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Hiring for values, not skills: Henry Hooper on growth in Klook ANZ

“The future of the ANZ market is opportunity everywhere,” says Henry Hooper, General Manager, Australia and New Zealand. His strategy to capture those opportunities? Know what we stand for as a brand, hire for values, not skills, and have a strong learning and development strategy so Klookers can progress quickly. 

Read what Henry’s vision for the market is, who he’s looking for and how to land a job on the Klook Australia and New Zealand team. 

 

“The future of the ANZ market is opportunity everywhere,” says Henry Hooper, General Manager, Australia and New Zealand

 

What attracted you to Klook? 

I think that timing is everything. Klook is in the right place at the right time: in terms of the business we’re in, our location in APAC and the experiences space where there is a huge opportunity for disruption and optimization from the customer standpoint. 

It’s much easier to be a good surfer if you can get yourself to the right waves. The same goes for your career progression — it's a lot easier to have an exciting career if you get yourself to a company that has an enormous runway. 

 

What has your journey at Klook been like so far?

I’ve had 3 jobs in 11 months. In my first role here, I was looking after supply (merchants relationship management) for Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Within six months, I moved on to look after the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. From January this year, I've taken on the role of General Manager, Australia and New Zealand, looking after both supply and demand (Marketing)

This to me illustrates the excitement of working in a high-growth company. All these roles have been equally exciting, challenging and full of opportunity. So going back to what I mentioned before, it's all about putting yourself in a place that gives you the best chance of success. 

 

It’s much easier to be a good surfer if you can get yourself to the right waves. The same goes for your career progression — it's a lot easier to have an exciting career if you get yourself to a company that has an enormous runway. 

 

How do you see the future of Klook in Australia and New Zealand? 

The future of the ANZ market is opportunity everywhere. There is a long runway in any direction you look. One, in terms of geographic expansion within ANZ and beyond: starting with domestic expansion, we added just over 400 activities in 2020 alone. But our purview is Oceania so there are many exciting destinations like Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa, to name a few when outbound travel resumes. Two, in terms of vertical expansion. In Klook’s more mature markets, we have F&B and stay verticals and we’re doing sophisticated marketing with livestream programs on Klook Live!. Those are things we haven't even touched on yet in ANZ.

We made Australia’s largest QR code with 230 glasses of wine! Never a dull moment at Klook ANZ

 

If you're looking for a business where you can take ownership over a project and look down a runway that's enormous in terms of opportunities, that's Klook’s ANZ business. Right now, we're focusing on building a domestic business but we're also looking ahead to the return of inbound/outbound travel with a very strong inbound demand in Australia. We're very well-funded, we have strong relationships with destination marketing organizations on the ground and Australia is an exciting destination that we will continue to unpack.

 

What differentiates Klook in Australia from its peers? 

We do two things much better than anyone else in Australia: deep technology integration and speed to market. NSW Dine and Discover voucher scheme, for which Klook is an official booking partner, is a great example of this. While there are other companies who've done that now, Klook was first to market and our platform has the best user interface and user experience. What we are building in Australia today is the future of leisure and travel. 

 

If you're looking for a business where you can take ownership over a project and look down a runway that's enormous in terms of opportunities, that's Klook’s ANZ business.

 

Who are we looking for to join our Business Development and Marketing teams in ANZ?

I want to hear from everyone. If you think that you agree with how we see the world, we can teach you technical skills and all the rest.

I believe three things are really important for a business to be successful: a shared mission and vision, a very clear recruitment strategy for how you will achieve the mission and a learning and development strategy to set up your team for success. 

 

Henry's recruitment strategy is simple: hire for values and growth mindset, you can teach the rest

 

My recruitment strategy is simple: I hire for values. It's not important to me what you've done in the past but personal values are things I can't teach you: integrity, grit, hard work, critical thinking and creativity. I want someone who works hard, who speaks up when a task doesn't make sense or they see a better way to do it, and who takes ownership. A lot of my focus in the interviews is around values and specifically the value of learning: how you learn, what resources do you need to learn effectively, how you take feedback and your overall coachability. 

 

What is your philosophy on learning and development?

In any relationship, including at work, you have to add more value than you extract. I spend a lot of time thinking what can I give back? And I think that’s learning and development. My goal is to give people skills and tools to be capable, confident and motivated, this, in turn, leads them to a true feeling of empowerment.

I developed a very detailed learning and development program that assists in quickly teaching the skills you need here. I had no experience in travel when I joined Klook so having a travel background is not a must-have to me. Within a couple of months, we can train a new joiner to become a strong Marketing or Business Development professional and succeed at their role here. Following this, they develop at their own speed, while the runway is long, it’s up to each individual to decide how quickly to fly.  

 

Sydney team catching up over lunch and drinks

 

Why is Klook a great place for someone who wants to grow their career? 

The culture of the team is one of very open, constructive feedback. People disagree very openly and it's fantastic, there is nothing personal about disagreements. It's an idea meritocracy where the best ideas come to the top because we are so open to feedback. 

We lead with "yes, and...". Yes, it's a good idea and here's how to make it happen. We make sure it's not just the best ideas but also the best team of people working on executing it. A good idea delivered or executed poorly is a bad idea. We're as big on ideas as we are on execution and ownership.

 

Do you have any tips or tricks for candidates interested in applying for our roles? 

I value a growth mindset over hard skills. Skills are useful in the known environment. At Klook, or the travel industry in general, we are in uncharted territory, it really is an unknown ecosystem and that's where we're going to be in the next 12-18 months. What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. So I'm looking for someone who learns fast, who will openly disagree if something is not working anymore and who is data-driven.

I'm very aware that we are interviewing candidates as much as they're interviewing us. Part of the discussion should be around what we can give you as an employee. So I always ask candidates: 'What are you looking for?'. I’m looking for team members who have thought about it because people who understand what they want will progress really quickly here at Klook.

 

Klook ANZ team is hiring for:

Senior Associate, Marketing & Tourism Partnerships (Sydney/Melbourne)

Graduate, Business Development (Sydney) 

Marketing Associate (Sydney)

Business Development Associate (Sydney)

 

You'll be based out of our Sydney office (option to work remotely from Melbourne where specified).

 


Roles not available anymore? 

See all jobs at Klook

 

klook.pngPosted by Klook Careers

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