Dec 12

Top 10 Hiring Tips

One of the most important processes for any management team to master is the art of strategic hiring.  Your human resources are your best assets and can also be your demise. Here are ten tips on how to pick the best possible candidate:

  1. Assess your current team-  A work team is like a small community. When thinking about adding another element to that community make sure to take stock of what you already have. Make sure that you know what assets you already have, and make sure that you are utilizing them to their full potential. Once you do this it should be clearer what you are in need of.  No community needs five comedy clubs and no hospitals, or vice-versa.  If you create a team of individuals that complement each other, instead of having to compete with each other for a living, then they can each place all of their focus can on providing great service and growing the business.
  2. Assess your HR policies- If you are in a company that has to use an HR department for hiring, make sure that their standards and your standards match up, and that they are tapping all relevant industry resources to find you the best person. Even if sometimes you and HR butt heads, everyone can agree the most damaging thing to a business is an unqualified or ineffective employee. Yet it is usually much MUCH harder to fire someone than to hire them.
  3. Do not hire a best friend!- Some people believe that you should hire someone you would like to have a beer with… I advise against that. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t like who you hire. I’m just saying that if you are trying to hire someone to make a friend, you will have difficulty managing them objectively, and that leads to major problems.
  4. Be honest about room to grow- Do not tell people there is room for advancement if there is not. Be completely clear about the chain of command within your organization  A new job is an important life choice, and it is better to have all parties start out with a clean and clear slate. This will lead to much less ill will down the road.
  5. Make your position desirable for more than just money-  An attractive starting salary is great in the beginning, but after the first six months it becomes the new normal… and sights start to be set higher. Any great employee you find will likely be upwardly mobile. This means they will strive hard for your success and their own, and make sure you are offering other benefits, such as training, networking, community outreach, and promotion opportunities.
  6. Be honest about your time requirements/restrictions-If you are looking for only part time be clear about that. And if you are looking for someone that you need over 60 hrs a week be clear about that. There is no benefit to hiring someone that can not meet your needs. There is always someone out there who can!
  7. Do a background check (I mean the references)- I am not suggesting doing financial background checks, or even criminal for that matter. I am suggesting that you take the time to fully check out your applicants’ references. It is true that people are not supposed to tell you if someone has been fired (which I find absurd) , but you can gain a lot of info by tone and pauses. And also if someone has listed all friends and no former bosses. If something feels wonky follow that instinct. It will save you loads of headaches later on.
  8. Never hire a band-aid- Make sure you are always hiring the best qualified person, even if that leaves you short staffed for a few more weeks than you would like. The wrong hire could hurt your business much worse than a smaller crew of solid employees.
  9. Make sure they are compatible with your clientele- You should know the core clientele of your business, and make sure your new hire is compatible with them. Some people look great on paper, but do not translate well into the actual work environment.  This is also what your 90 days are for. If someone just is not the right fit, cut your losses before this time is up.
  10. Create a questionnaire that includes scenarios of your business’ biggest challenges- Make sure you create some questions that are specific to your business and its unique challenges, and really listen to the answers you are getting. If these scenarios seem out of the person’s grasp, they may not be the best fit. However, if they come up with creative solutions that you may not have considered, that may be your best possible fit.

Dec 12

Leverage takes on Wine Fraud: An interview with actor Aldis Hodge

I have been a long time lover of TNT’s show Leverage. For those of you who have not had the privilege it is an action-packed show about vigilante con-men, with a super talented cast of character actors. They are now in the show’s fifth season, which took a major foodie bent after the crew relocated their headquarters to Oregon, and opened a brew pub. It stars Timothy Hutton as Nate Ford, Gina Bellman as Sophie Devereaux, Aldis Hodge as Alec Hardison, Christian Kane as Eliot Spencer, and Beth Riesgraf as Parker. It is easy to draw the comparison between this show and the A Team, except that this show is much more modern, with strong female leads, and I feel like it tackles much more important issues.

I have recently been made aware that they are finally running a wine con. On Tuesday December 11th, the team will con a corrupt winery out of a priceless bottle of their own wine in an episode called “The Corkscrew Job” (10PM/9 CST.)

You can look up more info at http://www.tntdrama.com/series/leverage/

I am always excited when my favorite shows collide with my favorite beverage, and I had the pleasure of interviewing Aldis Hodge about this show, and wine:

What is your favorite wine and why?

AH: I have three favorites. Rambaure’s Reisling, Hawksview Cellar’s La Baliene, and Anam Cara’s Gewurztraminer- and simply because they all have a great taste.

Who decided to do a show on wine fraud? 

AH: Our writer for the episode Jenny Kao.

I know from time to time each of you get to highlight some of your special talents, like your wonderful violin playing. Will we get to see any new layers of Aldis in this episode?

AH: Hardison does get to tussle a bit in this episode. Though it’s not exactly how I was brought up fighting (haha) it’s close enough.

Did you guys hire consultants from the wine industry to help you with this episode?

AH: Living in Portland, OR is all the consultation you need. The place is a mecca for wine knowledge.

Is this show loosely based on any true stories?

AH: Not certain, but if I was a betting man I would say that certain elements of it are.

This season is especially foodie-centric, what is the driving force behind that?

AH: Just being in Portland. It has an amazing food culture and you know what they say? When in Rome…

Which cast member is the biggest wine enthusiast?

AH: Probably Hutton. He currently owns a restaurant so I think from that experience he’s built a sound foundation of wine knowledge.

There has been a through-line of a turbulent relationship with alcohol from the beginning… why is that? 

AH: That’s a question for the creators Rogers and Downey… haha. I personally think that it’s Nate’s kryptonite because he hasn’t resolved past issues. It’ s also proof that the mastermind is human and has flaws.

Are you really a tech genius, or do you just play one on TV? 

AH: I merely play one on TV. If I was a tech genius I’s sure I’d be a billionaire living in Greece spending the fortune I just made off of reinventing the internet and finding a solution to harnessing reusable clean energy from an infinite source.

What is your favorite moment of this episode and why? 

AH: A moment towards the end between Hardison and Parker. I can’t give details, but let’s just say that Hardison proves his merit by fighting for what he wants.

Well I can say that I am super excited to watch this episode.  I look at wine as the fine art of the food and beverage world, and for most people on every level of the industry it is a labor of love, so it drives me crazy when people try and scam on that. I am happy that Leverage is shedding some light on this issue. Not that, with any wine related show or movie I will not be watching with a critical eye, and wincing if people are holding their wine glasses by the bulb  or saying things like “this Pinot Noir from Bordeaux is mind blowing,” but I have faith this team will do a great job. I hope that one day Mr. Hodge gets to be a Grecian billionaire, and as to the Parker and Hardison moment coming at the end of the episode, I am hoping Hardison puts a ring on it!

I would love it if you all would share your thoughts on this show.

You can fallow Aldis at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Aldis-Hodge/131506073422

I will be tweeting my thoughts – follow me at @SaraKayGodot


Dec 12

Belated Beaujolais Thursday 2012

I’m a very festive person in general, so I get especially excited about wine holidays! One of my favorites is Beaujolais Thursday, which is the third Thursday in November when each year’s vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau is released.

This is a fun wine tradition that started in 1935 and has been tweaked, official, unofficial, but always recognized. This is one of the few wines that is meant to drink ASAP! (Do not think that this is true for all Beaujolais — once you get to the village level and beyond they can be quite age worthy.) Basically everywhere that Beaujolais goes importers agree not to release it until the third Thursday of November, and then its brightly colored labels hit the shelves around the world making for a super tasty, fun, easy, cost-effective, holiday wine… and a FABULOUS reason to drink!

This year the release day  was November 15, 2012, but sadly there was NONE to be found in Harlingen, Texas. I stopped at the three wine stores that are available to me and no one had heard of the holiday or this wine, and so I went home sad and defeated. But my husband being the wonderful man that he is kept up the search and one of the stores must have listened to my cries, because last night Mr. Godot came home with a nice shiny bottle of 2012 Georges Dubeuf Beaujolais Nouveau for me to review for you!

Producer: Geaorges Dubeuf (One of the key players in the Beaujolais Nouveau game)


Region: Beaujolais, France  (Burgundy)

Grape: Gamay

Vintage: 2012


  • Color: A purple core to a magenta rim
  • Youthful
  • Brilliant
  • No Gas
  • No Sediment
  • Med + Viscosity


  • Youthful & Healthy
  • Primary Notes: Candied raspberry, blueberry bubble gum, plum skin, & petunias
  • Secondary notes: Cucumber, fresh-cut grass, & rubber balls
  • Minerality: Wet Slate


  • Dry
  • Medium Plus Body
  • Medium Acid
  • Low Tannin
  • Signs of Carbonic Maceration
  • Super fruity & juicy
  • Medium Alcohol (12%)
  • All of the fruit and minerality carries through to the palate
  • Fun start and quick finish

Would Pair Best With : 

  • Turkey
  • Movie Night
  • Burgers

Final Thoughts: I am very impressed with this year’s offering. I feel like the fruit and floral notes are in the forefront, which make this a fun and inviting wine. I feel like 2010 & 2011 were lacking in the ripeness. That being said I would drink this a quickly as you can, because once this fruit starts to fade there is not much to be found.

Other Links to Check Out: 
You can see my thoughts oo the 2009 offering at:

And if you want to learn more about Beaujolais as a region check out this video:

I hope you all have an easy, tasty holiday… and as always feel free to share your Beaujolais stories with me.