Skip to main content

In-House Recruitment takes centre stage

We speak to Gabriela Gandolfini at the National Theatre

Hospitality employers! Have you launched a programme that boosts your recruitment strategy? Super-charged your learning & development offering? Helped you retain more amazing talent than ever before? Does your recruitment team deserve to be recognised for their success in recruitment, retention and development?

Entries for the 2017 People Awards  are open until July 3rd so now’s the time to shout about your achievements! We want to hear from all employers across this incredible sector. Entry is free and simple to complete online.

Take a look at the winner of our In-House Recruitment Team award in 2016…

Our People Awards celebrate the best hospitality employers in the UK, and to be the best takes a lot of grit and determination. That’s especially true if you’re part of an organisation not known for a hospitality offering.

The National Theatre was the proud winner of the In-House Recruitment Team award at the 2016 People Awards. The implementation of their forward-looking initiatives was nothing short of inspiring.

Gabriela Gandolfini, Head of Audience Experience at the National Theatre is understandably proud of their achievements. “We work for Commercial Operations, which is a fast-moving department with a diverse offering.” The National Theatre boasts three restaurants, each of a different style, an Espresso Bar, a Café, pop-up food and drink venues, a bookshop and more. “And not to forget that all this happens within a theatre,” says Gabriela, “which also happens to be the best theatre in the world, in our opinion! Everything we do must match the quality of what is on stage and our customer service and offering must uphold this world class reputation.”

Wanting to achieve a better consistency and a more engaging recruitment process for candidates, one of the In-House Recruitment team’s main objectives was to reorganise the recruitment of all staff. The Theatre holds regular open days for recruiting new members of the team. These open days can see as many as 500 candidates being seen in seven hours. All candidates are guaranteed an interview after a short registration process. Interviews last approximately 10 minutes and all questions give those with no previous experience an equal chance to get through to the next round.

“We’re passionate about achieving the National Theatre’s overall Diversity targets and that takes a lot of careful thought.” Gabriela explains, “All that starts with attracting and hiring the right people for the job, people who share our values and are enthusiastic about delivering our objectives. We place a lot of focus on this and a recruitment team that understands who those individuals are and is able to respond quickly to fast turn overs and unexpected situations is key to the success of the department.”

In encouraging applications from under-represented groups, NT facilitates the progression of candidates through each stage of the recruitment process. This gives candidates with a learning disability a much better experience and one which is suited to them as an individual. NT continues to work with Action on Disability and The Camden Society and have completed a number of work trials in conjunction with them. NT had successfully appointed 12 staff through their partner groups by this time last year, and many more since. Six which work in the House Management Team, one in Kitchen, one in Goods-In, one in Sandwich Preparation, three in the Terrace Restaurant and one in the staff Canteen.

In describing the NT Recruitment Team, Gabriela says, “We are a small team considering there are 500 people in the department, so between us we do all the recruitment, learning, rota scheduling, payroll, HR support and more for all those people.  The trick is to ensure we are all specialists and knowledgeable in our own areas, but also generalists so we can truly work as a team and help each other and everyone who comes through the door.  This comes with a strong sense of purpose. Each of us in the team is really passionate about the job and we really do it out of love. We wouldn’t let each other down and this sense of team work hopefully comes across in the work we do.”

Through their sustained efforts, the National Theatre has ensured the sustainability of their workforce by demonstrating a strong commitment it. They have also made sure that there continues to be high levels of staff mobility and performance management and good recruitment practices as a constructive process. Their new programmes, including their Recruitment Days, have led to a better developed, better utilised and more effective workforce, and they have witnessed an increase in sales conversion rates for some areas of up to 55%. Added to this, Gabriela mentioned, “Our retention rate is approximately 75% per annum, which is great considering 55% of the workforce is casual.”

On winning the 2016 People Award for In-House Recruitment Team, Gabriela said, “We cried! The National Theatre is a wonderful place to visit and to work and we are so passionate about working here. Our Catering offering often goes under recognised in the hospitality sector mainly because we are primarily a theatre. When we won the awards last year we felt incredibly proud to be able to showcase some of the other work we do here at the NT.  We are entering again this year in some new categories and we are incredibly excited about it!”

Your team deserves its time in the spotlight. If like the National Theatre, you have a recruitment initiative that you would like to showcase, enter now.

Entering the 2017 People Awards is simple. It’s free and you can enter as many categories as you wish. Make sure your entries reach us by 3rd July 2017. The shortlist will be announced in August. The glamorous awards ceremony will take place on 5th October 2017 at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge.

Don’t hesitate to contact our People Awards team with any questions at