Awarded the DEMA Agency of the Year award in 2012, Distinguished Domestics is highly respected in the industry. Located just outside Beverly Hills, California, they are an agency for professionals that truly enjoys the work they do. Respect is the name of their game, and Elise Lewis was kind enough to tell us more about her agency.
1. How long have you been in business?
I started my first agency in Los Angeles in 1988, pre computers and before anyone had ever heard of an Estate Manager. After the birth of my third child I decided to sell the agency. One year later, in 1990, I opened Kensington Nannies, Ltd. which is still in existence and the parent company to Distinguished Domestic Services.
2. What makes your agency unique?
I think what makes our agency stand apart from the rest is the passion that I have for what I do. Coming in to the office each day doesn’t feel like work to me, I truly enjoy my profession and would not trade what I do for any other job. I treat each candidate with the utmost of respect regardless if they are applying for a housekeeping position or a $250K Estate Manager’s position. I value the experience that each professional has acquired over their years of working at private residences. When meeting with candidates, I give them my undivided attention so that I can truly get to know them and make a long term placement for them. In addition, I have a very loyal longtime client base, most of whom refer other clients; I have a large “word of mouth” reputation in Los Angeles, which I feel blessed to have. At this point in my career and based on my years of experience, I try not to work with a client who I know will be trouble and treat their employee’s unfairly. Also, after years of experience in this field, I am not intimidated to ask details concerning the “vibe” of the Employers demeanor and the working environment. I am a true employee advocate.
3. What types of positions do you place?
We place most positions in a private residence. Estate Managers, House Managers, Butlers, Drivers, Chefs, Couples, Gardeners, Facility Maintenance Personnel, Personal Assistants, Handymen, Security, Companions, Housekeepers and Nannies.
4. What is your ideal candidate?
My ideal candidate is someone who truly enjoys their line of work, is honest, has great references and is willing to commit to a long term placement.
5. Do you place across the country or locally? If so where.
We place all over the country for our clients who are willing to pay relocation; it is usually for the big jobs on an Estate (Estate Managers and/or couples). Most of our placements are in Southern California and primarily in the Los Angeles area.
6. Do you look for any special training or certifications, such as college degrees, private service schools, etc.?
The degrees/certificates that each candidate has are always a bonus. We do not require them as criteria to register with us. However, we do receive specific requests attached to the job order from our clients who may require certain education be mandatory for eligibility. Our requirement to register with our agency is a minimum of three years’ experience in the field in which you are applying to, with verifiable references.
7. Where do you announce your open jobs?
We post them on our website and occasionally we will put them on LinkedIn and/or send out a tweet. For some of the national searches, we also post on the DEMA website, The Caretakers Gazette website and The Domestic Herald website.
8. How should a candidate apply for a job?
Do you want an online application, resume or both? We have a form on our website that a candidate can fill out which we check daily, if they meet our requirements then we send them our full application. It is always best to send us a resume as an email attachment. If they are already a registered applicant, they can either call our office or send us an email.
9. Do you belong to any professional associations?
We are a member of DEMA (Domestic Estate Managers Association) and we were awarded The Agency of Year award in 2012. I have also attended conferences for APNA (Association for Professional Nanny Agencies) and INA (International Nanny Association).
10. How can people contact you?
We are in the office every day Monday – Friday 9am-5pm. We welcome phone calls, but would prefer receiving an email with a resume prior to a phone call. In today’s day and age, emails are a 24/7 thing.