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Interview with Alex Black, General Manager, Thekla, Bristol – Jobs Connect

We spoke to Alex Black, General Manager at Thekla about managing a hospitality business as part of the Moments Maker campaign, showcasing leading ‘hospitality careerists’ from our region talking candidly about their career path and why hospitality is such a rewarding and varied career choice for the long-term.

Moment Makers celebrates the newly-launched talent platform aimed at residents in the West of England finding their dream role in hospitality and tourism in the region.

Why is hospitality unique?

My life is all about music. I love going to gigs and listening to music. So, when I come in to do my job I am just being myself. I don’t have to put on a face like people do at other corporate offices. I definitely prefer being there running an event on the ground. The office is still an important part, but I enjoy the fact that my role is split 50/50.

What are your recruiting challenges?

Over the last couple of years the industry at large has really struggled with recruitment. Now, when we recruit 18 or 19-year-olds they’ve not really had much experience in the industry themselves either as customers or working - and this job isn’t for everyone. As such, there’s currently quite a high turnover of staff.

What’s great about Jobs Connect?

I think being a music venue rather than just a nightclub or a bar, there are certain aspects of our role that you wouldn’t necessarily have had experience with working in other hospitality jobs. So having the Jobs Connect platform helps us work out which skills people have, which would lend them to certain roles here.

Jobs Connect has all the salient information; how long the job is live for, salary and where it is. What’s important for an employer like me is that we get to add our brand onto the page.  When you’ve got such a unique venue as we do, it’s important that we can pass that onto the candidate.


Jobs Connect

Meet Alex Black, General Manager, Thekla, Bristol

Find out about the recruitment challenges faced by Thekla's General Manager and how the Jobs Connect Platform can address these challenges.

How do you recruit a dream team?

I always ensure that we’re hiring people that are suited to the venue and suited to the rest of the team. One of my interview questions is: what was the last gig you went to or what was the last venue you went to? There’s no wrong answer to these questions, but it helps us gauge what kind of person this candidate is.

Who’s your industry mentor?

I wouldn’t say I’ve got one set industry mentor, but having worked in a few places over a few years, I think every manager I’ve worked under has helped teach me something else. I’ve still got all their phone numbers. I can go to them if I need to. I’d like to think my team have the same with me.

Why is West of England hospitality thriving right now?

We’ve got lots of independent bars and clubs and venues, as well as the sort of high street brand chains people know. We get a lot of tourists coming in as we are quite close to the continent. And it’s a great destination venue for UK holidaymakers.

How does Jobs Connect help with recruiting different types of roles?

We have lots of different roles to fill. When we do put out a usual ad for CVs everyone assumes its bar work, but this kind of platform helps us distinguish between different roles, whether they be on the bar or not.

What does being a Moment Maker mean to you?

So for me, being a moment maker is all about the customers that come to the live gigs. I really remember my first gig, how much I enjoyed it and being able to offer someone that experience at your place of work is a great feeling.

“I really remember my first gig, how much I enjoyed it and being able to offer someone that experience at your place of work is a great feeling”.

Alex Black, General Manager, Thekla, Bristol