A Friday Chat with Searcys Resourcing Manager Fidel Elliott6 May 2022
Recruiting new talent is an ongoing challenge across the hospitality industry, but what about attracting those who will be doing the recruiting? For this week’s Friday Chat, we sit down with Fidel Elliott, Searcys’ brand-new resourcing manager. We speak to Fidel as he is exploring new and emerging avenues to seek out the best in the business and working hard to streamline the hiring process every step of the way.
Hi Fidel! Tell us about yourself and how you got into catering.
I started off in the catering industry nearly 20 years ago while at college and university. It was always meant to be a temporary role to earn a living whilst studying full time, with a plan to leave one day to pursue the career I was studying for. In my final year of university, I decided to put my studies on hold to take up a role in catering for a year as a restaurant supervisor in Heathrow Terminal 4 for a contract caterer.
During that time, I developed a passion for the industry and loved everything about it, from the buzz you get working in a busy environment to meeting and greeting different people from different walks of life, as well as gaining more hands-on experience (which was the goal). Once I had completed a whole year within the role, I decided that I wouldn’t pursue the career I was studying for and decided to stay within the industry, working at different venues in London and abroad. In 2011, I was given the opportunity to work within Staffing and People team at ExCel London and my career grew massively from there. I worked my way up the ladder from staffing manager to head of staffing and recruitment and finally people manager before joining Searcys just two weeks ago in a brand-new role as resourcing manager.
What attracted you to the new role of Resourcing Manager at Searcys?
The Resourcing Manager role appealed to me more because it was a blank canvas where I could implement processes and procedures around recruitment. I work through many different avenues, and the role is great for allowing me to think outside the box regarding what we can do as a company to not only attract the best, but also how we retain them and stay competitive in the market. It allows me to work closely with general managers at site level, understand how each site’s business is unique and different from the others, and then drive recruitment campaigns for a very successful company.
What are the benefits of working at Searcys? What are we offering that makes us stand out?
One of the benefits is having that work-life balance, which was always very important to me. I feel that this is extremely beneficial for all employees, and I am glad Searcys embraces this ethos as a company. We also provide ongoing training where we offer Level 2 to Level 4 recognised qualifications, as well as apprenticeship programmes to all permanent team members: this brings continuity of employees and progression into new positions.
What is your vision for an applicant’s journey?
With the current market that we are in and after Brexit and Covid, it has been a real challenge to get good people back into the industry, as so many have secured other roles elsewhere. My vision is to ensure that the journey is seamless. I want it to feel like a journey to an exotic destination and not feel process-driven. The time spent on advertising, receiving applicants, and putting them through an interview should be completed as quickly as possible, as I think we lose potential candidates by not reacting quickly enough when applications are received. Often an applicant’s journey can be very long and can take some time to arrange an interview. I want to ensure that at each point of the journey, from the first application to onboarding, all applicants have regular communication with us, and are provided with as much information as possible to be successful, making them feel part of the team before their start date.
What are your first impressions after visiting Searcys sites? What is your favourite?
I am now in my third week with Searcys, and I have been blown away by the venues I have visited so far. They are all stunning in different ways, the food and presentation is world-class, and the people are all very welcoming. I am so impressed at the length of service of the colleagues at these venues, spanning from a few years to 17 years plus, which shows how well Searcy looks after the team and how loyal they are to the company. It would be unfair to say which is my favourite venue so far, as I still have more to visit over the next few weeks. However, each site is unique and different in its own way.
What did you – and did not – know about Searcys before joining the company? Any discoveries?
I’d heard about Searcys before, however, I never knew much about the company or the sites they operated in, so naturally, I did a fair bit of research on this. I discovered that it’s been 175 years this year since our founder John Searcy started the company and that Searcys has been awarded the Leisure Catering Award this year.