Dr. Drink's Apothecary

Because we serve people, not drinks.

Men Wanted for Hazardous Journey.

This “help wanted” ad has long been attributed to Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer, and it has been claimed that he received over five thousand responses to it.  Though it’s a brilliant bit of copy, it’s been fairly well established that it was just that; the ad never really ran and was written many years after Shackleton’s famed expedition. No matter, at the heart of it is a help wanted ad that spells out the real nature of a job. What are you telling prospective employees about your business and the type of employee you wish to hire?

What we choose to write and the attention we pay to detail when writing an ad will determine the caliber of employee attracted to an interview. In fact, the interview process starts with the ad; and it’s not you determining the skill and potential of an employee, but the prospective employee determining if your business has the skill and potential for them to make a living working for you.

Below is an ad that ran in my market recently and also very clearly lets a prospective employee know exactly what they’re in for if they sign on board.

This posting is for a bartender for our bars in xxxxx, xxxxx, xxxxx and xxxxx. This is a bar that has been here for a long time and is going to be going through a ownership change. This bartender must be able to manage a busy bar and help grow there shifts. We are willing to train but you must be willing to learn and have a great personality. We would like locals to apply to bring in new people to help us grow. We will help you plan your shifts so they always have something going on to keep it new for our customers. Please reply by text only xxx-xxx-xxxx with a picture and some of your experiance. I will text back to set up a time for a interview… Thank you

“Iceberg off the port bow!” Sirens and warning light should go off when you read the above ad. This bar is destined to interview the employees it deserves and I would hazard to guess that any bartender taking this job is in for “low wages, bitter cold, and long hours of complete darkness” and any chance for success is very “doubtful”.

5 comments on “Men Wanted for Hazardous Journey.

  1. The Liquid Culture Project
    September 27, 2012

    Four bars is no small matter. For an experienced bartender and expert mixologist, I would agree this is a bad omen, but for someone with little to no experience and wanting to grow their craft; this could be an incubator. Granted, learning without a mentor can lead to some perilous habit-forming, I’ve learned.

  2. Joseph DeLuca
    September 27, 2012

    I suppose my trepidation about this ad is frankly that the grammar and spelling is somewhere around my second grader’s level (though even he knows the difference between there, their, and they’re) and shows a lack of attention to detail that more than likely carries to business practices. Second, the ad is for a bartender, not a manager, and the onus of bringing in new guests is on the bartender (mentioned not once but twice) telling me that business probably isn’t brisk. In fact, they want a local who can bring in more locals which spells out a recipe for a bartender getting their friends drunk on the bar’s dime. Next is the request for a photo – I red flag all ads that request this – It shows a certain mentality of ‘tits’ over intelligent service. Finally, who requests resumes by text?
    I agree that little to no experienced bartenders need to start somewhere and I’ve hired many who start at the door and then move to a barback position while management observes their work ethic and hospitality skills before turning them loose on serving guests. I get a much different vibe from this ad; more like a group of people are buying some failing bars because owning a bar sounds easy and fun. That should scare anyone who’s been in this business more than one shift. However, I could be wrong…

  3. Molly McSweeney
    September 28, 2012

    If I’m Texting you a picture for consideration, then responsible for bringing my own customers I may as well just throw a byob house party for my friends…. That would turn out more fruitful and have more longevity then my possible stint as a bar maid in your establishment. Just saying. Keep it Joe! I always enjoy reading :)

    • Joseph DeLuca
      September 28, 2012

      The query for photos with applications has embedded itself so deeply in the minds of service staff, that now hiring managers are receiving headshots without asking for them. Matt Stipe, when hiring for Nano several weeks ago, posted on Facebook his frustration: This is not a fucking casting call, it’s an interview. Stop sending me your pictures!

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This entry was posted on September 27, 2012 by in Bartenders, Hospitality, Managers, Operations and tagged , , , , , .

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