You’re Hired: 5 tips to getting a job in an Indie

Baltzersen’s is nearly 9 months old now and is beginning to feel a bit more established in Harrogate.  At this time we are not advertising for staff; in fact for the first time we actually have people in mind for when the next job becomes available or we need to expand the team – this is a happy place to be.

We probably receive a CV each day we are open and the unfortunate reality is that the vast majority of these end up getting filed in the bin. We are however always on the lookout for people who stand out as being exceptional prospects that we may want to add to the team once a position comes available.

If you want to work at Baltzersen’s or any other independent cafe/coffee shop or retailer then here are our top 5 tips to getting hired:

1.  Do your Research.

The first step is to read around the business and find out what they are about; ethos, sourcing, menu, approach etc etc.  Your sources could include the website, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, articles and even reviews on Tripadvisor, Yelp, Google Maps.  Literature contained within the business can also help – here at Baltzersen’s you should read the back of the menu.  If you are already a regular at the business you will likely have a clear idea about these areas, but knowing the language the business use themselves is a good thing.

You could put together a few ideas of topics to discuss when you visit, you don’t have to write these down (it depends how your mind works) but here is an example I jotted down for Baltzersen’s:

A brainstorm/mindmap of topics you could discuss with staff at Baltzersen's

2.  Get to Know Them.

Screen shot of Baltzersens' 'About Us' page

Job hunting gurus probably say ‘ask for the manager and hand them your CV direct’ I would disagree. In today’s age of information it’s really not that hard to do some cursory research that will give you a leg up, many businesses have staff profiles with pictures on their website.  Alternatively you can glean information from talking to the staff.  When the time comes to make your first impression, rather than asking  to see the owner and saying ‘Got any jobs?’, you could:

a.  Find out their name and what they look like.

b.  Read their story.

c.  Introduce yourself and engage them in conversation (using their name) and have some intelligent questions/chit chat that proves you are interested in them and the business  in which they likely work in excess of 75hrs/week.

People like people who are like themselves.  Find out the quiet periods of the day, so you don’t get in the way, and get to know the team.  One of the considerations when hiring someone new is ‘will they fit in with the rest of the team?’ – if everyone already knows your name and finds it easy to talk to you this is a big tick in that box. If you are a particularly nice person some of the team may even suggest that the owner could hire you.

3. Use Social Networks and become a ‘Brand Evangelist’.

Screenshot of Baltzersens' Facebook page

Follow the business you are targeting on Twitter and/or like them on Facebook. It will give you something to talk about with the owner/team and you can help them spread the word by commenting on posts and sharing links. The Theory of Reciprocity suggests that if you do something nice for someone else they feel in your debt and are likely to return the favour often in a more generous fashion.

Social media in small businesses is often looked after by the owner (this is the case at Baltzersen’s) or someone with whom they work very closely.  You have a direct line to the decision maker and can have influence upon them, but be aware it gives them a look into your life and even your profile photo will impact their opinion of you.

4.  Be Memorable.

Successful cafes get a lot of job applications, have slower staff turnover and rarely actively advertise for staff – so what?  For a positive reason you need to make your application memorable and there are a hundred ways you could do this; wow them with your enthusiasm for their brand, show off your knowledge of cakes, make a playlist on Spotify and share it with them, have your finger on the pulse of coffee trends even something as little as coming and helping to carry the outside tables in one evening whilst having a chat could be all it takes.

5.  Be Persistent.

If you applied for a job and no-one got back to you the first time it doesn’t mean it’s over; remind them that you applied, ask if there are any positions coming up, apply again, apply for a different position – be persistent but 6 months down the line know when to let it lie!  There are other businesses that would love to have you and if you’re doing all of the above they’d be mad not to hire you.


So, next time you go to drop off your CV hopefully you will have done some of the things above and your approach is welcomed warmly by the owner, who knows you by name, rather than being treated as a cold call. If you’re applying at Baltzersen’s why not mention this blog post, because if you don’t we’ll be wondering:

‘Is it worth the risk of putting this person in front of our customers when they haven’t done their research?’

The points above are not that complicated and they are equally adaptable to many other industries.  You should know that your competitors are doing this already and they will get hired ahead of you. If you aren’t doing this then it’s likely to be for one reason; you aren’t after this job you are just after a job, any job and you aren’t overly concerned what it is. Well…..that’s fine too, but expect to achieve a job that requires somebody, anybody, who is breathing – and be prepared to accept the level of job satisfaction that position provides.

Good luck and I look forward to being addressed (by name) in the cafe in the near future and having a conversation with you. Even better why not introduce yourself in the comments section below and start right now!


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2 Responses to You’re Hired: 5 tips to getting a job in an Indie

  1. Michael says:

    I came here from a comment you made on LinkedIn. I love what you say and completely agree. Although I’m in a completely different sector, it’s how I’ve always done things and it’s always nice to see confirmation! Thanks for taking to time to write and share.


    • Paul says:

      Thanks Michael. I don’t think it’s all that complicated but the vast majority of people aren’t doing it. It’s so great when someone takes the time to learn about your business and get to know your team – it takes the effort out of the hiring process and seems to work better for all.


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