The hospitality industry, and life in general, can be a tricky space to negotiate, but Stephen Hickmore, who has worked in the industry for far too many years, is here to help. Got a question for Stephen? Send them to sarah@augmentcreative.com and we’ll seek the sage, unbiased advice of our Agony Uncle. Questions and answers to appear on Hospitality Marketplace, but we’ll keep it all anonymous. We promise.

Each day I get asked many questions. Maybe it’s the white hair and longevity that makes people believe that I can be trusted with their concerns and dilemmas. Over the years I think I have heard it all, but no, I am surprised with new questions often. Part of the reason why I love this job. So, ask away, we will keep it confidential. Here are a few examples of questions I’ve been asked:

Dear Stephen,

I am a chef and want to get a tattoo or two. What will my employers say?

– Tattoo too much?

Tattoos used to be the domain of bikers and sailors, but now a tatt has become part of the chef uniform. My opinion? Think very carefully about how visible your ink should be. Not all employers love a full sleeve. Be extra careful of the type of tattoo you get. I have seen whole cheese boards, cuts of meat, various knives and slogans like “Die Cooking”. Honestly, is this art? Don’t get me wrong, I quite like tattoos but at least be artistic and different. Do remember, though, that they are for life and may not be trendy in 10 years’ time. Also, what does ripe cheddar, brie or camembert say about you? Perhaps a little too cheesy?

***

Dear Stephen,

I have read that if I am a temporary employee, or working for a temporary employment service, I am automatically a permanent employee of the place I am working after 3 months?

– Permanent Employee?

There has been a lot of confusion about the ‘deeming’ provision that appears to indicate that the client becomes the sole employer after 3 months. This is not factual. The recent judgement has been interpreted incorrectly by the trades union movement and by some employers.

There is no requirement, or even mention, of permanency in the recent constitutional court ruling. Also, there is no physical transfer of employment indicated. The employee can remain employed by the Temporary Employment Service (TES), is still paid by the TES, administered by the TES and so forth. I suggest that you ensure that you are only working with a TES that complies with all labour law and is legitimate. There are many ‘fly by nights’ out there. For more information check out www.capes.org.za

***

Dear Stephen,

I went for three interviews with a big hotel group for a food and beverage manager position. I have been informed that I have not been successful, but my recruitment agent will not tell me why. Is it my right to know?

– What went wrong?

I think it’s helpful for you to know the reasons you didn’t get the job. But, you need to be mature enough to handle rejection and the difficult feedback. All interviews are a learning experience and it’s very valuable to digest why things didn’t go as you wished, so that you know for the next interview. I suggest that you contact the recruiter and chat. Let them know that you can handle the truth.

  • Stephen Hickmore
    Stephen Hickmore

    Stephen is a headhunter for the hospitality industry, and Co-founder of The Hospitality Solutions Company H.S.C. as well as Hickmore Recruitment. Stephen has a world of experience in hotels. He trained with Trusthouse Forte Hotels in the UK before moving to South Africa in the 80’s. After a 3 year period with Southern Sun Hotels, Stephen became a recruiter for the hospitality industry. Stephen presents and MC’s at many events and competitions. He has an insider view of the crazy world of hotels, and writes about anything from mad chefs to giving up the booze. His observations are at times educational, and at other times oblique.

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