Maneuvering Through Hiring Trouble Spots

Matt Swihart admits the riches that an area like Hood River, Oregon is for craft beer and outdoor tourism, it’s not hiring candidates for job openings that he is for want. Instead, it’s making sure he can keep people around with a living wage.

“It’s hard to because our hometown is a top destination and recreation spot on the earth,” Swihart, the founder and Brewmaster for Double Mountain Brewing, said. “Housing prices are high, rents are high. So somebody that’s moving to Hood River to work for us, it’s challenging for them to find housing.”

Some other communities are close in distance to the area, which helps.

“That’s kind of the bane of our existence a little bit,” he said of the constant influx of consumers. “But, we enjoy that as well in the sense that I’ve got a restaurant in the area that has this constant stream of visitors. It butters our bread to have that constant influx but it’s a challenge for us.”

He did point out that there have been local measures to try to protect affordable housing and the brewery helps local efforts about rent control to try to make sure his staff can stay close to work

“We try to pay well,” he said, “we have good benefits and we always look to change and evolve.”

Swihart said that small companies like his have to be intensely loyal and familiar with each other.

“We focus on low turnover,” he said. “I don’t want to burn through brewers, I don’t want to burn through bartenders, cooks or anything like that. We’re looking for people that want to be there and they’re not just looking for a job. They want to work for us because they want that philosophy and that’s what we really look for.

“We’re not going to be the highest-paid position. The best job in town. But we’re going to be like in the 90th percentile.”

He added that his approach to everything is to strive to be the best, but make sure to be in that top 10 percent in everything they do.

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