From au pairs and butlers to personal assistants via chefs, chauffeurs, gardeners and nannies, the range of domestic staff you can hire is broad and somewhat bewildering. How do you know who you need? How do you find a gem among the dross?
If you don’t want to go through the complex and demanding process of advertising and interviewing potential staff only to discover that your new appointee is less than satisfactory, help is at hand.
London has numerous specialist agencies dedicated to helping clients find the right staff to manage their households. These agencies have years of experience of matching carefully selected, highly trained household management staff with the individual needs of their clients.
But how do you choose an agency? And what should you expect?
First of all, any agency worth its salt will prioritise your safety. Any candidate they put forward will have been vetted according to the security procedures required in the UK and in any other country where you may require your staff to work.
Next, the best agencies will give you a personal and selective approach. They will not simply send you a fistful of CVs and expect you to sift through them yourself. An advisor will meet you either in person or on the phone, as suits you. In complete confidence, they will discuss your needs and wishes to get a true understanding of your requirements.
A good agency will have a large register of potential employees from which you can choose. However, sheer numbers are not enough. You need to be confident in how those butlers, chauffeurs and other staff got onto the agency’s list.
The best agencies have rigorous selection procedures. They interview all potential staff before accepting them for placement, they demand relevant qualifications, take up all references and, in many cases, demand a significant length of experience in the role for which the candidate is seeking work.
UK employment law is complex, and a good agency will support you as you begin to put contracts into place with your new staff. The agency’s advisor will help you to ensure that your new employee is legally entitled to work in the UK, and that the contracts you agree accord with UK law with regards to income tax, national insurance, and all the other complications of which you might fall foul.
The best agencies will also offer a guarantee of satisfaction. In some cases, this will be ten weeks, but occasionally it will be as long as seven months.