What to Expect as A Personal Chef in Private Staffing

The Life of a Private Chef

The role of a Domestic Chef is truly diverse and interesting to say the least. However, making the decision to venture into the domestic realm of culinary arts comes with some surprises, as there is a lot more to being a Private Chef than one may assume. Marilyn Frobuccino, award-winning restaurant chef turned celebrity personal chef, notes that there are some important things to consider if you are making the leap from Restaurant Chef to Private Chef.

Planning a Menu Geared Towards Your Employer

A restaurant has the same fixed menu for a period of time. You master the same rotation of dishes and walk into work every day with a general sense of what to expect.

When you work with a private family or individual, you could be preparing up to 21 different meals per week, not including snacks, desserts or larger meals for gatherings both large and small. In addition, you need to be flexible and sensitive to work with the dietary needs and restrictions of your employer. If the family is vegan/vegetarian, you will be expected to create dishes in accordance with those guidelines for every meal.

Flexible Hours for a Private Chef

A restaurant has operating hours, you know what time you are due in and you leave about the same time every night. As a Private Chef, you are accountable for yourself. You manage yourself, your time and your product from start to finish. The hectic and erratic schedules of a family or individual require you to be extremely flexible.

“A client expects their food to be fresh so if it takes them longer than usual to put their children to bed, you can’t leave dinner sitting out that whole time, you need to properly store it and have it reheated and re-plated when they are ready to sit down and eat,” explained Ms. Frobuccino, adding that the ability to “roll with the punches” is just a part of the job.

Adjusting to a Private Staff Environment

You are working in someone’s personal kitchen, meaning you have to make the best of the resources you have available to you and work well with other household staff members. Unlike a restaurant environment, a domestic environment means you will have little to no interaction with other chefs. You will need to look outside of the workplace for inspiration that usually comes with collaboration and a large amount of resources.

Oftentimes, as a Private Chef, you have to source the ingredients yourself for meals, unlike working at a restaurant where you receive deliveries on a consistent basis. This means a lot of research and information gathering as to the best places to source particular ingredients within a reasonable distance of you workplace.

Traveling with Your Employer

In addition to being able to source fresh, quality ingredients near the home of your employer, a Private Chef will also be expected to find ingredients in any location if traveling with the family. For example, if you are on an island, you may need to go out 2-3 times a day to obtain all your products, as you are reliant on various shipment times of products.

Some families have two homes, typically a summer location and a winter location. During the summer, there is a larger chance that you will work on weekends, preparing meals for the family and their guests.

Of course, every Private Chef role is tremendously different; whether it is a full-time chef position, seasonal position, freelance or part-time chef positions. Other variables include family size (including how many children are in the family), dietary restrictions, how often the Chef is expected to cook formally or for large or small parties and how much travel is included in the position.

About Private Staff

At Private Staff Group our technologies, our recruitment team and our candidate networks are second to none when it comes to finding the personal, private, and domestic professionals you can count on. Whether you want to hire a personal chef or cook, we can pair you with the right candidate. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

Do You Need a Personal Assistant in Your Home?

Are you dropping the ball at work? Having trouble finishing tasks at home? Do you have a big project you need to finish? Do you feel you need to be more organized? If you find yourself saying the following phrases more often than you’d like, a Personal Assistant may be just what you need.

  • “I just don’t have the time.”
  • “I’m sorry I completely forgot.”
  • “I can’t remember where I put that.”
  • “How do I find a good …?”
  • “I can’t right now, I’m too busy.”
  • “I need to check my calendar.”
  • “I’ve been meaning to do that.”
  • “I can’t believe I missed that appointment.”
  • “How am I going to get from … to …?
  • “Did I remember to invite …?”
  • “Do I have everything I need to travel to …?”

Imagine how much could you accomplish with a skilled Personal Assistant. Personal Assistants can work full-time, part-time, in your home, in your office, or remotely. They can assist you with tasks and clear a lot off of your plate.

What Can A Personal Assistant Do For You?

A personal assistant can assist you in a plethora of tasks including:

  • travel arrangements
  • doctor appointments
  • event planning including vendor and guest matters
  • calendar management
  • home and vehicle upkeep
  • family needs
  • errands
  • gift buying and personal shopping
  • bill payment
  • special projects

If you find you are more often than not running out of time to accomplish any of the tasks above, consider a personal assistant. They can save you time, help with research, information, fulfill all those tasks you constantly put on the back burner because they are small or not as time-critical, but still necessary. In short, they will get the job done, allowing you to focus on the things that are most important to you.

About Private Staff Group

At Private Staff Group our technologies, our recruitment team and our candidate networks are second to none when it comes to finding the personal, private, and domestic professionals you can count on. Ensuring you are paired with the right candidate is our top priority. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

How Long Will it Take to Find A Private Staff Employee?

When working with an agency to find household staff, people often ask how long it will take for them to find and employ the right candidate. While an agency does all that it can to find the best match as timely as possible, there is no honest “one size fits all” answer to that question. The truth is, finding the perfect employee-employer match is truly all about timing. When the recruiter gets the “go-ahead” to begin sourcing candidates for a domestic staff position a lot of factors are at play.

The Candidate Selection Process

Agencies will reach out to top candidates that they have worked with in the past to see if they are available. If they are not, a new search will have to be started. That process includes placing job postings, scouting out top talent through databases, networking, screening, and credentialing resumes, conducting in-person interviews, and performing thorough reference and background checks. Candidates that have not been properly vetted will not even make it to the inbox of the hiring family or individual.

Performing Background & Reference Checks

Reference checks have the potential to greatly slow down the process, but are absolutely pertinent to verify that the candidate’s performance was as fantastic as they and their resume boast. Previous employers for candidates may be extremely busy individuals who need to schedule a time to speak with a recruiter. If the references are international, that also takes more time and effort. A time difference compounded with the time constraints of previous employers can often draw out the process.

Interview Process

If the candidate is employed, they may need to give their current employer advance notice before taking time off for an interview. Depending on how many interviews are needed with a prospective employee, the interview process could stretch out for several weeks. In addition, if a candidate is currently employed, they will need to give their current employer proper notice before beginning their new endeavor.

Trial Process to Ensure the Proper Fit

Most recruiting agencies offer their clients a trial period, so the families or individuals can determine how well a candidate can apply their skills to the specific opportunity without any obligation to hire them. Sometimes the trial lasts only a day before the family feels confident they have found the right person, other times, depending on the position, it may take up to a week or two before a judgment call can be made on proper fit.

Effects of Location

Location and scope of the job makes a big difference in how long a search can take. In a much more densely populated area, there is talent everywhere waiting to find their perfect match. As the population thins out, so does the likelihood that the best talent is right around the corner. Some candidates are willing to travel or relocate for the right role.

What Set of Skills Does the Job Require

Lastly, the job description itself can lend to a shorter or longer search time. Positions requiring a candidate to have a unique and specific skill set may be harder to find than broader skills. Non-traditional work hours can add some time to the search, as some qualified candidates may have personal commitments that would not allow them to accept such a role. Other factors that can affect the ability to find qualified, interested, and available candidates include the amount of travel required, salary and benefits, workplace environment, experience, and level of commitment required, to name a few.

Sometimes, in lucky circumstances, a top candidate will be available, interested in the opportunity, and have a fantastic interview and trial, leading to being hired quickly. However, this is not typically the case. Recruiters meticulously select candidates based on a lengthy assessment with families or individuals looking to hire, determining needs, priorities, and other important factors in their future employees. Only the very top select few make it to the prospective employer, who then provides feedback to help the recruiter continue to be even more selective in their search. With the proper amount of communication, this process will actually help find the perfect fit more quickly. Always keep in mind that the best candidate for the job may be well worth the wait!

About Private Staff

Private Staff Group presents you with every possible best-fit candidate for your position. We stay with you beyond the guarantee period to provide additional coaching, refinement, and advice about best employment practices. At Private Staff Group we offer a guarantee period with all placements. Should the candidate leave your employment within 90 days for any reason, we will replace them at no additional charge. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

Deciding If You Need Live-In Help

There are various things to consider when deciding if you need live-in household help or if daily help is sufficient for your needs.

Time Spent in Your Home

Particularly if you are seeking a house or estate manager, nanny, domestic couple, or housekeeper, a live-in candidate may be the best choice if you are often not at your residence. If there are sudden emergencies such as a burst pipe, major storm, a child falls ill when you are out of town, etc., a live-in employee is there to tend to the issue immediately.

Additionally, if you are out of residence for an entire season, live-in employees will treat your home as if it were their own, caring for it through the seasons, including winter prep and gearing up for the summer season. Property managers can keep in constant communication with any other staff to report any issues and can assess the handling of large projects that would be disruptive if occurring while you are at the residence.

An Employee to Fit Your Schedule

If you are an early riser and prefer to have your breakfast and coffee ready by 6:00am, it may make sense to have your employee live in. Otherwise, depending on the commute, you will have an employee waking in the middle of the night to get prepared and travel to your home to be there and have everything in order before you wake. Conversely, if you tend to come home late and would like the peace of mind of knowing you have an extra hand around the house to help, it may be beneficial to hire someone who can work late without the worry of the commute home in the night. If you work a non-traditional schedule a live-in employee may be very valuable, as they can more easily accommodate your lifestyle.

Extra Security for Your Piece of Mind

If you have many precious and valuable items in your home, having a live-in employee may be a great idea so you have a point of contact if you are away. This can be particularly helpful if you have a lot of construction happening in your home. You can rest assured that you have an added layer of security as contractors and vendors enter and exit your home throughout the day and lock up at night.

About Private Staff

At Private Staff Group our technologies, our recruitment team and our candidate networks are second to none when it comes to finding the personal, private, and domestic professionals you can count on. Ensuring you are paired with the right candidate is our top priority. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

Top 5 Words that Describe the Best Household Staff Candidates

For those looking for a personal assistant, estate manager, nanny or other household staff position, there are certain words that, while they may not be in a job description, describe the qualities that make a great household employee. The following five words can say so much about what sets a fantastic domestic staff member apart from an average employee.

  1. Seamless
    A well staffed home should run like a machine. Everyone knows their part to play and how to carry it out. They can properly handle damage control, think on the spot and work well under pressure. Great household staff is there to simplify your life, not complicate it.
  2. Visible/Invisible
    Household staff members who bicker in front of you and your guests, meddle in your personal affairs or who are simply nowhere to be found when you need them are not doing their jobs. Experienced and professional domestic staff members will understand when to make themselves available and when to respect boundaries and remain behind the scenes.
  3. Discreet
    Allowing access to your personal everyday life, your home, your family and closest friends is a big deal. Therefore, it is crucial that you trust your domestic staff. Discretion is one of the most important characteristics of any household employee. Employees who gossip and divulge personal information to agencies and outsiders are threats to your security, safety and reputation.
  4. Flexible
    Emergencies do arise. It is important to have flexible, reliable and loyal household staff members who understand that occasionally things happen that are out of anyone’s control. If extra hands are needed on deck that is when you will see your best employees truly shine.
  5. Adaptable
    There is more to every role than meets the eye. An adaptable household employee knows when it is time to get out of their comfort zone, roll up their sleeves and get the job done. A butler may have to clean alongside the housekeeper, the chef may need to help serve at dinner, and the chauffeur may have to babysit the children. An adaptable employee is more likely to be a team player as well as be open and willing to learn new skills.

About Private Staff Group

At Private Staff Group our technologies, our recruitment team and our candidate networks are second to none when it comes to finding the personal, private, and domestic professionals you can count on. Ensuring you are paired with the right candidate is our top priority. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

The Difference Between Concierge vs. Private Staffing

Selecting the next employee or job position for your estate requires you to understand what needs to be done around your estate. You don’t want to hire for a job that you do not need. There are multiple positions and different types of staff that you can benefit from. The major ones being private staff and concierge services. Both concierge services and private staff are excellent choices for service provision and your choice depends on whether your needs are constant or intermittent.

Hiring a Concierge

Concierge services for high net worth families are popping up regularly to service the busy needs of families and individuals. The basic premise of a concierge service is to provide an “outsourced” management service for your vendors, your property, and your lifestyle. These concierge services are not fully dedicated to your needs, but rather have a collection of different clients. Depending on their clients’ needs, they coordinate most services, maintenance, and repairs. These may include construction, security, A/V, storm watch, pest control, landscaping, mail collection and forwarding, shopping, etc. Concierge services may charge a monthly retainer fee plus a per hour charge plus a mark-up to the supervised vendor expense. Concierge is similar to having a part time estate manager or personal assistant. Of course, a concierge can work together with your full time private staff. Should you decide to engage a concierge service, consider if they are a full-service company and not just a part-time job for someone trying to launch a business.

Hiring Private Staff for Your Estate

Private staff, on the other hand, is dedicated only to your needs for the schedule of your choosing. Full time, part time, or a contract term are all possible. Private staffing covers any employees, such as a personal assistant, chef, chauffeur, housekeeper, estate manager, etc. It is typically a better choice for families and individuals with more extensive and time-consuming job requirements. Private staff members are completely focused on providing your desired services in the exact way you wish.

About Private Staff Group

At Private Staff Group our technologies, our recruitment team and our candidate networks are second to none when it comes to finding the personal, private, and domestic professionals you can count on. Ensuring you are paired with the right candidate is our top priority. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

Combining Responsibilities of Your Household Staff

When assessing your needs for domestic staff, you may realize you need a little bit of help here and there, but don’t need a full-time person for anything specific. You may wonder if there is a “catch all” person who can manage all the things you require assistance with, whose tasks would add up to a single full-time individual.

You can think up a number of combinations such as Housekeeper/Cook, Executive Housekeeper/House Manager, Nanny/Housekeeper, Butler/Chauffeur that many individuals may be interested in. It is, in fact, feasible to combine roles when hiring household staff, so long as you are willing to take the pros with the cons:

Pros:

  • One dedicated person who understands all of your needs and particulars
  • One person to communicate with
  • A single, trusted advisor

Cons:

  • Person is not specialized in one role
  • Staff person can be spread too thin
  • Schedules may overlap
  • Demands may conflict (For example, picking up the children at practice at 6:00pm and having dinner hot and served at 6:15pm may be an impossibility)

Things To Consider

While hiring one household employee who is responsible for multiple tasks may seem like the ideal option for you, keep in mind that your demands must be realistic. If one individual has full-charge for multiple children, it may be difficult for them to prepare a gourmet-style meal for dinner, or to handle deep cleaning responsibilities, as their priority is the safety of the children. However, if the children are in school during the day, your employee may be able to clean during the day and then pick the children up in the afternoon. However, even in this case, they most likely will not be able to accomplish as much in a single day as a dedicated full-time Housekeeper.

Keep in mind that while you are saving yourself the cost of several, separate full-time employees, someone who has multiple specialties and will be required to seamlessly execute multiple conflicting demands has an added value. A typical Housekeeper may be paid $60,000 per year, however, adding childcare and meal preparation may bring the annual expected salary up to $80,000.

If your household has very particular needs or has a multitude of time-consuming demands, it may not be realistic to combine roles. An experienced recruiter can help you sort through your hiring needs. They will be honest and give you thoughtful suggestions on what household staff you will need to best divide and conquer all of your requirements most effectively.

Hire an Estate Manager

Need help caring for your estate? Hire an estate manager and trust them to handle all aspects of your estate from maintaining household security to booking travel arrangements. Our goal is to make your life as carefree as possible with an emphasis on safety.

An Estate Manager is responsible for:

  • Smooth operation of the employer’s residence(s)
  • Well trained and have excellent judgment regarding decisions about household maintenance and management
  • Hiring service people and providing direction to other household staff
  • & more!

90-Day Private Staff Guarantee

We offer a 90 day guarantee period with all placements. Should the candidate leave your employment within 90 days for any reason, we will replace them at no additional charge. We stay with you well beyond the guarantee period to provide additional coaching, refinement and advice about best employment practices.

About Private Staff Group

Private Staff Group is a top recruitment talent consultancy for the world’s most prominent individuals, families and businesses. Our team provides services to clients throughout the East Coast, West Coast, and everywhere in between.

Our recruitment team and candidate networks are second to none when it comes to finding the personal, private, domestic and business professionals you can count on.

Licensed by the NYC Dept. of Consumer Affairs License # 2042722-DCA Bonded by: Western Surety Company #63522019.

 

To read more about Safety Protocols for Private Staff entering your home, please click here.

10 Reasons Why Background Checks are Essential for Your Private Staff

You do not want to blindly hire someone who will be in your house. When you hire a household employee, you expect that they are going to respect your home and everything in it. However, that is not always the case unfortunately. That being said, any additional effort you can put into a background check for a potential hire is worth it!

When Are Background Checks Necessary?

The short answer is: background checks are (almost) always necessary. Knowing who is inside your house, or even who is working for you, is vital for you to feel like you’re in a safe environment. Background checks verify and provide you with information you may not have otherwise had access to. When in doubt, perform a background check.

Why Are Background Checks Necessary?

Now that you understand when background checks are necessary, it’s also important to understand why.

  1. Create a Safer Work Environment: Whether it is a work-hire, or a domestic household hire, creating a safe work environment allows everyone to work at their best.
  2. Attract High Quality Employees: Sometimes, potential candidates that know they don’t have a clean record may shy away from submitting an application. This gives a chance for high-quality candidates to shine.
  3. Verify False References: Not everyone is honest on their resume, or even about their references. A background check can help verify that the majority, if not all, of the information passed over is correct.
  4. Decreases the Hire Turnover Rate: In an ideal world, employees would stay with you for years upon years. However, that’s (usually) not the case. So, finding a good employee that doesn’t jump around from job-to-job is important. Background checks will alert you of red flags so you can choose employees who stay at jobs longer.
  5. Highlight a Criminal Background: Finding out if a candidate has a criminal history is vital. Whether it is a violent history, or even small misdemeanor case, having this invaluable information available can help you make an informed decision when hiring.
  6. Reduce Liabilities: Nobody wants a liability risk on their hands. Any red flags on a background check (such as continuous car wrecks, bad credit, etc.) can help to reduce those potential risks.
  7. Reveal Credit History: Although this may not be as obvious as the other reasons, a credit history check is also important because it highlights any financial problems. Knowing how someone handles their money; if they’ve ever declared bankruptcy; etc, are all important to know before hiring a new employee– especially if that person will have access to your bookkeeping!
  8. Protect Yourself and Others: Theft is no laughing matter. Protect yourself, your family, your house, and even other employees by doing a thorough background check and make sure to keep an eye out for any previously mischievous behaviors.
  9. Verify Work Qualifications: Some people might put a job down because they think you won’t follow up on it. With a background check, you can easily see where the person has previously worked, therefor vetting out their personal resume.
  10. Peace of Mind: Background checks can bring up red flags and things you should be cautious of. And although they can be costly and time consuming, there is nothing more satisfying than being able to relax and know your recent hire is a good person.

Hiring a new employee can be a tiresome task. Even when you find a candidate that sounds good in-person and on their resume, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be a good fit. Background checks can provide employees with the perfect amount of peace of mind to allow them into their home or business. After all, you should only have the best possible hires handling your business.

About Private Staff Group

At Private Staff Group we use Backgroundchecks.com ® for in-depth comprehensive background checks. Employee background checking is part of an asset and privacy protection plan and is included in your overall financial, legal and insurance coverage. To get more information or to reach out for a potential hire, we invite you to contact us today.

Finding the Right Fit for Your Household & Private Staff

We have all been in the position where we hastily took the job that was “too good to be true” or hired the employee that was “too good to be true” only to find out that it was, in fact, too good to be true.

Finding the Right Private Staff

In finding the right staff, the number one thing to take into consideration is chemistry (which is a way more complicated concept that it seems on the surface). It is bigger than a skill set or list of experiences. It is about style, personality, goals, expectations, morals, character, and so much more. Humans are all fundamentally different and since humans make up a workplace, companies and homes are also quite vastly different in the way they operate.

The Importance of How We Pair Candidates and Clients

As a staffing professional, you have the benefit of making people very happy when you give a deserving candidate and employer a great opportunity to connect and work together. The staffing professional, or agency, takes everything into consideration – understanding there is more to workplace dynamics than fitting a resume into a job description. It’s a bit more of a “needle in the haystack” type of thing. Agencies benefit from visiting the home or office of the person who is looking to hire, as it gives them a greater understanding of the needs and environment. They also benefit from long relationships with their candidates. As a candidate continues to stay in touch, express how their job search has been going, and share their experiences with a recruiter, they will be that much more understood (and also top-of-mind).

A great placement is about finding a complimentary work style, environmental needs, team dynamics, growth potential, and so much more that fulfills the wants, needs, and the dreams of the people you work with. It is about taking the strengths and weaknesses of each person working together and having them all fit together, like a puzzle, to create a completed image.

Why Personalities & Chemistry Help Ensure Long Placements

With that being said, chemistry can be more valuable than skills. There is something to be said for seeing the potential in a candidate, and giving them the opportunity to achieve that potential through being mentored in the right environment rather than attempting to stuff someone into a position which is clearly not the right fit. It may work for a little while, but something will always be wrong.

It is important to be patient and find value in the right fit, as both an employer and job seeker. It helps ensure a long term working relationship and gives you the foundation to build a happy and harmonious life.

About Private Staff Group

At Private Staff Group our technologies, our recruitment team and our candidate networks are second to none when it comes to finding the personal, private, and domestic professionals you can count on. Ensuring you are paired with the right candidate is our top priority. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

The Most Common Mistake Made by A Household Staff Employer & How to Fix It

If you are employing household staff or a personal assistant, your employees most likely report to you; you are their manager. Your interactions and discussions with them will influence their performance, attitudes, and actions toward you and the job. While remaining friendly, it is important to distinguish between boss and employee.

The Friend

A common mistake is for someone who employs domestic staff to be “too close and personal” with them, making it difficult to draw the line between boss and “friend”. This often occurs in environments where banter is common or where the household culture is more relaxed. The boss as friend syndrome complicates matters when your personal feelings influence how you address workplace performance deficiencies.

Those who make this mistake might as well draw a red bulls-eye on their backs, as it is frequently the root cause of employee complaints. Often, household staff employers do not realize that this behavior is or could be an issue until a complaint is made.

What’s the Risk?

  • Employees “go along” with discussions even though they are uncomfortable because they don’t want to speak up to their boss for a variety of reasons
  • An employee will change his or her mind about speaking up and complain about behaviors when you take an action unfavorable to him or her (i.e., poor performance evaluation, change of schedule, etc.)
  • An accurate performance assessment of a “friend” can be uncomfortable and challenging. Performance issues will either not be addressed or softened to the point of having no weight
  • Perceptions of favoritism and exclusion amongst household employees can fester if you are selective about whom you treat in a more friendly or casual manner
  • You may lose credibility if there is a perception you knew about a subordinate’s misconduct but chose not to address or report the behavior because of the friendship

Best Practices to Manage Household Staff

  • Avoid discussions in which highly personal information is shared (financial, sexual, marital, medical, religious beliefs) and learn to redirect conversations of this nature
  • After-hours socializing with household staff must be professional – especially if alcohol is consumed. You might consider minimizing or avoiding these situations
  • Be inclusive with your domestic employees. If you routinely invite a select few to lunch or make an effort to converse with certain employees, you run the risk of creating perceptions of exclusion and favoritism
  • Avoid giving or loaning money to employees or buying gifts that appear unusual in a normal business setting
  • Avoid personal contact with your household staff on social media. Be mindful of the appearance of any after-hours communications unrelated to work (text, email, phone, etc.). Purpose, frequency and time of communication matter.

About Private Staff Group

At Private Staff Group our technologies, our recruitment team and our candidate networks are second to none when it comes to finding the personal, private, and domestic professionals you can count on. We guarantee to pair you with the right candidate that exceeds your household needs. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

Hire a Personal Cook or Chef?

If you have made the decision that you need some extra help around the kitchen, you may be wondering where to go from there. Do I hire a personal cook or chef?

Personal Chef vs. Cook

The main difference between a personal cook and a chef is that a chef has completed a culinary training program or has spent some time working in a professional kitchen. A cook is any individual who enjoys meal preparation, knows how to keep a kitchen properly stocked, and can accommodate basic dietary needs.

Benefits of Hiring a Personal Chef

If you have a very active household, a strict diet, particular tastes, or entertain often, a chef may be the best option for you. A chef can work part time or full time. A part-time chef may prepare meals for days that they are off and store them to be reheated later. He or she will usually shop for the ingredients needed to prepare their food fresh each day. Some chefs will serve, while others prefer to remain in the kitchen and may assist in finding staff to serve a formal meal. Typically, chefs are more capable of cooking for large groups and know how to present attractive culinary displays. Chefs can innovate to prepare creative meals, and will work with your tastes and needs to make unique and seasonally appropriate dishes.

Benefits of Hiring a Cook

A cook may be perfect if you need someone to prepare light, simple meals for you and your children. A cook can follow a recipe and prepare family style meals. They will make sure your pantry is always stocked with the things you need. A cook may need extra hired help if you plan on entertaining a large group of people. Typically, a cook will have other skills as well, such as housekeeping, laundering, chauffeuring, or providing butler or nanny services.

About Private Staff Group

At Private Staff Group our technologies, our recruitment team and our candidate networks are second to none when it comes to finding the personal, private, and domestic professionals you can count on. Whether you want to hire a personal chef or cook, we can pair you with the right candidate. To learn more about what we can do we invite you to contact us today.

NDAs for Decorators of Affluent Homes

These days—especially when it comes to high-end residential projects—non-disclosure agreements are, as interior designer David Scott puts it, “as commonplace as Ubers and Starbucks.” So much so, in fact, that several architects and designers asked by T&C to comment on the increasing ubiquity of decorator NDAs wouldn’t comment—or, in one case, would only do so anonymously. Some did, however, speak on the record, and they have some constructive advice for the extremely private.

No Dogs Allowed

Scott was once asked to sign an NDA that extended to the clients’ pets. That’s a no-go. You should limit demands to the classics, says acclaimed French architect and interior designer Robert Couturier: “You won’t divulge who you’re working for, how much money they spend, or where they live. Often you have to have all your subcontractors sign one as well.”

Manage Your Ego

“NDAs make sense when it’s a matter of security, when a family could be threatened,” Couturier says. “It’s incredibly irritating, though, when it’s for a society woman who posts photos of herself waking up in the morning and thrives on notoriety.”

Beware of Social Media

“For one client,” Couturier says, “I had to go through my Instagram account and erase pictures that I had taken of the construction site. He had flipped through thousands of posts trying to find those of his job site. That must have taken him hours. I think people have an incredibly inflated opinion of themselves.”

Call It The Michael Cohen Statue

One architect who asked to remain anonymous so as not to jeopardize high-profile projects pleads with clients not to get him involved with law enforcement. “Sometimes,” the architect says, “NDAs ask for restrictions on disclosing information that seem as if they were written by someone trying to hide something from Robert Mueller!”

Leave No Paper Trail

“Many NDAs have archaic language from the days of paper files that doesn’t seem relevant any longer, such as a commitment to destroy all copies if asked,” says the anonymous architect. “This is nearly impossible in a digitally backed-up era.”

Trust Matters

Some NDAs are too demanding. Adjust accordingly. “When documents become so one-sided that they tip away from reasonable restrictions,” says the architect, “you really start to wonder about the intent of the person on the other side.”

Couturier asks, “If a client doesn’t trust his or her designer to protect him, what’s the point of working together?”

Attribution: Town and Country Magazine- April 2019

Care.com Puts Onus on Families to Check Caregivers’ Backgrounds – With Sometimes Tragic Outcomes

On a warm July morning last year, Amelia Wieand left her twin toddlers at an in-home day-care center outside Knoxville, Tenn. She had read about the facility on Care.com, the largest online marketplace for babysitters and other caregivers.

The listing said the center was state-licensed. It wasn’t, state records say. In fact, after receiving reports that the woman who ran it was watching up to 11 children, a state agency had obtained an injunction two months earlier barring her from operating an unlicensed facility.

None of that was available to Care.com members such as Ms. Wieand. At one point, the day-care center indicated to clients there was a problem with its license, but assured Ms. Weiand and other parents it was taking care of the matter.

Hours after being dropped off, the children, Elyssa and Elijah, a month away from their second birthdays, were pulled out of the baby sitter’s pool. Both died.

Care.com Inc., with about 32 million members in over 20 countries, charges up to $39 a month to see listings on its site. Shares of the Waltham, Mass.-based company have quadrupled in three years as revenue has surged. Its biggest stockholder is Capital G, a fund backed by Alphabet Inc.Behind Care.com’s appeal is a pledge to “help families make informed hiring decisions” about caregivers, as it has said on its website.

Still, Care.com largely leaves it to families to figure out whether the caregivers it lists are trustworthy. It does what it calls “preliminary screening” of them, which isn’t a full background check, and doesn’t verify credentials. It does no vetting of day-care centers listed on its site.

Care.com suggests that customers purchase additional screening packages, which cost $59 to $300.

In about 9 instances over the past six years, caregivers in the U.S. who had police records were listed on Care.com and later were accused of committing crimes while caring for customers’ children or elderly relatives, according to an investigation by The Wall Street Journal, which reviewed police records, court records and local media reports. Alleged crimes included theft, child abuse, sexual assault and murder.

The Journal also found hundreds of instances in which day-care centers listed on Care.com as state-licensed didn’t appear to be. Care.com said it has made more than 1.5 million successful matches since it began service a dozen years ago.

Sheila Lirio Marcelo, chief executive, chairwoman and founder, said the company invests heavily in ensuring the safety of members. She said the marketplace is designed for “shared responsibility overall,” with families having the option to pay for more screening.

“Care.com is a marketplace platform, like Indeed or LinkedIn,” Ms. Marcelo said. “Like those services, we do not generally verify the information posted by users, interview users or conduct employment-level background checks.”

The company said it sends many messages during the membership application process—through its website, emails and other alerts—stating that it doesn’t fully screen caregivers and that parents are responsible for background checks.

Read More

The ‘Hidden Mechanisms’ That Help Those Born Rich to Excel in Elite Jobs

Over the past five years, the sociologists Daniel Laurison and Sam Friedman have uncovered a striking, consistent pattern in data about England’s workforce: Not only are people born into working-class families far less likely than those born wealthy to get an elite job—but they also, on average, earn 16 percent less in the same fields of work.

Laurison and Friedman dug further into the data, but statistical analyses could only get them so far. So they immersed themselves in the cultures of modern workplaces, speaking with workers—around 175 in all—in four prestigious professional settings: a TV-broadcasting company, a multinational accounting firm, an architecture firm, and the world of self-employed actors.

The result of this research is Laurison and Friedman’s new book, The Class Ceiling: Why It Pays To Be Privileged, which shows how the customs of elite workplaces can favor those who grew up wealthier. The authors describe a series of “hidden mechanisms”—such as unwritten codes of office behavior and informal systems of professional advancement—that benefit the already affluent while disadvantaging those with working-class backgrounds.

In January, shortly before the book’s U.K. release, I interviewed Laurison, a professor at Swarthmore College, who told me that while England’s class politics do differ from those of the U.S., his and Friedman’s findings about “money, connections, and culture” broadly apply to Americans as well. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Read More: The Atlantic 
Author: Joe Pinsker

Optimizing Your Home and Domestic Staff

Who is managing whom?

Whether you have one employee or six, how do you spend less time managing and more time doing what you love?

Ironically, when you made your first private staff hire, your goal was to have more personal time. Time consuming frustration can come from:  inconvenient time-off requests, low productivity, staff turnover, recruitment and interview time, explaining and monitoring, etc.

How can you reduce your staff management time and increase your enjoyment of your home, family and friends?

  • Create an employment agreement, which specifies responsibilities, time off, compensation and other expectations. This makes everything clear
  • Set up an organizational structure- who reports to who? Get yourself out of the loop.
  • Schedule a regular time for performance reviews and communications. Once a month?
  • Be knowledgeable about market rates for salary and hours. Don’t lose a valued and trusted employee.
  • Always be thinking of back-up plans. You never know.
  • Review security, confidentiality and asset protection plans. Twice a year.
  • Be generous, respectful and appreciative. Your kindness will be well rewarded.

If everyone is clear, you are inspecting what you expect and communicating regularly, management time will dramatically decrease and productivity and quality will increase.

Contact Private Staff Group for samples of:

  • Job Descriptions
  • Employment Agreement
  • Confidentiality Agreement
  • Performance Review

The World of Staffing for the High Net Worth

We interviewed one of the leading recruiters of private, personal and business staff, Mr. Stephen Candland of Private Staff Group’s  New York office. Their clients employ staff for residences and business to meet a wide variety of unique service requirements. Most requested staff are: personal assistants, estate and property managers, housekeepers and cooks.

What is the biggest change in employing private staff in the last 5 to 10 years?

Homes, art, technology, security and employment considerations are all dramatically more complicated today. Hiring staff that work in our homes and are involved in our personal lives requires a professional process and more business-like management.

What are the most requested job candidates?

Housekeeper and Housekeeper/Cooks are the most requested, followed by Personal Assistants and Executive Assistants for personal, family, social and business responsibilities. Estate and Property Managers in many locations are active searches, as well.

Are Butlers still in style?

Yes, very much so. We see diplomats, high profile CEO’s and financiers and international transplants continuing to use Butlers. There are 3 or 4 excellent butler training schools.

How are women using Private Staff?

We have placed stylists, organizers, personal assistants and of course, nannies.
Women who entertain in beautiful homes in multiple locations may employ a lifestyle enabler with talents in decorating, event management, flowers, and staff supervision.

How does today’s employer of private staff find the right and best-fit candidates?

Historically, personal and household staff was sourced through personal referrals or ads in the newspaper. Our clients today are much more privacy sensitive and don’t invite strangers into their home for job interviews. You never know who is walking in the door. We conduct the search and screening so the candidates who are introduced are vetted properly.

What is different today in employing and managing private staff?

Smartphones! Your staff each has a movie camera, which instantly uploads to the Internet. Security and trust are more important than ever.

Your most unusual placement?

Finding the right estate manager for a couple who had struggled to find an estate manager able to execute their style, values and constantly changing schedules. They had perpetual turnover issues. This candidate dramatically improved their lives by allowing them to realize their family and home priorities.

6 Ways To Promote A Better Working Environment For Your Household Staff

Fostering a team environment in a household setting can be tough. Many households require round-the-clock care as well as many moving parts all working at the same time. As a result, some employees working for the same family may hardly, if ever, actually cross paths. This can create inconsistencies in service and ineffective communication. It is important for employees to understand what they can accomplish together, as a team.
Benefits of communication include:

  • Building trust
  • Clear sense of direction
  • Boosting of employee morale
  • Measuring effectiveness
  • Goal setting

Ways to promote better communication include:

  • Group bulletin board – A bulletin board can be an important way to keep your staff informed and connected to the daily routine of the household. A staff bulletin board can be used to highlight various items including a calendar of upcoming dates, important household contacts, updates, or even staff member of the month. The more updated information you maintain on the bulletin board, the more prone your staff will be to look at it on a regular basis.
  • Shared break area – A shared break area can foster a sense of community among your staff. By sharing a break area, your staff is able to relax and connect with others who are working alongside them. Even if certain members of your staff are not able to interact throughout their day, a shared break area can allow them to build relationships that otherwise would not have been possible.
  • Newsletters (digital or print) – This is especially important if your household employs staff in different areas. Whether it is it the kitchen, personal assistants, or nannies, all staff members should be aware of what is going on in the household as a whole to ensure there are no miscommunications. A newsletter, no matter if it is digital or in print, can keep different staff informed on developments occurring in other areas of the household.
  • Team meetings – Like a shared break area, team meetings can also foster a sense of community. By bringing together all your staff in one place at one time, important household matters can be addressed. Whether you are just going over next week’s agenda or addressing a new development, team meetings can allow all staff members to connect and stay in the know.
  • Online groups – Online groups are a great way for you and your staff members to stay in constant communication. Everyone in the group is working towards the same goal of a smoothly running household, so support and advice from other staff members can be very helpful.
  • Staff mailboxes – Staff mailboxes can be beneficial to both you as an employer, as well as for staff members as another option for communication. Staff can receive daily agendas or updates every morning and can leave communications for each other.

Effective communication will give every employee an opportunity to have better access to the information they need to best do their jobs. Employees who feel that they are contributing to the success of the team will be happier and therefore more productive.

Traveling With Your Staff

Traveling can be stressful at times, even when it’s not meant to be. Imagine having a helping hand to lighten the load. Whether it be for a business trip or a family vacation, bringing along a personal assistant or nanny can make traveling a much more positive experience. However, in order to get the most out of traveling with your staff, make sure to iron out the details before you leave.

Accommodations: Make sure you and your household staff are both aware of where each of you will be staying. If a nanny is traveling with you, is she sharing a space with you or will she have her own room? It’s best to sort this out before your trip to avoid confusion later.

Time on and Time off: If you are traveling with a nanny or butler, your needs might be different than they are at home. This being said, so might their expectations. For example, a butler traveling with you to the Hamptons may need to be available for evening driving which was not necessary in New York City. Compromise before the trip to work out their hours based on your needs.

Itinerary: A top-notch personal assistant will already have the itinerary handy, but it’s important to double check that you both are on the same page. Where everyone should be at certain times, what they need, and travel accommodations from one place to the next are especially important.

Proper Documents: This is vital especially when it comes to traveling abroad. If traveling internationally, make sure your staff is properly screened. You should also be aware of things such as immunizations, visa and passport requirements, and foreign exchange rates to avoid unnecessary and unexpected hassles during the trip.

Emergency Plans: Unexpected events such as sudden illness, accidents, or even death can put a damper on your trip, so it’s always best to be prepared. Emergency cash advances, message relays to family and friends, legal assistance, etc. are things that should be prepared before your trip. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Reimbursements: Like accommodations, reimbursements should be sorted out before the trip. You should be clear with your household staff on what is covered and what isn’t.