Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cranky Recruiter: Must Love Wine. But Not Too Much!

I like to think I'm a passionate person, and I love it when people say they are passionate about wine.  I have read countless interviews where someone in the wine industry describes their passion for wine, and how it drives them to create phenomenal things.  Good, keep the passion flowing.  Makes the world go round.  But beware of loving wine too much.

I read emails daily from people who want to follow their dreams of working in wine.  Good, makes sense why you are emailing me.  Glad to hear you dream.  Cranky Recruiter has dreams too.  The jaded reader that I am always wonders, hmm, what does it mean to be passionate about wine, and to dream about wine.  Sounds vaguely similar to an addiction.  And that's where I worry.

Yes, it is fun to sit with friends and dream big, and often the dreams are bigger over a couple glasses of wine.  After a few they can get really big, really fantastic, and perhaps occasionally nightmarish.  If I get your resume on a Tuesday morning and call you to discuss your background during working hours, are you a different person after-hours.  If I put you in front of a client for an interview and the client offers you a glass of wine, are you going to down the glass, then the bottle and then leap on the table proclaiming your love of wine and this interviewer!  Oh, I daydream too.  But really, you need to temper your adoration of wine with evidence of your work ethic, your smarts and your stick-to-it-ness.

This Cranky Recruiter once was sitting in a cubicle, working through a database, and had aspirations of bigger things.  While I often wanted to take over the world, (another allusion to my love of Pinky and the Brain) I sometimes had to rein my dreams in a little.  When I started interacting with winery clients, a kernel of a dream to work exclusively in the wine industry took root.  I slogged through plenty of database updates, direct mail campaigns, cold calls and dicey offer negotiations afterwards, and that seedling started to sprout some leaves, the trunk started to thicken up, and I had grown my abilities to make my dream a reality.  Eight years ago I left a thriving technical services company to dive exclusively into the wine world.

People often ask me why I did this.  And it isn't because I love wine.  Yes, I do like wine.  Yes, I drink wine, and yes I enjoy knowing everything I can about wine.  But that isn't why I'm in it.  I'm in it for the people.  I place people at companies that are run by other people.  I talk to people about how they have worked with other people, what types of people they work with best, and how they manage people.  I don't usually talk to them about their favorite wine.  I don't ask them how much they drink (I don't think I can legally ask that anyways!)  And I don't ask them how passionate they are about wine.  Yes, be passionate, but think about what it is about wine that is stirring this passion.   Then take that information and use it to help you figure out what you want to do in the wine world.

Wine is an ancient beverage, something that has been written about for centuries.  There are ancient ruins of wine vessels, murals depicting winemaking, and works of art depicting people enjoying wine.  Yes, it has a lot of allure, but remember that I am looking for a capable person who can do the job I am recruiting for.  Not an accomplished drinker.  I have written before about what I want to see on a resume.  Check it out.  You may notice on there that I don't mention "passion for wine" once.  It is all about how you handle yourself, and what you can bring to the table. 

And one last morsel of advice here folks.  Make sure you enjoy yourself responsibly.  We can all have our a nights of bacchanalian revelry with friends and live to love another day.  Make sure you realize how to do this as hedonistically as you wish, but safely.  What do I mean?  Don't drink and drive.  Drink and drive, and you could lose your license.  Drink and drive and you could lose your wine job.  If you have a DUI on your driving record, some companies won't even consider you for employment.  Get a DUI while on the job, and you'll possibly lose your job and your license.  So be careful if you follow your passion for wine and commit your career to the wine industry.  If you happen to get a DUI, you may just have a lot fewer prospects for your next job.  And of course, we all want our roadways free of reckless drivers.  Don't Hesitate, Designate.  And there are plenty of very friendly and competent chauffeurs happy to help.  That pricey limo or taxi ride could be a very wise career decision.