Reason One: Poor Attitude Or Confidence
Managers and assessors will reject an application if they believe an applicant doesn’t possess the right attitude or is not confident enough to interact fluently with their customers. Change the perspective here: would you employ somebody with a negative attitude? Would you employ someone who wasn’t confident enough to talk to your customers?
Your attitude towards your past employers and your past experience will play a great part in the success of your application. Your attitude towards customers, customer service and learning new things is a large factor too (this will be even more important if you have no industry experience). In many cases, I have rejected super-experienced applicants because they had terrible attitudes. I didn’t want them talking to my customers. Period. In other cases, I gave jobs to inexperienced applicants purely because they had a positively contagious attitude and disposition. They were fun to be around, I knew they’d impress my customers and I knew they could get the job done (and they demonstrated they were very ‘trainable’ too).
Confidence is the other major factor here – remember that you’ll need to be confident in the way you carry yourself, the way you speak and the way you present your application as a whole.
How To Fix This:
As I have mentioned above, many managers ‘hire for attitude and train for skill’. So, it pays to present yourself with an positive ‘can-do’ attitude, and hold yourself with confidence. Be confident even if you are new to the industry. Be confident in your ability to learn quickly. Be confident in the way you communicate and the way you hold yourself. Remember – most human communication is through body language, so make sure your body language is confident.
- Dress the part. Make yourself feel like you can ‘ace’ the interview. If you feel like you can kick butt in the interview, it will show (however – don’t overdo it). Your interviewer will pick up on it – trust me!
- Display your personality. Be likeable. Have a conversation with the assessor as if they were a friend. This is exactly what they’ll be looking for – your ability to spark a conversation.
- Eye contact is a must, but only in moderation. Make eye contact regularly, but not all the time. Don’t make your assessor feel uncomfortable.
Reason Two: Bad Manners, No Respect Or Poor Etiquette
Manners and respect are two fundamental qualities any applicant must have. If an applicant has bad manners and shows disrespect, they’ll struggle to get a job behind a bar. Showing no manners is another no-no too – managers are going to look for manners and courteous behaviour when considering an applicant for any customer-facing position. Turn this perspective around too – would you offer a job to someone who is disrespectful and has bad manners? It wouldn’t make sense to employ them – they will probably repel business and leave a bad impression on customers. Logical, really!
Having manners is a necessity in the hospitality industry. The repercussions of bad manners can be never-ending. It’s human nature to spread the news of a poor customer service experience (people love to gossip, especially about hospitality venues) and it’s most commonly the occurrence of bad manners that causes poor customer service experiences.
Respect is another big player. It looks very bad on an applicant who shows disrespect for anything or anyone. Disrespect is a bad trait to demonstrate to an assessor, as it hints of a poor attitude and possibly a poor work ethic. Another tell-tale sign to an assessor is the way an applicant speaks about past employers. If they speak about their past employers disrespectfully, or anyone else for that matter, I’d be surprised if they got a job.
Etiquette is another big player here. Etiquette will be entirely dependant on the culture in your country, so if you think you aren’t sure of etiquette standards in your area, do some research first.
How To Fix This:
An assessor is going to look for manners and respect in any applicant. The positive here is that this problem is very easy to fix. Say ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’, observe etiquette and other appropriate cultural behaviour and speak and act respectfully. Treat people and objects with respect.
Make a conscious effort to display your manners and respect, as it will make you look good. It will create a good impression on your assessor!
Reason Three: Bar Hopping And Poor Work Ethic
An application won’t look good if an applicant has jumped from bar to bar (more than three or four times) in the past twelve months or so. A bar manager will spend time (and therefore money) to train a new employee, so they’ll need to be assured that the employee will stay for at least the medium term.
The identification of ‘bar hopping’ will probably occur prior or during an initial interview – so be prepared to overcome any objections your assessor may have if you think you are guilty of this.
A strong work ethic is an extremely important asset to have – do your best to demonstrate your work ethic. It might be hard to demonstrate your work ethic in an interview, but if you are offered a trial shift, you have a perfect opportunity to demonstrate how hard you can work. If you make an effort to demonstrate your work ethic, trust me, it will show.
How You Can Fix This
If you are guilty of job-hopping, don’t stress out. It’s not possible to delete your work history – and I recommend that you don’t lie in your application about your past jobs, so list in your resume why you left those establishments. Try and attach positive reasons to why you left those establishments. Like I mentioned above, be prepared to overcome any objections or answer any questions your assessor may have about your work history.
Here are some ways to showcase your work ethic, during a trial:
- Prove that you can work until the very end, until everything is done.
- Never complain.
- Never ask if you can go home, or ask to finish early.
- Motivate your team-mates towards getting everything done.
- Ask for feedback from your superior, and ask how you can improve your skills.
- Visibly demonstrate your thirst for CANI – Constant And Never-ending Improvement.
- Tell the truth 100% of the time. Never do anything that might question your integrity.
Reason Four: Inadequate Skills
An absence of skill is a prime reason why an application may be rejected. Unfortunately, this is one of the most common reasons applicants are turned away from an application.
However, remember one very important thing:
Everyone in the hospitality industry started out with no skills.
Every person in the hospitality industry began their journey without skills. And, they all began somewhere. Whether it be at a bar school, a college or as a bar back, they started somewhere.
Also, remember that the bar you are trying to land a job in might only accept applicants with years of experience. The bar you are applying to work in might be a ‘niche’ venue and only employs specialist staff – who are trained in cocktail bartending, flare bartending or cocktail gastronomy.
Like I said earlier, the absence of skills is a common application-stopper. But, there are ways around it.
How You Can Fix This
There are a number of ways you can work around having little or no relevant skills. The first and most obvious solution is to sign up to a bar school. You’ll learn relevant skills there, and will probably gain some experience behind a bar. Chances are you might do some networking and maybe even land a position.
Secondly, you can try and gain some skills volunteering behind a bar. You might not be able to make drinks immediately (you might have to collect, clean and polish dirty glasses) but hey – it’s experience.
Listing your ‘transferrable’ skills is another way of demonstrating that you are capable of executing a role in the hospitality industry.