• Cyril McAree

Astoria Partnership- Different Name - Same Person!

If you’re in the hospitality trade, then chances are you’ve heard of Jerry O’Sullivan. ‘Jerry from Kerry’, as he’s often known, has worked in hospitality for the past 34 years. From washing cups in the kitchen of a golf club at the age of 14, to acting as personal chef for Tom Cruise in the Caymen Islands, he’s seen and done it all. Now, Jerry is utilising his vast experience in both recruitment and hospitality to create his own unique talent sourcing service. Astoria Partnership has been operating for only eight weeks and already has well over 70 vacancies on its books. With an office on Dawson Street in Dublin and another in Portland Street, London, the company aims to recruit the best talent for the hospitality industry in Ireland and Internationally.

When it comes to sourcing talent in hospitality, Jerry has a wealth of experience, and often referred to as the Hospitality Wikipedia of Ireland .After college, he travelled the world and worked in various five star hotels and with international Brands of Hilton and Hyatt Hotels including a stint as a Head Chef in a 150-bedroom hotel when he was just 21 years old. After feeding Tom Cruise on the set of ‘The Firm’ in 1993 and working in various other roles, he joined Sodexo in 1997.

In 2001, Jerry struck out on his own and established Caterassist. “In the boom I had seven offices and around that time I also purchased another recruitment company from the legendary Kay Caball. Once the recession hit, a company specialising in permanent recruitment was never going to last so I closed the business and moved to Noel Recruitment as Business Manager for Ireland, He was extremely thankful to the firm for recognising his skills, where his contacts were invaluable to the company.

After four enjoyable years, he left and set up Astoria Partnership. “People always ask me where the name ‘Astoria’ came from. Firstly. It’s a part of New York that I know and secondly, there’s a hotel in Budapest called Astoria that I’ve always admired, and of course there is the iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. I think the name exudes professionalism and very historical. The ‘partnership’ bit is about the partnership I have with the candidate and the client.” 
The biggest issue in hospitality recruitment at the moment is sourcing the right people. Jerry looks to countries including Germany, Holland, Italy and Canada as well as the UK market to find the right staff for his clients. “I have clients in Ireland, UK, Europe, Canada & USA and the variants of the salary bands are huge in each country. This is making it difficult to find the right people.”

Ensuring employees are paid correctly and reward & recognition is another issue in the market. “Chefs, and I don’t get someone a job, I really dislike that word. I get someone a career. I’m like the priest – I marry the candidate and the client! Jerry’s already healthy client base has grown from referrals and previous clients. Where I work with exclusive 5* Hotels, Resorts and Groups, I have clients at 3* and QSR Groups and I treat them all the same. It may be a different name to the company, but Jerry remains the same “I’ve built up a high level of trust with longstanding clients who are happy to take on the one referral I send them. I’m confident doing that because during the interview process, I feel like I drill down to the core of what a person is telling me.

There is analysing, verifying and detective skills required in a top recruiter and I guess it’s in my Kerry genes that we are inquisitive and so nosey, but it’s a good thing! I’m lucky in that I have a bit of a hospitality Wikipedia and I remember names and places from my years in hospitality. I’m only as good as the last person I place. When someone doesn’t work out I always go back to the employer and question why and then go back to the candidate. It’s not always the right fit and that is life, but in 99% of cases, I get it right.”

With Astoria Partnership, Jerry’s aim is to be the recruiter of choice for the hospitality sector. Building trust with both clients and candidates is key to the business. “I will only take on a job once I know I can fill it unlike some recruiters who don’t carry out the necessary research on a client before presenting them with a CV. “I’m a true advocate of hospitality and I know that it’s a 24/7 business. I’m always available to both clients and candidates and that’s what sets Astoria apart. I don’t want to be the biggest, just the best!” Jerry is contactable at jerry@astoriapartnership.com or 0861001444 View the company website on www.astoriapartnership.com


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