Expert Topic Beyond Job Boards

How do breweries attract top talent to the beer industry? By looking outside the industry. From accounting to logistics, packaging, and administration, trying to catch folks who are a perfect fit but might not know about beer.

Seems like not too long ago, craft brewers only needed to have their doors open to attract willing and eager employees. The industry, with its cool cache and artistic bent was an attractive job bath for people looking to join a creative and dynamic community.

Now, as the craft segment is more mainstream, and there is more choice than ever before for people who want to work in breweries, companies must compete for the best candidates and also need to find ways to meet job seekers where they are looking.

Online and On Campus Choices

Of course, the job board at ProBrewer is a logical choice. It’s long been a reliable go-to for beer industry job seekers. Those are often folks looking for a start or looking to make a geographical or upward career move. It’s still, in our opinion obviously, the best place to look.

Brewery owners have also cited job sites like Indeed as being particularly useful, especially for non-brewing relating jobs like accounting and administration.

There has also been a rise in the number of colleges and universities offering brewing or beer-related courses. These might not be as robust as University of California Davis, American Brewers Guild, or the Siebel Institute, but they are working to build programs that focus on fermentation, science, small business administration, finance, and more.

For breweries that are in close proximity to these programs, having a connection at the school who is looking for candidates to send your way, or to be actively targeting those students is also a good way to retain talent that is looking for a fresh start or leg up.

Word of Mouth

There is still something to be said about word of mouth, both in person and on social media. Brewery owners or hiring managers that put the call out to their networks are often inundated with candidates who are eager to work.

Be clear in the roles that you are looking to fill, including responsibilities and candidate expectations. This will help tamp down the number of responses to only those qualified or truly serious.

The Educated Choice

Another common answer among breweries that were asked about hiring secrets was teachers. For taprooms that are open on evenings and weekends, reaching out to local teachers who are looking for extra cash (this is the point where we all agree that teachers are absolutely underpaid) is a smart move.

Not only are they accustomed to dealing with all manners of situations and often have a good disposition, but teachers are also eager to learn and then share knowledge, making them great ambassadors for a brewery on the business side of the bar.

Job Fairs and Local Organizations

There are still a lot of job fairs that exist. It can be time consuming for small breweries to set up a table and sit around for a full day or weekend, hoping that talent comes to you. For smaller breweries this means the loss of an employee in house for a full day and being away from the job. But often there are opportunities to be involved remotely, or to partner with several other small businesses for a shared booth.

Target Different Fields

There aren’t many accountants or human resources administrators, or non-brewing job seekers who lurk on brewing boards. Look to where those professionals are job hunting and place your ads there. You might find the right candidate who had never considered working in the beer industry previously, but who winds up being the right fit.

Make it Worth Their While

A key part of hiring the right employee is to make sure your company is attractive to them. Researching proper salary ranges in advance and being able to be competitive in that space is important. So are benefits packages vacation and family leave, and even retirement plans.

The days of “working for beer” or “experience” or “love of the industry” are behind us. There are bills to pay, mouths to feed and a sense of pride comes from employees enjoying where they work as well as being fairly compensated and treated.

To that point, if your brewery is constantly looking to hire due to turnover, it might be time for a self-inflection moment. Find out why people are regularly leaving the business. Is it due to management or ownership, benefits, pressure, or finances?

While there will always be a natural ebb and flow of employees, a regular exodus or turnover is likely signs of a larger issue within the company culture and will ultimately hurt a business in the long run. Providing a smart and professional space for employees with opportunities to grow as the company does is good for the overall health of a business.

Beyond Job Boards posted in:
John Holl
John Holl

John Holl is a contributor to ProBrewer and the editor of All About Beer.

One Comment “Beyond Job Boards”

  • Jeff Porter

    As an Executive Search professional the biggest failure I see from brewery owners is that their compensation expectations are way off base. Especially when it comes to recruiting ppl from allied industries. “I’d love to have someone from company X.” I tell them they cannot afford someone from that particular company because new hires with NO exoerience are starting at $70k. And the client wants someone with over 5 tears of experience? You are correct. The days of “oh it’s a cool place, free beer, etc are OVER.

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