How to nail your dream bartender role
The Morning Advertiser spoke to an award-winning publican and a company recognised as being one of the best places in the UK to work about what they look for in new recruits.
New World Trading Company (NWTC) head of talent Sam Beech stresses that - given two weeks’ comprehensive training that new starters receive before they’re allowed to touch anything behind the bar by themselves - experience isn’t everything. What really sets a prospective NWTC new starter aside is showing a unique personality that’s ready, willing and able to be nurtured.
Beech said: “We definitely want individuality. We don't want lots of robots behind our bars.
"It’s not all about having loads of expertise and knowledge already. It's showing passion that they want to learn and develop themselves. Having something on their CV that really makes them stand out, and that their personality really comes across on their CV, is huge.”
One of The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies To Work For 2017 and the fastest growing pub and restaurant operator in the UK, NWTC employs 858 staff members. The largest brand under its stable, its 15-strong chain of Botanist bars - with a 16th opening in Coventry in early 2019 – prides itself on offering unique botanical cocktails, unusual concoctions as well as a range of wines and craft beers.
For a growing company, finding staff with an appetite to develop within an expanding stable is essential.
Beech added: "Our head of bars started with us five years ago having never poured a pint before in his life - but he rose through the company. I think the kind of drive that he had to move on and progress with the company, and that hunger for learning, is really important. That's what we want from everyone.
"It's a massive cliché but you get out what you put in. We’re just looking for people who are hungry to learn with us and come on this crazy journey we've had."
Glen Duckett, licensee of the Eagle & Child, 2017’s Great British Pub of the Year echoes the importance of showing a strong, customer-friendly personality over previous experience in application and interview.
"Normally we're quite happy having people who haven't necessarily got any experience so that we can train them. We start them with the basics and train them so they're working to our standards.
"A lot of training is done in-house, it’s a coaching and mentoring approach. It's a practical role so we just show people how to carry out the job, it’s fairly simple really. They need to demonstrate they're going to be able to be customer-facing and deal with customers positively. Obviously, we make sure that they've got a positive attitude to work as well as an enthusiastic and smiley persona - that's what you're meant to see behind a bar."
Luckily for would-be bar staff looking to jump behind the taps at their favourite watering hole, a career in the pub and bar industry could be closer at hand than first thought.