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Oct 20

Help Wanted: Another reason for a pour

99 Pours — Why so many?

There are things that drive us to drink. There are drinks to refresh and replenish. There are drinks that bring us together socially. There are drinks that help us relax. And if I get a pour for every reason to drink, that’s got to be at least 99 pours…

HELP WANTED: The sign that tells me I need a pour

The search for a new employee is another reason to drink. Yes, it’s true. That “Help Wanted” sign drives me to another pour. Though I’m sure I may exceed 99 reasons in these blog posts. ;-)

Are they able to do the job?

We carefully created a list of what’s required of our employee. Physical requirements include the ability to lift a keg. The largest, a half-barrel, weighs nearly 165 pounds; rounded dead weight, some with semi-sharp handles, of liquid that you’ve got to keep the sloshing to a minimum when moving. Can you lift from ground into a car, possibly alone or shared with a customer?

The ability to balance on a register includes data entry skills, sometimes under pressure. This is why we focus on a proven retail sales or restaurant experience. Whether there’s 30 customer transactions or 350, all need to be processed to the exact.

Then there’s the passion for and knowledge of this drink called beer.

…plus a few other things, such as:

Are they reliable?

We rely on our staff. As a small business, it’s just me, my husband, our key full-time employee, and, so far, one part-time gal. It’s imperative that schedules be kept so the ball rolls smoothly. We rely on our competent staff, an extension of our family, to pick up their end of the workload so we can complete other business tasks.

If our staff calls off, it’s another day that something stays on the “to-do” list rather than becoming an accomplishment. This person needs to be reliable.

The joy of bookkeeping: A stack ready for data entryWe were already seeing the “business to-do list” grow and grow, with things falling by the wayside. The stack of data entry in my office had already grown in inches! And my tags, the price tags that tell customers what to expect for beer flavor, are nearly a year behind. The beer list on the website is way out of date. I need time to research, edit and write. Time for the business details has shrunk to practically none, as I find myself committed to the service floor. During quieter customer periods, on Mondays and Tuesdays, would be the best days to focus on those tasks, if only I weren’t tied to the counter, register, and phone.

And to all this we’ve added growler fills, and will soon be adding a growler taste program. More time dedicated on the floor, away from the office, which has been calling my name for months…

I no longer have the energy to maintain nearly double-full-time hours, working over 70 hours per week for nearly five years now. I need a more livable schedule, and so does C. Accuracy, attitude, and health are affected when you don’t get enough rest.

This isn’t intended as a complaint post. This is the life I have chosen as a small business owner. But you’ve got to admit, it gives ample reason for another pour!

Realizing and admitting when you need help is a good thing. Finding the right help isn’t always easy.

So, now you know why the “Help Wanted” sign, a reason for another pour, is up.

I’m looking for someone who can guide customers on their beer journey, accurately ring a sale, and keep the beer store looking in tip-top shape — shelves full, bottles front-facing, everything kept clean and sparkly, price tags in place.

The applications come in. I email each candidate, letting them know we’ve received their application, and what areas we’re looking at, then I intently examine each application, trying to see if they’re the right fit…

How do you know if they’re “right”?

Determining if a job candidate is the “right fit” is one of the most difficult things. All this must be determined by looking at a few pieces of paper and talking to a person for an hour or two in interview. This is really so little information, when you are focused on being together for years.

Regrettably some applicants make it easy on me. Their courtship ending as they hand me their application and then try to a beer without I.D.

But I can look at things like:

Were they difficult during the application process? Surprisingly, some are.

Are they available the hours I need? Very few are. I notice that many are seeking second, or third, jobs. I’m not sure why this surprises me, but it does.

Assume NothingHave they clearly spelled out why they’ll be the best beer clerk? Most only tell me they like beer. On the application, seldom do any draw correlation between their skills to what the job entails, even though they have access to the job description with the application. I’m certainly not going to assume anything. If they have related experience, they need to write it down.

Is their goal simply to take and leave, or is it to contribute and share? Many tell of their desire to open a competing business, having us pay them to learn the business and take our contacts.

Do they have short-timers? Jumping job-to-job only tells me they are disinterested in being part of the solution. And that I could, potentially, waste an investment.

How much are they looking for in compensation? Do they state that of their previous career, are they realistic for the job, or do they cop out and put “negotiable”?

How do they describe themselves? What words do their references use?

Most importantly, are they going to be a true caretaker for my business — balancing on the register, maintaining accurate counts, acting with respect?

By now you must realize why this “Help Wanted” sign requires another pour.

Now it’s time for that pour!

Today’s pour: Cyser

Eaglemount CyserI’ve been a bit under the weather, so tonight’s choice is Cyser.

Simply named for it’s style, cyser is a hard apple cider sweetened with honey. This Cyser is one of Eaglemount’s ciders.

The flavor is lightly tart and sweet; the apple tang hangs on my tongue.

The 8% alcohol-by-volume in Eaglemount’s Cyser diminishes the woes of the day and, hopefully, the apple in it will contribute something good to this worn-down system.

3 comments

  1. Tiffany

    Wow! Many personal notes received last night from friends who read this blogpost. Thanks so much for the kind words and thoughtful replies and ideas.

    Patience has never been a personal strength. With the “Help Wanted” sign in place since August (nearing three months), it is exercising this trait. I remind myself not to jump at just any applicant as our goal is a long-term person to support us and guide our customers on Mondays and Tuesdays, 12:00 to 8:00 p.m.

    We’ve got two excellent staff now; I just need the patience and insight to spot the right third member of our team, our family.

  2. Tiffany

    Well, D gave notice on Saturday, which means we are now looking for a full-time employee in addition to the part-time one. Or maybe two three-quarter timers? We will see how this pans out.

    He is leaving us. :-(
    To pursue his dreams. :-)

    It’s a bitter-sweet moment. I’m happy for him. I’m sad for us. D has been most excellent to work with. A fine individual. He will be missed.

  3. Tiffany

    Two new employees started this week. So far, so good! Still sad to see D leave us, he’s been part of the family for almost a year and a half.

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