We’re running our first Careers Week, with talks, trainings and events happening in our sites around the world. Founder and CEO Nick Jones was the first speaker, recalling some low points that made him stronger
Did you know that Nick Jones once applied for a traineeship with the Savoy Group, but failed at interview because he was so nervous? “Nothing came out that should have come out,” he told learning & development manager Veronique Fumey as our Careers Week kicked off at 76 Dean Street.
Instead of the Savoy, the Soho House Founder worked his way up on the Trusthouse Forte graduate scheme, working in housekeeping, kitchens, as a waiter and bartender before becoming back of house manager at the Grosvenor House Hotel. After a few marketing roles he opened his first restaurant, Over the Top. “I still can’t drive past the roundabout where it used to be in Fulham,” he told the team. “It was embarrassingly bad.”
But there was an upside. “When success isn’t coming your way that is a good place to learn,” he said. “It doesn’t write you off, you’ve just got to evaluate it. At Café Boheme we did everything opposite to Over The Top, better food, better decor, got the service right.”
Véro, too, recalled some indignities from her early days, such as bumping into Prince Edward with a box of champagne at the hard hat party for Soho House (where drinks were served out of cement mixers). Nick forgave her. “Having the right temperament is the most important thing, even if you haven’t got that much experience in a particular role,” he said. “You can’t change personality, having a nice way with people.”
For those who are looking to progress, for example from the floor to a management role, there is plenty of opportunity, he added. “I’d always prefer to promote someone within the company rather than look outside.”
From LinkedIn workshops to job swaps there is a full programme of events running around the world this week, so check on Workplace to find out what’s happening near you.