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IPAdams
01-13-2015, 12:20 PM
So I have an interview tomorrow for an assistant brewer position and I have a couple questions on how to set myself apart. I don't have any formal brewing education or commercial experience so I was wondering if bringing Competition score sheets of beers that scored in the high 30's and 40's would help establish some kind of brewing track record. I have also had people suggest that I bring a couple homebrews for them to try but I feel this is a bit unprofessional. Finally, are there any questions I should ask at the end of the interview that might help me stick out to the interviewer? Any comments on this or anything else I should talk about during the interview is greatly appreciated.

kabrewku
01-13-2015, 01:44 PM
I would not bring score sheets or beer. Put award winning home brewer on your resume, if that's true. As an assistant with no formal brewing experience, recipe formulation is gonna be one of the last things you get to do, if ever. Once you get the job, by all means bring in the home brew.

To set yourself apart, just make sure you're ready to work. Know that brewing is more cleaning than anything else. How I got my foot in the door was the fact that I paid out of my own pocket to take a Siebel course. Breweries want to see you invest in yourself before they take the chance.

Cheers, and good luck.

Bainbridge
01-13-2015, 03:45 PM
Emphasize any other non-brewing skills you might bring to the table too. Plumbing, welding, electrical, mechanical skills and handyman type things, biology or chemistry aptitude, forklift cert, computer or photoshop skills. Anything else extra you can bring to the brewery.

If you brought me homebrew judging sheets I'd do what I always do with judging sheets: read them, chuckle/curse idiocy, toss them in the garbage.

Actually, wait, I might ask you to respond to one of the more BS reviews just to see how well you handle criticism. Then I'd ask how you'd address that flaw, assuming it existed. But probably I'd be like "Ugh, so this guy is super proud of his homebrew. Wooooo..."

I disagree about not bringing in a bottle though. It's a good way to prove you really care about stuff like cleaning and sanitation. Let the head brewer judge for him/herself whether your homebrew is any good.

EDIT: But don't act like that beer is ever, ever, going to get brewed there, or that your recipe is some kind of Colonel's Secret to extra crispy chicken.

tariq khan
01-13-2015, 03:51 PM
I agree with Kabrewku,

Well I'd be cool with you bringing a bottle or two of homebrew though, it's happened a lot in the past.

I'd be more focused on showing your personality and eagerness, two things I really look for in an employee.

Cheers

T

Bbump22
01-14-2015, 06:55 AM
I agree with Kabrewku,

Well I'd be cool with you bringing a bottle or two of homebrew though, it's happened a lot in the past.

I'd be more focused on showing your personality and eagerness, two things I really look for in an employee.

Cheers

T

I feel like personality and work ethic matters most to a brewer. They probably aren't looking for someone to refine their recipes and you wouldn't do yourself any favors if you say you can. Be humble and pleasant. They know they will have to train you on every little aspect of the brewery so they are looking for someone who is trainable, not a know-it-all.

I volunteered my way into the industry. I was doing tasks such as making buttons and sanding stools...show them you are willing to do what it takes to be a part of the team. Maybe at the end of the interview you can offer to volunteer. I would work my 8-5 desk job then go volunteer for a few hours after work. I had to be persistent and reach out to them to volunteer, so be persistent. Even if they say no. Hang out there without being a pest. They will want to get to know you a bit, but don't force the issue.

Good Luck.

nateo
01-15-2015, 08:55 PM
I would work my 8-5 desk job then go volunteer for a few hours after work. I had to be persistent and reach out to them to volunteer, so be persistent. Even if they say no. Hang out there without being a pest. They will want to get to know you a bit, but don't force the issue.


I get what you're saying, and people want to be brewers because *dreams*, but it seems insane to me to want to give my time away to someone who doesn't care about me or even want my help. There are so many companies in the world that would love to have you and your work, why give your labor away to someone who doesn't want you?

JDrum
01-16-2015, 11:27 AM
I get what you're saying, and people want to be brewers because *dreams*, but it seems insane to me to want to give my time away to someone who doesn't care about me or even want my help. There are so many companies in the world that would love to have you and your work, why give your labor away to someone who doesn't want you?

Not to mention the fact that having "volunteers" in your place of business is a great way to get into some trouble. A brewery is an excellent place to get injured, in addition to the state itching to fine those not paying employee taxes...

http://www.mercurynews.com/my-town/ci_26541167/castro-valley-winery-fined-115-000-using-volunteers

Brandjes
01-16-2015, 12:27 PM
Training someone to do any brewery task safely and correctly is time consuming. To have them there to "help" for a day might not be worth it. All legal issues aside

tariq khan
01-16-2015, 12:36 PM
Wow that's tragic, but I see more of that to come in the future.

T

nateo
01-16-2015, 02:24 PM
Not to mention the fact that having "volunteers" in your place of business is a great way to get into some trouble. A brewery is an excellent place to get injured, in addition to the state itching to fine those not paying employee taxes...

http://www.mercurynews.com/my-town/ci_26541167/castro-valley-winery-fined-115-000-using-volunteers

I absolutely agree for-profits shouldn't use volunteer labor. I took pride in paying my employees an honest wage, and paying my fair share of taxes. If you need help and can't afford to pay for it, maybe you should change your business model.

nosdunk
01-16-2015, 11:36 PM
I would not bring my score sheets or any beer to the interview. It isn't appropriate and has the potential for negative impact.

If it were me, I would learn everything I could about the company you are going to interview with. Talk to people and learn what sets that company apart from other breweries. Use that information when you are asked "why do you want to work for us?"

Most, I repeat, MOST importantly, be yourself. Relax, dress appropriately, and BE YOURSELF!

Good luck.

Bainbridge
01-17-2015, 11:43 AM
And "don't be a Stranger."

Like, literally.

If I don't already know you at least a little, or someone in the staff knows you and vouches, I'm very, very unlikely to hire you. I can't tell you the number of people who've walked into the taproom, "told me how much they admire what we do and how it's their dream to work here!", handed me a resume, and walked out. Leaving me going "Who the $%#& was that?" Toss.

Maybe if you were like "Hi, my name is so and so, you may have seen my keynote at the last CBC. I've been brewing for 30 years, have enough medals to drown a fish, and lately have been stricken with a bout of insanity and now want to work for lowly little you." Ok, hired! But the last cellarman/apprentice beer grunt we hired - regular in the taproom, staff liked him well enough, seemed eager for some work. Ok, you get a part time gig to prove yourself and we'll see how it goes from there.

TTB Helper
01-20-2015, 10:05 AM
Hey IPAdams,

You have me wondering how the interview went and what was the outcome? Was the advice you received on target?

GP

mashpaddled
01-23-2015, 08:06 AM
If another homebrewer came to me asking for interview advice at a brewery I'd tell him or her to point out in the interview that he or she is a homebrewer and the best part of the brew day is the cleaning.

Bbump22
01-27-2015, 08:25 AM
I get what you're saying, and people want to be brewers because *dreams*, but it seems insane to me to want to give my time away to someone who doesn't care about me or even want my help. There are so many companies in the world that would love to have you and your work, why give your labor away to someone who doesn't want you?

I think every situation is different and you have to use a little common sense. If I felt like they didn't care about me, I wouldn't have stayed there. I enjoyed their company and vice versa, so it was a good fit for me. Also, not being a professional brewer when I started volunteering, this allowed me to get a taste for what working in a brewery was like, without quitting my day job and the salary that came with it. Eventually they hired me full time and I have never looked back, but I am glad I minimized my risk, knowing what I would be getting into and making sure I wanted to become a brewer.

As for insurance issues, that is a viable concern for sure. Some breweries turned me down for that reason alone.

CharlosCarlies
02-07-2015, 08:18 AM
I absolutely agree for-profits shouldn't use volunteer labor. I took pride in paying my employees an honest wage, and paying my fair share of taxes. If you need help and can't afford to pay for it, maybe you should change your business model.

I completely understand and agree with the point you're trying to make, but I don't like blanket statements like this. Yeah, there's no freaking way I'd use volunteers for any process that is even possibly dangerous or could screw up our product. I also wouldn't use them for things where they'll end up feeling "exploited" like cleaning bathrooms, the floors, etc. unless they're more of an actual intern and there's a real chance of us hiring them or helping them get hired somewhere else. I interned for a month at another brewery w/ no pay before we opened up and the knowledge gained was invaluable.

With that out of the way, I also completely disagree when it comes to serving beer. Here in Texas, there are many breweries still using the paid tour model where beer is "free" and (TABC certified) volunteers serve the beer. I never ask them to do much else unless they want to and most of them come back every single weekend because they simply enjoy hanging around a brewery, talking to other beer lovers, and feeling like an insider. They also get a t-shirt, discounted merchandise/growler fills, a free lunch, and free beer after the tour (within reason of course). We're not technically paying them sure, but they obviously see value in it or they wouldn't come back every weekend. We could afford to pay actual staff and will at some point, but right now it's working for us and I can assure you...our business model is just fine.