Before starting the first American office of London-based domestic staffing concern Angela Mortimer Ltd., Greenwich resident Stephen Candland had a decades-long career in corporate and executive recruiting.
Since becoming Angela Mortimer’s U.S. director two years ago, Candland has played a role in placing employees—everyone from nannies to personal concierges—in households in Fairfield and Westchester counties.
The recruiter notes that there are many parallels between hiring great corporate leaders and exceptional domestic talent. “Today’s [domestic employee] often takes on executive functions in the home,” he explains. “We are often looking for people who have the ability to make the way a household runs seem effortless.”
Candland recently filled us in on trends—and who’s who—in the contemporary domestic team hierarchy.
Does anyone hire a Downton Abbey-style butler or lady’s maid anymore?
They actually do. We just filled a job where the client was a retired ambassador in Georgetown. We placed a staff of four in his home, and he hired a very formal butler who is sort of his full-time personal assistant and welcomes the guests too. He packs the suitcases for travel and does anything and everything that needs to be done so this man can focus on matters he cares deeply about; things such as international diplomacy and statesmanship.
Any trends in domestic hiring that are especially popular locally?
In the Greenwich area it’s personal assistants. These are employees who can manage a family or couples’ activities, travel and schedules. They are often complementary to the housekeepers and nannies. One thing we hear often from our clients who are looking for this kind of help is that they are tired of managing the staff, the vendors, and all the various people who provide them with services. They want to enjoy their beautiful homes and their families more and worry a little less about keeping things running.
What kind of skills set you apart if you want to work for a high net worth family?
Often, it’s being able to do the job in a dedicated way. It’s not that you’re working 24/7, but sometimes you have to be available to meet needs on a moment’s notice. If the couple you’re working for is stranded in Dubai, you’ve got to be able to take that call and make the arrangements they need.
How important is discretion?
It’s the one thing about the domestic staffing business that’s really changed. In this era of technology, think about the personal violations that can happen just being tapped on a smartphone. That’s one reason why confidentiality agreements are essential. They are a part of the hiring process that can’t be overlooked.