If getting a new job or finding the perfect groom is on your holiday wish list or one of your New Year's resolutions, then you need to check out one of Europe's most successful companies for matching up employers and employees in the equestrian community. Career Grooms, launched several years ago by Desi Dillingham, known by many as the former head of British Dressage and current president of the British Horse Society, is starting off 2009 by expanding into the U.S.
Dillingham, a native of Canada and member of one of Canada's prominent equestrian families, has decades of experience in the recruitment industry. Her family tree includes her aunt, Barbara Kemp, who built the cross-country course for the 1976 Olympics and in doing so became the first woman hired for an Olympic cross-country course. Dillingham left her native Canada in 1973 when her employer, Drake International, one of the largest employee recruiting firms in the world, sent her to Great Britain. She never left.
Photo: Desi Dillingham and Samantha Bell run the main office of Career Grooms in the U.K. with other staff operating out of Europe and now also the U.S.
Ten years after arriving in Britain, Dillingham left Drake and started her own recruiting company, Masterlock Recruitment. She built it from scratch into one of Europe's leading recruitment firms and then sold it in 1999. "I was ready for a new challenge," she said. That new challenge came two years later when she launched Career Grooms.
Career Grooms was the perfect choice for Dillingham. A life-long equestrian, she grew up competing in equestrian sports, especially eventing, and was teaching while still in her teens. She arrived in Great Britain with the intention of taking a break from horses, but it was short-lived. In no time, she was not only back to riding, but was also busy teaching. That quickly led to helping to organize and manage equestrian competitions. In time, her management role grew to include becoming chief fundraiser for many of Britain's equestrian events and organizations. Dillingham is credited with taking British Dressage from the red to the black and dramatically increasing membership and interest during her 10-year term as head of British Dressage.
Her latest role is serving as president of the British Horse Society. Dillingham has boundless energy and loves helping improve the lives of both horses and people. And that's the mission behind Career Grooms. It's all about helping people who are committed to a career with horses find good jobs where they can make use of their talent and skill. And, it's about helping riders, trainers and farm owners find the skilled staff they need to ensure proper care of their horses. "We have developed a database of thousands of professional equestrians that includes grooms, riders, trainers, barn and stable managers and owners in all the equestrian disciplines and our goal is to make the right match," Dillingham said.
Career Grooms' U.S. and European-based Staff Know the Employment Needs of Professional Equestrians
Career Grooms is widely used by professional equestrians throughout Europe and a number of North American equestrians and employers have also used the service. Part of what has made Career Grooms so successful is that many of the equestrian professionals who use the service have international experience, including working as grooms for Olympic-level riders.
"These are people for whom horses are actually a career and they have tremendous experience. That's appealing to employers who really do want the best and most skilled horsemen and women available," Dillingham said.
Photo: Career Grooms is the creation of Desi Dillingham and the perfect blend for a woman who is a life-long equestrian with years of professional experience in the recruiting industry.
Career Grooms offers two levels of service. Those looking for work and those looking to hire can register on the website at www.careergrooms.com and use the website to do their own hunting. Equestrian professionals looking for work can register for free. Those posting jobs or looking for employees pay a small fee. Even better yet, employers can make use of Career Grooms recruitment services, known as "bespoke" services in Europe. Under this service, employers pay a fee to Career Grooms and the company's skilled staff does the work to find the right employee. With the company's expansion to the U.S., Career Grooms now has U.S.-based staff members available to help employers with recruitment services.
"Our staff members are very familiar with who's registered in the employee database and can quickly identify those who might be a good match for the employer," Dillingham said. "We'll also make contact with potential employees and interview them. And we'll also help track down their references and interview them as well. Basically, in addition to the website service, we offer a recruitment service that saves employers a lot of time, and time is money." Dillingham can relate numerous stories of international-level riders who called in the morning desperately in need of a groom or barn help and Career Grooms had someone on the job by the afternoon.
Part of what makes Career Grooms so successful in making the right employee-employer match is that all the staff members, like Dillingham, come from the equestrian world. Hence, they know what employers are looking for and they know the right questions to ask of potential employees. The American staff is familiar with the American equestrian world. The company also recruits around the world and that's quite attractive to professional equestrians interested in working abroad and for employers who want the best employees, regardless of location.
So if you're looking to advance your equestrian career or dream of finding that perfect employee, then Career Grooms is your answer. Check them out at www.careergrooms.com. If you're an employer looking for staff and want Career Grooms to do the hunting, then send an email to the U.S.-based staff at email@example.com.