Candidate Spotlight

A long time between job searches but Placed is always top of mind

For someone like Lauren M. who likes to spend several years in a job to learn and grow, the opportunity to maintain a connection with a hospitality recruitment agency that remembers her when she calls is priceless. At her previous role which came via Placed Recruitment – a 1-hat fine dining restaurant – Lauren spent six years, and she has now been with her current employer for three years.

Finding work in a “very small” hospitality industry

“Sydney is surprisingly small in terms of the hospitality community,” Lauren explains. “When I’m considering a career move, I know that if I contact Geremy, he’ll know exactly how to help me so … “

“… even though I may look at other job boards, I would absolutely ring Placed and let them know I’m on the market.”

The Placed Recruitment registration process

From her initial encounter with Placed Recruitment, Lauren found that the emphasis was on establishing a relationship. “I had to go in for a meeting with Geremy; we had a chat one-on-one and he really took on board everything I was saying.”

“You could see from the jobs they sent me to that he’d listened to me.”

“Even when I approached Placed for my second placement, Geremy remembered me and knew exactly how to help me.”

Lauren’s new job wish list

Every Candidate who registers with Placed Recruitment is asked about their career goals. In Lauren’s case, she had a 3-point checklist and insisted that at least one of the items had to be fulfilled. “After twelve years of working weekends,” she says, “I really wanted Sundays off. I also wanted to work fewer than 50 hours, and I wanted a change in cuisine focus.”

On both occasions, Geremy was able to secure for Lauren an interview for a Sous Chef position within around a week.

“Geremy very quickly put me on to a job that actually ticked all the boxes!”

“I’ve got my Sundays off, my manageable hours and I’m learning tons of new things in a different environment, focusing on meat instead of fish.”

The value of being a Placed Recruitment Candidate

With two hospitality placements squared away via Placed, Lauren says she knows exactly why they are “the” Sydney hospitality recruitment agency.

“Placed really meet my needs. They help me find what I’m looking for,
not what they’re looking to fill.”

“And Geremy has great contacts in hospitality. Sometimes I feel like he knows where the jobs are before everyone else finds out so I would always go to Placed first to find out what’s out there.”

The ongoing relationship

Lauren says Geremy followed up a few months in to her new role to check how she was enjoying it. “He also comes and says hi when he comes in for a meal at the restaurant. It’s great to be able to stay in touch like that.”

Would Lauren recommend Placed Recruitment to others?

“I already do,” she insists. “I tell other people in the industry that my recruitment agency always looks after me so look them up.”

Initially overlooked, Lauren finds her ultimate role was created specifically for her

Sometimes, you see an opportunity and go for it but then it seems it was meant for someone else. This was how it went for Placed Recruitment Candidate Lauren, who applied for a position as Director of Food & Beverage at a high end Sydney property with multiple F&B outlets. After missing out on the role, she continued the job search and was ultimately validated with an offer from the same employer six months later.

How Placed Recruitment kept Lauren in the loop

Initially, Placed’s MD, Geremy had conducted one of the three interviews with Lauren for the Director position and was advised that she was the second choice. The employer asked if she wouldn’t mind being kept in touch. “I thought they were just letting me down easily but Geremy stayed in constant contact with me and kept me informed of other roles I might be interested in. We kept in touch and he heard from that original employer. They said they would literally create a new position for me and today, I’m their Assistant Director of Food & Beverage!”

Getting to know the Candidate

Even from their initial communication, Geremy had been creating a profile on Lauren which, as with all Candidates, was comprehensive enough to know exactly the type of role for which she would be a perfect match with an employer organisation. “He knew that money wasn’t the priority but that I wanted to learn new things and move out of operational roles. He made the effort to get to know that I was after a more strategic, executive role and that I wanted something where I would be the one who makes things happen.”

The Placed Recruitment difference

Lauren says that she has used other hospitality recruitment agencies in the past but that they take a very superficial approach. Placed Recruitment was entirely different.

“Placed do a lot of the hard work for you. They are the negotiating party between Candidate and Employer. Also, Geremy would frequently check in with me about roles he knew would fit me.”

Coaching and mentoring is all part of the service

Lauren was surprised to discover that before and after every interview, Geremy would call to provide coaching. “He would give me feedback from the employer and reassure me that I was suitable for the role and advise on how I should tackle the next interview round.”

Calling it “empowering”, Lauren says her bolstered confidence meant she didn’t miss an incredible employment offer based on interview performance.

Not ‘just another faceless Candidate’

Feeling valued as an individual was an important part of the Placed Recruitment experience for Lauren.

“Geremy never leaves you wondering. You never feel like if something didn’t go well, it’s all over. He takes the time to explain and encourage.”

Lauren also says that the recruitment process was very personalised and that she felt guided and supported every step of the way. “Even when it seemed to be taking too long for the contract to be presented, Geremy would call and keep me posted on what was happening.”

Would Lauren recommend Placed Recruitment to others?

“I personally only ever dealt with Geremy but he is such an expert in matching people to hospitality roles and, seeing how the team operates, I would never hesitate to recommend him.”

“We have now used placed on four separate successful occasions.”

Employer Spotlight

Head Chef needed help to secure Sous Chef for popular but out-of-the-way location

When Paris-born and classically French trained chef Guillaume Zika took over the kitchen at Cottage Point Inn, his first task was to assemble a team of professionals who would create a cohesive, effective working environment. Accustomed to working in highly disciplined Michelin starred restaurants in France, the US and England, Head Chef Guillaume sought to engage staff who demonstrated the level of commitment and focus he brought to the business. While he managed to autonomously recruit his Chef de Partie, Commis Chef and kitchen hands, he knew that the role of Sous Chef would be more of a challenge, and so he turned to Placed Recruitment to manage this for him.

Why an agency?

“Initially, I did ask around among people I know in the industry but I was unable to find the person who would be truly suited to the role. I knew that if you’re a Sous Chef looking for a job, you would go through an agency because they know what positions are available and which companies offer the right kinds of roles.”

“Also, I just didn’t have the time to conduct multiple interviews
so when I decided to contact an agency, I thought of
Placed Recruitment right away.”

First encounter with Placed Recruitment

Chef Guillaume recalled meeting Placed Recruitment’s MD, Geremy Glew upon arriving in Australia in 2012. “Originally, I had contacted Geremy about finding a Chef position for myself but ultimately, I was offered a role sooner than I’d expected,” Guillaume explains. “Even from that day, my impression of Geremy was that he would be the person to go to, to find a Sous Chef.”

The value in choosing a hospitality-specific agency

Guillaume says that working with an agency staffed by experienced hospitality industry professionals was a key driver in his choice to go with Placed Recruitment.

“Geremy himself is a chef. He understands what I’m looking for
and completely understands the industry.”

“If I tell him I want someone who can actually read a recipe properly, he knows what I mean; I don’t have to explain. This makes things so much easier because it saves time and energy.”

Indeed, the mutual respect between the two chefs was also a compelling factor, one that produced the right result promptly. Geremy had visited Cottage Point Inn for the briefing consultation and so that Guillaume could show him around the restaurant and kitchen. “The next I heard from Geremy, he had found the person who became my Sous Chef, who has now been with me for over a year,” Guillaume says. “At first, I was concerned that I wasn’t so involved in the process but then I realised, there’s no reason why I need to know how many candidates have been interviewed and I also don’t need to know why the other candidates were not chosen. All I need is for the role to be filled according to my requirements.”

Reliability and reassurance

Asked if he would use Placed Recruitment the next time he needed to employ a Sous Chef, Guillaume was quick to reply.

“What I liked most is the reliability I could count on.
It gives me great confidence to know that I can rely on their
expertise because it worked out so well the first time.”

The 3-month guarantee

Placed Recruitment’s policy of providing a second placement at no additional charge if the first does not remain in the position for three months gave an extra level of reassurance. “It removes all the worry,” Guillaume says.

“They make everything as easy as possible and this
guarantee is very valuable.”

Already recommending Placed Recruitment to industry associates, Chef Guillaume says he wouldn’t hesitate to contact the company again if the need arose.

About Cottage Point Inn

Cottage Point Inn is an unexpected bushland hideaway where fine dining is the order of the day, white tablecloths gently flapping in the breeze on the terrace overlooking the Hawkesbury River. Chef Guillaume says it’s a dream location in which to enjoy an exceptional lunch or dinner that takes the best of Australian produce and serves it up with classic French aplomb. “It’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else though you could literally be anywhere in the world,” he says. “It’s very special, very peaceful and serene.”

Having been awarded two chefs hats, Cottage Point Inn attracts serious foodies and international tourists as well as celebrity chefs from around the world. In addition to the exquisite local seafood, cheeses and other ingredients, the name Guillaume Zika is itself a drawcard as the chef has earned a reputation for innovative, elegant cuisine.

Accessible by car, boat or sea plane, Cottage Point Inn has an unrivalled personality that excites and compels. Once there, with the highly skilled team led by Guillaume in the kitchen, the experience unfailingly delivers.

The challenges of recruiting for a large, multiple outlet hospitality property

As the former General Manager of The Grounds, a multiple outlet hospitality site in Alexandria which used to be the Four ‘n’ Twenty pie factory, Kelly Taylor had to have her own finger in lots of metaphoric pies! With three different food and beverage outlets plus event catering on a site that features 1800 square metres of kitchen gardens, markets and intriguing outdoor spaces, finding the right personnel is a significant ongoing challenge. When Executive Chef Paul McGrath suggested that Kelly talk with Geremy of Placed Recruitment, she soon found all her upper level recruitment solutions could be met.

Why an agency?

“Time is such a valuable commodity,” Kelly explains, “We chose to outsource this particular function to a recruitment agency because they have the expertise to do in a shorter space of time, what would take us much longer.” Kelly says recruitment is always a challenging task for any business. Though The Grounds employs a fulltime HR Manager, they found that for upper level positions, they needed a specialist recruitment service.

“When you’re looking for someone specific, you really have a
very select group of people to choose from in Sydney.
Placed Recruitment knows how to find them.”

“We’d get mountains of applicants and none would be suitable, therefore a waste of our time. Then, if someone amazing comes through but the process is handled by someone less senior, they may not be able to immediately identify those specific qualities and we could miss the opportunity to hire someone incredible.”

The difference between Placed Recruitment and other hospitality recruitment agencies

Kelly says they had used other agencies before but found them more concerned with quantity, than quality. “They were putting forward inappropriate candidates and this didn’t make for the best use of our time.” She says the first person Geremy and Placed Recruitment put forward was an “absolutely perfect fit”.

“Geremy and the Placed team put such a lot of research into each candidate so before we even get to hear about them, they’ve learned a great deal about them, and fitted them to our business’s culture. For one role, they presented us with three people who were all very well suited and the one we ultimately selected was absolutely perfect.”

“Placed Recruitment are very much aligned with our goals
and our brand and are a big part of why we attract and
retain some of Sydney’s best talent.”

Diverse roles filled by Placed Recruitment

Over time, The Grounds engaged Placed Recruitment to find Sous Chefs, Restaurant Managers, a Manager for The Potting Shed (lunch/dinner), a Deputy General Manager and an Operations Manager.

“Given that we had such varied roles to fill, Placed had to be really thorough with their understanding of our needs,” Kelly explains. “They innately know the industry and the whole organisational structure. They took the time to know our brand, people, culture and vision and how it all incorporates into our larger business strategy. All the people they have put forward have been ‘bang-on’.” Kelly is also keen to point out that Geremy and his team “just get it”, such as not calling during peak service hours, something that other agencies did.

Beyond the mechanics of staffing, Kelly says that having Placed Recruitment on board helped her reach her GM goals much more rapidly so that in turn, The Grounds’ goals have been reached sooner, which has driven growth and success.

An unparalleled recruitment process for Sydney hospitality staff

Impressed at the streamlined recruitment process, Kelly says she wouldn’t be able to work with any other agency when seeking mid to upper level hospitality personnel. “Something that strikes me about Placed is that their process is so much more efficient. Geremy and his team are all incredibly professional, super passionate and have a really deep understanding of the industry, which is a huge plus for them. All the team are very sharp and very proactive. They would sit down with us and go through our entire organisational structure. I’ve never had anyone be so thorough. It’s a bit of an investment at the beginning but equipped with that clear understanding, they simply go ahead and don’t waste my time with people that aren’t suitable.”

“What they offer is something that’s very hard to find;
it’s refreshing.”

The long-term relationship between The Grounds and Placed Recruitment is such that Kelly now continually recommends the agency to others in the industry. “They’re professional and efficient to a T,” she says. “Their commitment, follow-up and personalised service are second to none. I also find that Geremy is very creative. He doesn’t just take our brief and fit a person to a job. He thinks out of the box and makes suggestions. He has so much experience and puts a great deal of groundwork into what would make the ideal candidate for our needs. He applies a holistic view of candidates. He doesn’t just consider their experience but also, how they will fit into our business.”

“The calibre of candidates is always beyond our expectation
and I couldn’t think of another recruitment agency that
deserves this kind of high praise.”

About The Grounds

Kelly speaks very fondly of The Grounds, calling it a “pretty magical place, even a bit of a wonderland where memorable experiences are created”. Designed to appeal to a large cross-section of the community including families, all age groups, tourists and locals alike, it offers a unique selection of indoor and outdoor opportunities to socialise, eat, drink and enjoy the atmosphere. From Fluffy the friendly macaw in The Potting Shed to the home-grown produce lovingly nurtured by the resident horticulturalist and freshly picked from The Garden, there is always something fascinating to see, learn about and taste. In fact, Kelly describes The Grounds as an innovative, immersive experience that appeals to all of the senses.

With more than 122,000 Instagram followers, The Grounds regularly appears high on lists of Australia’s most photographed and geo-tagged locations.

5 venues, a skills and enthusiasm shortage and the desperate quest for a ‘secret weapon’

As Director and Head Honcho of Applejack Hospitality, Hamish Watts spends a good deal of his time juggling multiple balls and keeping them in the air. The analogy is deliberately a fun, dynamic one because at its core, Applejack is a youthful brand (think 30-somethings) with energy, joie de vivre and tons of forward-mindedness. So when it comes to recruiting the kinds of chefs needed to dish up the funky food this demanding sector seeks and follows, an equally unique recruitment agency is called for.

Trying to find the right players in a narrow market

With five individual venues to staff, Hamish has turned to various hospitality recruitment agencies as well as LinkedIn and SEEK, for lower level positions but has found innovative, excited chefs are thinner on the ground in Sydney.

“It’s currently a pretty tough market. There’s a definite skills shortage
and I’m finding that chefs are no longer going through traditional methods
of applying for positions themselves.”

“They now seem to put themselves out to market and canvas a larger field of potential employers.”

That being Hamish’s experience, he knew he had to procure some kind of “secret weapon”.

“We were trying to find a new Executive Chef for one of our properties and my business partner engaged some other recruiters he’d previously used, while I was on annual leave. It was obvious there were plenty of hotel-type chefs around, who’d come through more traditional channels where they’d write menus and have staff do the cooking. We wanted someone more hands-on, who could mentor and lead, to deliver a better product,” Hamish explains. “Someone youthful enough to fit with the company culture and flexible enough to mould with it. They had to be passionate, and we kept coming across the tired and jaded type. I got on the phone to Geremy and he immediately set up an appointment … to interview me!

Recruiter interviews employer

The recruiter/employer interview process took Hamish by surprise.

“I was caught a little off guard, to be honest.
I’d never been through that with a recruiter before.”

“He interviewed me in depth about who we are and who we were looking for. I really appreciate the effort he went to, to understand what we were after. Geremy found us a dream placement who fits perfectly with our culture.”

Knowing who wouldn’t be right is as important as knowing who would be

Other placements have been just as successful. “We needed a Head Chef for The Butler. A bunch of candidates came through that interested me but Geremy actually talked me out of them. He’d identified character traits that didn’t align with our business and taken the time to understand us and every candidate. He knew precisely who wouldn’t be suitable, as much as who would be.”

“That’s what sold me on Geremy.
He cares deeply about the end result.”

And he diligently follows up, months after the placement to ensure everything is as it should be. I wasn’t even aware it was part of the service. Geremy is the real deal.”

The agency for upper level placements

Applejack Hospitality continues to engage other methods and agencies for lower end roles, however Hamish insists that Placed Recruitment is the only agency he would use for medium to upper level placements. “Absolutely; they’re my go-to agency for those,” he says. “But don’t tell too many people,” he grins. “They’re our trade secret.”

“The sheer number of warm leads – passive candidates – that Geremy has access to, along with his long-term relationships with great chefs who are quietly on the radar, is astonishing.”

“I was blown away by the quality of the high end Executive Chefs that came through on the campaign we did with Placed. To be honest, I was certain the person we were looking for simply didn’t exist. Now I know just to call Placed and get the process started.”

About Applejack Hospitality

A fun, dynamic brand, Applejack Hospitality serves up cutting-edge food and beverages, along with a super cool vibe, across five Sydney venues. “We offer some of the most fun and unique dining experiences Sydney has to offer,” Hamish says. “Everything is of exceptional quality, in a fresh and exciting environment.”

The organisation’s customer base features increasingly loyal followers in their 30s.

Applejack caters to different moods, occasions and desires. The new kid on the block is the quirky environment of the hidden away, good-times Della Hyde vintage cocktail bar and kitchen with its pronounced focus on seasonal cocktails. For light ‘n’ breezy get-togethers, it has to be the casual, brightly lit freshness of The Butler. Share plates and glam cocktails reign supreme at The Botanist, a lively, yesteryear-style tribute to early twentieth-century botanist, Gerard Fothergill. Bondi Hardware is about as far removed from a Bunnings Warehouse as could be and nails (pun intended) the quirky décor without a hint of kitsch. Its exposed brick interior and tool displays form an intriguing backdrop to an innovative menu, featuring some dazzling inclusions. SoCal is the Sydney incarnation of a Californian surf trip during which Hamish and business partner, Ben Carroll ate and drank their way around the state.