physical activity like wearing a gorilla costume and running a 5k (Austin Gorilla Run).
Hollywood wants to make a movie about your life. Who do they play to cast you?
I deferred to my wife for this question and she said Edward Norton. He also grew up in Maryland and has made some pretty great Hollywood movies so I’ll stick with him. As a bonus, if we could get Werner Herzog to be the narrator, I’d be OK with that.