While we are very much a Catering Recruitment Agency, and position ourselves as such, we belong to a subcategory underneath that umbrella term i.e. Chef Recruitment Agency. From a business perspective there’s a strong argument to be made for general Catering Recruitment Agencies over specialized Chef Recruitment Agencies and we may as well be honest enough to admit it.
Or why we decided to become a Chef Recruitment Agency instead
Firstly there’s volume cost savings to be made on job board advertising costs and sundry other job marketing costs, whether it’s advertising positions in the national press or any of the other platforms used by recruiters. General catering and hospitality recruiters typically have more jobs on at any given time than do specialist chef recruiters.
The other main business advantage general catering recruitment agencies enjoy over specialists
like ourselves is that networking opportunities are more plentiful because they often recruit for the very same management positions who end up making hiring decisions about the kitchen. This often results in easy pickings when it comes to harvesting jobs to fill.
So given these two distinct advantages….
What drove the decision to become a specialist Chef Recruitment Agency?
There were a number of drivers and not the least among them is the fact that we have specialist knowledge of the culinary sector, but beyond that there’s a business reason too and one which, in our opinion, outweighs any of the business advantages enjoyed by general catering recruitment houses. Put concisely the difference is between harvesting jobs to fill and actually filling them. The more specialized you are in catering recruitment the greater your market knowledge becomes and the easier it is to stay in the loop. This was brought home to us recently when we discovered that an assignment we were handling for the recruitment of four different chefs positions, for the one client, was also being handled by a very well established, and respected, general catering recruitment agency. Our initial concern was that their longer time “at bat” and more prominent industry profile would, in a straight forward battle to attract talent, hand them, and their candidates, the advantage. We began to lower our expectations and hope that we could at least get one, or optimistically two, of our candidates over the line for a job offer.
Then something unexpected began to happen. Our candidates began, one by one, to get called to interview. Then we began to get requests for our candidates to drop in for a “try out” and one by one they began to get jobs offers. At time of writing two candidates have agreed terms, one has started, another starts this week and decisions are expected from the remaining two.
The specialist chef agency takeaway
We’re not more talented than the people behind the catering recruitment agency we shut out of this assignment but we are more focused on the jobs given to us to fill and on the chefs who’ve entrusted us with managing their move. As an agency we do need a steady stream of clients but we don’t need as many as a general catering recruitment agency because we’re confident in our ability to surface the culinary talent to fit the vacancy, most of the time. And in this, specialization and focus helps.
In a future post, or two, I hope to examine the different challenges facing catering businesses, according to location, when it comes to finding and retaining chefs. A promising avenue would be to contrast the factors governing candidate attraction between finding chefs in Dublin Vs the rest of Ireland.