Gemma Boulding, recruitment manager, Las Iguanas

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th April 2017
Gemma Boulding

Gemma Boulding discusses her role as Recruitment Manager at Las Iguanas and her own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Gemma Boulding

Place of work: Las Iguanas

Role: Recruitment Manager

Picking up accolades from the Employee Engagement Awards, the IiP Awards and a place on the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies list what is it that Las Iguanas are doing that is gaining them these awards?

Since originally engaging with Investors in People nearly 15 years ago people have been at the forefront of everything we do and we have used the IiP framework up to and including the Gold Standard which we currently hold to underpin this. We haven’t ever been complacent and have looked to be industry leading in our people strategy and recognise that people have different motivations so for instance, our annual incentives pack includes a range of opportunities but we also invest our time in recognising achievements in a more personal way. Every single person is able to benefit from the incentive scheme and be rewarded with anything from some iguana points to a trip to Rio de Janeiro.

Chef Skills

Gemma Boulding takes us through her personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

Do you feel that your training and management programmes are unrivalled?

Why do you think this level of training and incentive scheme is so important? Our training packs are endorsed by the Institute of Leadership and Management and we have a dedicated management academy with a second on the way as we expand, along with designated management trainers. We recognise that our managers do a really tough job so it is our responsibility to set them up with all the tools they need to succeed. Attracting the best people is also challenging in a very competitive market so it’s key to be able to offer genuine development opportunities and a clear progression plan.

What does the recruitment process involve?

Our process is very thorough but expedited quickly as great candidates don’t stay on the market for long. We ensure that the candidate feels important throughout the process. The process includes two interviews, a psychometric test and on shift assessment to ensure rapport between the candidate and Las Iguanas, all completed within 5 working days.

Is there room for people to move locations within the Las Iguanas restaurants if they wish?

Yes and as we are looking to double the size of the business there are more opportunities for people to do so, from team members transferring for University to management looking for new opportunities

Once someone gains employment with Las Iguanas how much further training do they receive, is there a continuous training programme in place?

Management undergoes an intensive five week training plan and then an ongoing development plan which clearly outlines how they can progress. This is overseen by the area Operations Manager who looks after 7 restaurants and their teams. There are a variety of other activities ongoing from training days to the use of our online ‘Upskill’ programme for everyone.

What would you say you are looking out for on a CV and in a candidate when they come for an interview?

We are looking for longevity and a CV which exhibits the core competencies that we feel make a great candidate. We do look for personality to come through, a passion for hospitality and also location as we feel it is beneficial for people to live close to work for a good work life balance. Once they come for an interview, we would want them to be smiley, confident, knowledgeable and have done their research. They should also have a desire to work for Las Iguanas and a passion for the industry.

What is the Iguana Awards ceremony and what awards can people win –  are they for all levels of employees?

A ceremony is an annual event that recognises star performers from across all levels of the business and is really their evening. Our team members from across the country all vote and all nominees are invited to the glittering event which is growing every year- this spring over 300  people attended to recognise the nominees, the winners and the achievements of the entire team.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career in the hospitality sector?

You need to be able to work hard but the rewards are great. The perception is that it is an easy job and a stop gap but actually hospitality is a great career choice. You need to be a people pleaser and have a desire to provide a service with great hospitality.

Knowing what you know now what advice would you have given yourself when you were considering your options?

Don’t underestimate the competitive nature of the job and be prepared to fight for great candidates.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th April 2017

Gemma Boulding, recruitment manager, Las Iguanas