Skip to main content

We are pleased to welcome Kathrine Sullivan!

1. So, Kathrine, you may be new to the Chace People team (welcome!), but how long have you been in the recruitment game and how did you start in this industry?

Thank you Millie I am very pleased to be the newest member of Chace People!
I have been working as a private household recruiter for 25 years. I was completely unaware of this industry when I started and it was actually through a chance favour for a friend of my sister-in-law, Clare Rose Smith, where it all started. Both she and my sister-in-law had been Nannies for private families and Clare (then turned private staff recruiter), was looking for someone to cover an afternoon’s work at the private staffing agency where she was, at that time, working; just to answer the phones whilst the team went out for their Christmas lunch. The proprietor, Serena Le Maistre, phoned the office several times that afternoon to make sure I was addressing any callers correctly (testing me basically!) and said she thought my telephone manner was better than that of her staff which, of course, I was delighted to hear… Several weeks later, in the new year, Serena called me personally and asked me to work part-time as her Personal Assistant and Office Administrator, which worked perfectly for me at that time as my daughter had just started nursery school… and the rest as they say, is history!

2. So, what is it about this industry that you love?

I fell into the industry purely by chance and I think it actually chose me rather than the other way round?! After working for 6 months as PA/Administrator for Serena at the agency, called (at that time), Serena Le Maistre and Associates, I was asked to cover one of the Private Household desks and to assist the Recruitment Consultant with placements for Household Couples. I remember firmly stating that I did not have the penchant for recruitment/sales and thought that would be the end of the discussion. However, much to my dismay, Serena was not about to give up on the idea that easily. She booked a couple of registration meetings and on the day of the meetings delegated to me saying that she was going to be out of the office and that the other consultants on the team had meetings that clashed. I was so incredibly nervous and to top it off Serena walked back in just as I started the first meeting (as was her plan all along), to see how I managed. She thought I was a natural (against my better judgement!) and that was the day I became a Recruitment Consultant…and I can’t thank Serena enough!
With Private Household Staffing, it’s the variety of the roles and the vast array of people who you have the opportunity to work with, which I love the most, from the clients to the candidates. No one day is the same as the next and I have worked with many different types of clients within my time from, ‘ladies who lunch’, to aristocracy, to high powered businessmen and women, high profile public figures and even international Royal households. The range is so diverse and each brings its own challenges and rewards.
I have been fortunate enough to have met and worked with wonderful candidates throughout the years from all walks of life, from all across the globe. These are the people who are at the heart of recruitment and who should always be treated with respect. Without good candidates you would not have the base to look after your clients’ requirements. I’ve made relationships over the past 25 years with people who I still speak to on a regular basis today and some of those candidates have become clients and vice versa!

3. What does your job as a private household staffing recruiter involve?

There are many facets to the role. Due diligence and duty of care is of the utmost importance, along with confidentiality. You are recruiting staff for ultra/high net worth clients, so you have to ensure their privacy is respected.
Also, just as important, is getting to know your candidates to enable you to put them forward for the best positions for their skill set. Being there as a support system throughout the recruitment process and beyond that is crucial and usually is what sets you apart from other recruiters. Checking in with your candidates (and the client), throughout the placement to see how things are going. A small gesture, which goes a long way.
Another important element of the role is building a rapport with the client and/or their representatives to gain as much information as you can to understand the intricacies of each household and to be able to shortlist the best candidates available for their consideration.
As a recruiter we also, more often than not, write the job description and utilise various platforms to source new candidates, so again networking and communication is key.
Reference checking is also hugely important in this industry, ensuring the suitability of candidates in terms of their experience and character. This is equally as important when working with new clients, to ensure you’re placing your candidates with employers of integrity.

4. What is your favourite part of your job?

The absolute best feeling is when you know you have placed someone in their dream role, where they will be happy for the long term. This is incredibly satisfying knowing you’ve started employee and employer off, on what will hopefully be, a long and successful journey. I also love the element of building solid working relationships with my clients and candidates.

5. Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work?

Definitely several great colleagues who I have been lucky enough to work with over the years. Clare Driver to name one of them; a dear friend, ex-work colleague and an owner of her own boutique agency… and of course Serena, who initiated my recruitment career!

6. How has the private household staffing sector overcome the struggles of the current covid pandemic and what excites you as we move through this period?

Private Households will always need staff, but of course the industry has certainly had to adapt, like all of us in the midst of the pandemic. Interviews have turned virtual, and trials (which are common practice in private households and estates), have been carried out with regular Covid testing and the introduction of wearing face masks and gloves, even introducing quarantining periods set up in secondary residences or hotels before entering the client’s home. The industry will continue to adapt and what’s exciting is seeing how candidates are adapting and moving into new positions and settings; for instance we’re seeing a lot of our yacht crew and hospitality candidates making the move into the private household, bringing unique sets of skills and different processes – the modern household is changing!

7. And what are you most excited for about working at Chace People?

I am excited to be working with my ex-colleague (we worked together at Quintessentially), and new boss, Antonia Edwards! We always worked well together as fellow consultants and she has great business acumen. Overall, I’m excited to be part of Chace People and its expansion.

If you’re looking for your next move, or to make your next inspired hire within private household and estate staffing, get in touch with Kathrine and her team today.


Author milliehutchinson

More posts by milliehutchinson

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: