The moment when a company which has a vacancy comes into contact with a young person who has, or could come to have, the ability to fill such a vacancy, is very delicate and should be managed with great care, with a path set out for the correct approach to the role.
We are interviewing Michela Parlamento, sales back-office employee in our Biella offices, to hear about her experience during her entry phase into our Group.
Hello Michela. What had been your educational path before joining Marchi & Fildi? Which languages had you studied?
After graduating from the linguistics high school G. & Q Sella in Biella in 2018, where I studied English, French and Spanish, I enrolled at the University of Valle D’Aosta. The choice of university arose from the possibility of attending courses during the second year in Chambery, France, in order to obtain the Italian-French bi-national degree in languages and communications for businesses and tourism. During my third year, I attended one semester in Aosta and one semester in Barcelona, while doing a simultaneous internship, and I graduated in 2021, after a period of lockdown in Barcelona.
In May 2021, I started work as a tourist guide at the Museo del Territorio of Biella. It was a wonderful experience involving both temporary as well as permanent exhibitions during a period of great movement resulting from the virtual exhibitions of Van Gogh and Monet, which gave rise to higher numbers of visitors. This gave me the opportunity to come into contact with a wide international public, speaking mostly English and Spanish. My contract was only for the summer months and in September, I started sending out my C.V., for the larger part concentrating on the Biellese region.
You joined our company on an internship. Was this way of doing things helpful for you in understanding whether back-office work in a spinning mill was suitable for you? What did you learn and why did you decide to stay in the company at the end of your internship?
I started my internship at the end of January 2022. The sales department was busy with a fair and I immediately started working on the first tasks autonomously. I consider an internship very important, certainly in order for the company to evaluate and understand whether candidates are suitable for the role, but more importantly for the candidates themselves. In fact, it provides the opportunity of taking one’s first steps in the work environment in order to approach the new reality in a methodical way, to learn about the sector and part of the company functions. As a result of this first contact, I learned to appreciate the work of the back office in sales.
I began working mostly with overseas markets, so I had the possibility of using my languages, generally English and French, which is still the situation today.
An important factor is that I have learnt to manage the stress caused principally by the frenetic demands made by the fashion sector. In addition, the constant contact with customers and agents has helped me to overcome my shyness, both at work and also in my everyday life.
The international management of the commercial sector and my own wish to deepen my knowledge of the textile business, and also thanks to my father’s work and the stories he told, helped me to choose to stay in the company.
What does your job consist of? What are the aspects you love most? And what are the most challenging aspects?
My role is to better manage customer requests, while trying to mediate between their needs and the needs of the company. At the basis of this is the disposition for customer care, which must guarantee confidence to the person you are speaking to, while speaking on behalf of the company itself.
It is extremely important to me to use my languages. Moreover, being in contact with customers from all over the world enables me to acquire knowledge pertaining to the individual countries and geographical areas concerned, which has always fascinated me ever since I was a student of tourism. Working in this company has made me appreciate the beauty of working in a team, one of the factors I appreciate most. I took part in Pitti Filati in January and June 2023, a very positive experience which faced me with two new stimuli: presenting the collection of yarns, and relating to customers in person instead of over the phone or via email, as normally would be the case.
Naturally, my job has its more difficult challenges, in particular, managing possible dissatisfaction on the part of a customer, and my commitment to finding a solution to their problem.
Does working in a sales office come up to your expectations? How would you like to grow in the company?
I like my current role very much and it completely fulfils my expectations. I am interested in continuing to grow and in improving the work I do. I would like to be more aware of my abilities and to understand what I should improve, given that one of my main characteristics is the wish to continue to learn new things, to gain new competences and to become increasingly autonomous in my work.