My career advice

“Employee wellbeing is absolutely paramount”

Gail Steele, director at West London independent Auerbach & Steele, explains why understanding the aims of the business is key for new recruits


What is the one piece of advice that you’d give to someone who wanted to work for Auerbach & Steele?

We are very fortunate that we don’t have to advertise for staff very often, but we are always happy to talk to people interested in coming to join us. The most important thing is that they are on our wavelength and understand what we are trying to achieve as a high-end independent practice.

When you’re shortlisting candidates, what’s the very first thing that you look for?

Enthusiasm, positive energy, and a natural understanding of good customer service.

How important is work experience?

Some experience in optical practice is highly desirable, but the right attitude is the most important quality.

How important is the cover letter in applications that you receive?

The cover letter is important. I like to see enthusiasm. I know I sound like an old fogey, but I like to see that applicants can write grammatically correct letters, and emails without spelling mistakes.

What’s the biggest mistake that someone can make in an interview for Auerbach & Steele?

Arrive late. If a candidate arrives late for interview without calling to let me know they have been delayed, or without apologising, then I won’t interview them.

What is the business ethos/most important values?

Our goal has always been, and is, to be the best. It is only possible to achieve that if you have a fantastic team of people working in harmony together. We offer top quality in everything we do, from the clinical services to the choice of goods. It is important to embrace change and always be happy to invest in the latest equipment, technology and in the staff.

It is important to embrace change and always be happy to invest in the latest equipment, technology and in the staff


How do you go about ensuring fairness and equality in your hiring process? Do you have specific programmes in place to guarantee it?

We are very proud of our extremely diverse team, who have all been recruited on their ability and enthusiasm. Our hiring process would never discriminate because of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age or religion. Everyone is treated fairly and equally at Auerbach & Steele.

We have professional advisers on employment law and health and safety, and would always refer to them if we have any doubts or need advice about our hiring process.

How important is employee wellbeing at Auerbach & Steele?

Employee wellbeing is absolutely paramount. I am always happy to support the staff in whatever is necessary for them. We offer private medical insurance to all, a pension scheme, access to exercise classes, and lots of social activity.

In independent practice the same people work together day in day out. I probably spend more time with my workmates than I do with my husband.

My team are like my family. I have always felt that it is my responsibility to look after their needs as far as I am able.

Some have been with Auerbach & Steele for more than 25 years. A business can only be as good as the people in it.