Hospo Voice

7 things to check on your hospitality trial shift

November 9, 2020

So, you’ve smashed the interview and you’ve been asked to come in for a trial shift. Amazing! Potential employers love job trials as they can see how you work. It’s not just about them though – hospo trial shifts can be good for you to see if you want to work there. 

But before you go, there are a few things you need to check. Here are some things to ask before and during your hospo trial shift.

1. Will you get paid for the trial shift and how long will it take?

Technically employers can ask for a free trial. BUT – it should only last as long as it takes to show you know how to do the job. You also need to be supervised the entire time. 

Say you’re a cocktail bartender and you’re asked to come in and whip up a few martinis for an hour or two while the manager watches your mad skills in action. That’s ok.

But if you’re left on your own for an 8-hour shift on a Saturday night, it’s not legal. Unfortunately, it happens all the time. 

Grace Dowling is a front-of-house manager and one of the leaders of the Hospo Voice union Respect is the Rule campaign which encourages employers to adopt a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment in their venues. Grace says it’s important you have the pay conversation upfront, even if it’s tough. 

“A boss that is going to do the right thing is going to answer you. A boss that is going to do the wrong thing is probably going to say ‘Woah why are we asking about money’.”

2. What’s the workload like?

Want to check if the workload is going to be fair? One way could be to visit the venue as a customer before your job trial (if you can). Not only will you see how busy it gets, but it’ll also give you the lay of the land so you’re more confident before your trial.

3. What’s the staff turnover?

Have you seen jobs advertised a lot for a particular venue? Or when you get to your job trial and realise that everyone there is new. It could be a sign that things aren’t right…

4. Does the staff seem happy?

Once you’re at your hospitality job trial, make sure you chat to the crew to see how they like working there. Do they generally seem happy and do people get on? Some red flags: 

Or the ultimate red flag – is there someone crying in the cool room? Grace said it can be more common than you’d think.
“I had a workplace where you’d go in into the storeroom to cry and someone would always be in there crying and you’d tag out,” she told us. Eek!

5. How does the boss treat the staff?

When you’re at your hospitality trial shift, watch how the staff are treated by management. You could also take note of: 

You wanna know you’re going to be looked after.

6. Get to know your rights

Find out your award rate and make sure any potential employer is paying you the right rate. Not sure where to find out about this stuff? Our members-only  Mobilise app has all this info including a PayChecker, factsheets and trained experts standing by to answer your questions. (Not a member yet? Join here)

7. Check out the venue on FairPlate.org.au

Want the real inside info about working in a venue? Check out thousands of reviews from other hospo workers on our Fair Plate website

And when you’ve done your trial or started work, feel free to leave your review. As Grace said: 

“It’s our responsibility as members of the workforce to inform each other and lift each other up so no one is being put in a bad situation.

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