This month we decided to interview Anna our lovely HR manager. Anna is the backbone of City Relay. Her role encompasses everything from recruitment and employee relations to fixing the phone lines and arranging staff parties!
Marion: Hi Anna, to start with can you tell us a bit more about your education?
Anna: I did my 4 years bachelor of business science and technology in Greece. After that, I decided to move to England for my master’s degree at Kingston University where I specialized in Human Resources. In addition to this, I am an associate member of CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) at level 7, which is the highest level!
Marion:Why did you choose Human Resources?
Anna: I like the fact that there are different aspects to this job (administration, recruitment etc), the tasks are totally varied so you never feel bored. Dealing with people is really exciting for me. I definitely feel that I add a huge value to the company which is an important point for me.
Marion:How did you find City Relay and what made you choose this company and not another one?
Anna: I was looking through Linkedin one afternoon and I found the position, I couldn’t help but apply! I felt like God gave me this place. City Relay is a family and I could feel it as soon as I came for the interview. Everyone was so polite and friendly. I felt at home from the first moment. I was interviewing for 2 positions at the time. I had to choose between a corporate company with rigid processes, limited space for change and a lot of procedures, and City Relay which was a start-up looking for people with initiatives and where I could progress. Still, I had a dilemma, should I choose to put a big name on my resume or take the opportunity to progress, and be part of a team? I am so pleased that I chose City Relay because of the incredible location, the friendly team and the daily challenges. When I first arrived, I didn’t know what to expect and where to start! Prior my arrival the HR department was nonexistent! When I started, City Relay had only 20 employees and now the City Relay family has more than 50 members. I was hired as an HR Assistant but after 1 month they decided to promote me to a manager position.
Marion:What do you enjoy the most at City Relay?
Anna: I have been working for City Relay for almost 1 year and everything has changed so much. I have hired more than 40 people since I started! I have witnessed the team growing which is super exciting. I enjoy the fact that I have so many responsibilities and that I improve myself every day. I have implemented many new procedures in the company such as probation reviews, the contracts, HR software etc. My main focus each day is to make sure that everyone is happy and enjoys each day of their work.
Marion:How would you describe our team?
Anna: The team is definitely varied! We have all type of personalities and that’s great! Our team members come from so many places around the world and sharing our cultural background is amazing. We’re always up for a drink after work which makes us more than just colleagues. Everyone uses their initiative and enjoys responsibility, from the top management to interns. The team is so dedicated that they sometimes stay a bit longer after working hours. All the team is involved and motivated about their work. One great thing about the team is that we’re all really passionate about travel and it’s great to share all of our adventures and the nice places we’ve been.
Marion:If you had to describe yourself in 3 words?
Anna: Talkative, impulsive and probably over the limit!
Marion:Can you describe your average day at City Relay?
Anna: I’m always super excited to go to work in the morning, it’s a great feeling. On the way to work, I grab a coffee in my favourite bakery, it’s my little morning routine. I always start my day going around the office, saying good morning and make sure everyone is feeling great. Then it’s time to sit down and check my emails. I receive more than 100 emails each day so it takes me quite a lot of time! As we’re recruiting non-stop I always have at least one interview a day. When I can, I like to take an hour each day to find new things to make the team happy and improve processes. Despite all my daily tasks I always take the time for the team if they need to speak to me, about anything. Happiness at work is my top priority.
Marion:What do you like as an HR manager at City Relay?
Anna: I love my work and I feel important and that what I do has a purpose. I like to think that I provide value to City Relay and I’m growing at the same time as the company. At the end of the day, I can see the results of my work and this makes everything worthwhile. When my teammates are doing great at works it’s really rewarding for me as I’m the one who hired them!
Marion:How do you choose your employees?
Anna: They need to fit with the company, which means: being entrepreneurial, self-motivated, like to learn things, as well as understanding the importance of teamwork. It is important to have a good education but it is not the top priority. Education doesn’t make you a good employee, your experience and motivation are what can really make the difference.
Marion:Is there any question you particularly like to ask during interviews?
Anna: I enjoy asking questions that will reflect the personality of the person. I have 2 questions that I particularly enjoy: If they could change something about their CV what would it be and what are they are looking for in their future company. Through those questions, I can understand the personality of the person and evaluate if they would be a good fit for City Relay.
Marion: Any recommendation for the future candidates?
Anna: It’s pretty basic but check what we do, try to understand our business and get ready to speak about it during the interview. Also, it is important to be confident, it changes the way we see you. Be yourself and take initiative, it is also appreciated. Show us that you’re excited about the company and the position!
Marion:What do you do during your free time?
Anna: I go for drinks with my friends and colleagues. I also really like to spend time with myself, I think it is important sometimes to take a step back. I do this by listening to music, watching movies and going for a long drive! Other than that, I’m a food lover! I like any kind of food, even if I have a preference for greek food (I could die for greek souvlaki)! I also like travelling, I have set myself a personal goal: travel to 4 different countries each year if not more! In my spare time, I also do a little bit of freelance work helping people build amazing resumes. I have done this for my friends for years so I thought why not help other people with my skills!
Marion: If you had all the money in the world, how would you spend a day?
Anna: I would definitely travel to Thailand, spend half of my day at the beach, drinking margaritas and ordering as much food as I can eat! In the evening, I would go to the full moon party and then head back to the nicest hotel before sleeping all day long!