Brew Talk: Hiring the Strongest Staff for Your Brewery Starts with Your Interview Process

Spangalang Brewery

It’s not news that who you hire has a significant impact on the success of your brewery. What you may not have considered is that who you hire can also have a big impact on the cost of your workers’ comp insurance.
While it is unrealistic to expect every employee you hire to be an excellent performer, you should strive to find and hire the best available applicant whenever you are hiring. That means you should look for candidates with the following traits:

  • They have knowledge and skills necessary to perform the tasks they are expected to perform, or they work to acquire them quickly with little formal assistance.
  • They share the same values as their employer.  They initiate work without any cue from management; they know what jobs and tasks need to be done and how to do it.
  • They obtain great satisfaction from their work. Their motivation comes from their own inner drives and needs, which are met by performance of the work itself. They want to do what needs to be done because the work matters to them.
  • They bring a unique match of physical and mental talents to the job that allow them to perform at a higher level.

That such characteristics make a candidate a desirable employee is probably not news to you, either. But the question is, how do you find such employees?
It all comes down to your hiring process—and at the core of that process is the job interview.

Your Brewery’s Interview Process
Your hiring process most likely kicks off with a job application. Whether you are using a ready-made application or you’ve customized one for your brewery, remember: the purpose of the job application is to gain information about a job candidate’s qualifications to join your team and successfully perform major elements of the job description. Your job application should ask questions about the candidates’ experience, education, credentials, and references.
If an application looks good to you, your next step is most likely the job interview. This is where you need to use your knowledge and skills to try to discern whether the stranger sitting across from you could be a positive addition to your brewery team and contribute to the success of the business… or not.
“It’s an unfortunate fact that, in the workplace, one bad apple really can spoil the whole barrel,” says Richard Beall, principal of Beall Brewery Insurance, which works with craft breweries at all stages of development all across the country.
“It’s important to ask interview questions that help you understand a candidate’s work history, qualifications and values, and potential to fit in to your existing team.”
That’s where “behavioral interview questions” can be particularly important. This approach is based on the belief that past performance is the best predictor of future behavior. In fact, behavioral interviewing is said to be 55 percent predictive of future on-the-job behavior, while traditional interviewing is only 10 percent predictive. It allows you to evaluate a candidate’s experiences and behaviors in order to determine their potential for success.
“The right questions can help you understand how an applicant would behave toward theft, workers comp fraud and abuse, and negative workplace and safety behavior,” Beall points out. “They can really help you select the best applicants—and that means they can help you reduce your workers comp costs, improve your safety record, reduce turnover, and lower hiring costs.”
“It’s also important to keep in mind the questions that you shouldn’t ask,” adds Kristian Beall, AAI, of Beall Brewery Insurance.
“Make sure you avoid questions that are not legitimately related to the job position, such as the person’s race or color, marital status or sexual orientation, age or religious beliefs.”
Finding the right person for the job requires quite a bit of detective work—listening as much to what candidates don’t say as to what they do say. Preparing the right questions in advance, keeping your eyes and ears open during the interview process, and understanding that filling a job opening isn’t as important as filling the job opening with the right candidate… all that will help prevent you from hiring a problem from your brewery, and instead hire a person who can help your brewery thrive.

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