How to Find the Best Formal Butler


Published on July 6, 2016

What is so special about a formal butler?

High quality, experienced formal butlers are not easy to find these days. As the butlering profession has been taken into the 21st century, many different or more modern types of butlers have appeared and it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish the right personality and skill set.

The first thing you should ask yourself is; why do I need a formal butler? What is it about the formal butler that you feel makes it so suited for the household or the principal.

Why Choose a Formal Butler?

Naturally everyone has their own personal preferences and ideas about what domestic staff should look like, how they should behave, and what their demeanour should be in an around the household. A formal butler would fit in very well in a more traditional household.

Firstly, consider looks and presentation. The formal butler will wear a traditional suit with white butler gloves. These are the classic marks of a traditional or formal butler and will fit in very well in a traditional household. It will also mark a lasting impression on guests.

If it is experience you are after, a formal butler would indeed be the right fit. Formal butlers are trained in Silver Service, etiquette and valet, so not only do they look the part, they know exactly what to do. Being invisible yet always there when you need them.

From providing silver service at the highest standard for your daily life and dinner parties to making sure the house is in excellent condition, a formal butler is very professional and will often anticipate requests.

The formal Butler is also the ultimate showcase of British service. A formal butler can impress international guests and bring the atmosphere of traditional British service to life in your home.

Finding a Formal Butler

Once you have established that it is indeed a formal butler you are looking for, there are several things to consider and steps to take which will pave your way to the perfect and suitable formal butler.

You can take the whole process on yourself in the means of self-hire. This would require you to place an advertisement on gumtree, similar websites, or in magazines like The Lady. You can share the search and job role within your professional network of domestic colleagues and other relevant people within the domestic service industry.

The other option is approaching a butler staffing agency who specialises in domestic staff and butler recruitment. The candidate vetting process can be daunting and a bit confusing when you start getting into reference checks, background checks, and skill verifications. Sometime it’s best to leave this process to the professionals, but if you plan to work with an agency there are a few things to know first.

Try to avoid generic job placement companies online and general recruitment companies. The world of domestic staff, private household and butler staffing needs are very unique and should only be handled by professionals who understand the domestic staffing world. If not, you are paying an agency to do something they do not necessarily know about – they will not know or recognise pitfalls and specific industry requirements.  

Ensure you don’t pay any fees upfront. Be extremely wary of agents who charge ‘registration’ fees or take ‘deposits’. A good agency should only charge once the candidate has been hired or for trial fees.  Butler recruitment is a specialist area, so expect to pay between 15-20% of the annual gross salary for placements in the UK and higher for placements overseas.

 A good reason to consider taking the recruitment process for your formal butler through an agency, is for the peace of mind. A professional butler recruiting agency will vet candidates for you, checking references, conducting pre-interviews, and completing extensive background checks. The agency will deliver you with  a handful of highly qualified candidates to choose from, saving you a tremendous amount of time. Working with a recruitment agency will also speed up the process considerably if you’re looking to hire quickly, as they normally have a large pool of candidates already and will be highly connected to be able to source and find the right person for you much quicker.

Need more help?

No matter what part of the butler recruitment stage you find yourself at, if you would like or need some more advice you are welcome to call us anytime. Even if it is just for a friendly chat – we are here and more than happy to help you. We understand how daunting the recruitment process sometimes can be so we are always more than happy to offer advice and guidance to make the process go more smoothly for you. Or if you are keen for us to help you find the perfect formal butler for your household or principal, then please do tell us your needs here and we will go above and beyond to make this happen for you. It’s what we do!

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