Kathy Allison is currently the HR Manager at boohoo.com – and below we have a full interview with her covering a range of different aspects of her career in HR, and advice for anyone wishing to enter a similar field.
Kathy Allison HR Manager at boohoo.com
Describe your typical day.
It is hard to describe a typical day at boohoo because there never is one that is the same! From a day full of interviews and addressing director meetings to sorting out issues in the distribution centre HR. My role offers such a variety and really keeps you on your toes!
Do you have any tips for anyone wanting to break into the industry?
It is essential to show determination and make use of any experience that you can gain to start off your career. If you want to break into HR in the fashion industry, it also helps to get some experience in this area too. A lot of people tend to create fashion websites and blogs to showcase their experience and passion for fashion!
What were you doing before you became HR manager at boohoo.com and what prompted this change?
Before boohoo I worked as a people development manager in the services sector for the Radisson Blue hotel chain’s head office in Manchester. A friend of mine actually saw the role for boohoo advertised and recommended it would be a great fit for me, seeing as I have quite a quirky fashion sense and a love of clothes! I decided to apply for the role as head of HR, this was a massive step seeing as there was no HR implemented within the business before me, but after a lengthy interview process, my position was accepted and I have never looked back.
Can you describe some of the key skills/qualities you look for in a candidate applying for a job within HR?
I admire individuals that understand you need to start from the ground up in HR, do not expect to understand all the ins and outs of HR before getting some real experience. HR is a very competitive, sought after job, so we also admire persistence in applicants and a real desire to work for the business. It is also great when applicants can show how what the business will gain if they were to be employed.
What are the various roles available in this department?
There are several different roles that you can go for within a HR department, these include:
Recruitment – especially for growing businesses it is vital for a HR department to have an employee to plan and lead the recruitment for the business. This also covers graduate recruitment.
Benefits and pay – Boohoo prides our self on our competitive offer with other fashion houses on the benefits we offer our employees, to reach this we have a dedicated employee ensuring we get the best for boohoo.
Health, equality and learning development – a good HR department needs to ensure a business has its employees well looked after, as well as giving opportunities to push themselves further in their career within the company.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you would give someone who is looking to get into HR and how can they go about getting the best experience to do so?
It is really important for people to understand that HR is really competitive, be prepared to chase that job of your dreams and persistent. It is essential to make yourself stand out from the crowd, and ensuring you get the right experience to help you find the job you are looking for. Its great to see people who have started as an assistant in the business as they have had a true understanding of what it is like to work at different levels in HR.
When interviewing a candidate, what stands out most for you, and what tips can you offer with regards to the interview process?
We like to see people’s personalities through the interview, to give us a really good idea to see if that individual would fit the job and the company, show us your style fashion retailers are not about suits! All we can really say is that you need to be yourself and if you fit, that will shine through the interview! We also really appreciate when interviewees do a bit of research on their role and the company, this really gives an indication you are interested in the role.
This article was written by Rachael Murdoch.