I had been interviewed before at another establishment some weeks prior at this stage. The interviewer was polite and thorough, but ultimately informed me that I would not be offered a position due to having another, more experienced candidate lined up; while they had worked in restaurants for years and were studying for their WSET Level 4 Diploma, I was coming from an office environment with a WSET Level 3 certification.
I expected this next interview to be pretty much the same, but decided to participate regardless. I could not do anything about my lack of experience in a restaurant environment (save for a 10-month stint at a ‘healthy burger’ restaurant during my student years).
So I needed to offer something different
I arrived at the venue a few minutes early, informing the host at the front desk that I was there for a job interview. I was guided to a table and told that the manager would be there shortly. As I sat and waited I admired the view of the city beyond the windows, but what was more impressive were the wines on display – literally hundreds on bottles of wine lined up in glass cabinets over three meters high, amongst the dining tables for all to see.
A few minutes later the manager came and greeted me with a handshake, and informed me that he would be joined by the assistant manager and the head sommelier during this interview. I was a bit surprised, but not intimidated – I took it to mean that they were taking this seriously, as they should. Eventually they joined us and the interview began.
My lack of floor experience once again became a weak spot; all I could do was tell them that I was willing to learn. Could I hold three plates at once? Sure, I did that all the time at my old burger job… four years ago. I was asked what my favourite wine was, and I honestly replied that there were too many to count – Amarone from Italy, Riesling from South Australia, other interesting varietals from exotic locations that I had discovered while writing for my blog… I wrote a blog? Why, yes, for almost a year now…
The interview ended well, and they were happy to take me on for a trial shift to see how things would go. Both managers shook my hand and left to their duties. As the head sommelier was walking me out, he asked me a strange question:
“So, you really want to get into hospitality? It’s not an easy job…” He said this with a friendly smile, showing that he did not mean to intimidate me.
I gave my honest reply:
“I’m not afraid of hard work”
After all, what job is easy? Anyone who says that you can be successful without hard work is either trying to sell you something or sign you up to a Ponzi/Pyramid scheme.
I received an email a few hours later, confirming the date for my trial shift. I was ready.
Read more: If Wine Is Bullshit, So Is Everything Else