‘No Karens, Darrens or Debbie Downers’ - South Shields pub’s bumper response to ‘provocative’ job advert

Bosses at a South Shields pub say their job advert - which left some readers offended by its ‘provocative’ language - has “reached a wider audience” as they receive “lots” of applications for the new role.

The Sand Dancer, in Sea Road, posted the job advert for a new assistant manager who isn’t a “Karen or Darren, a wet wipe, or a Debbie downer” on their Facebook page on Tuesday (August 2).

The advert says the business is looking for someone with “no coke, crack habit or drink problem” and “definitely someone who hasn't got mould [sic] under their finger nails”.

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Following the post, the pub received some backlash, with some calling the advert “inappropriate” but Edward Hilton, business owner at the Sand Dancer, says he feels some people are ‘missing the point’.

The Sand Dancer pub on the coastline at South Shields.

He said: “We know the post was copied from elsewhere, it’s been shared hundreds of time and lots of different people have been using it. I think some people were just missing the point, they were overlooking the fun element of the advert.

"It’s been really hard since covid and we’ve found that it has affected our recruitment process because of the lack of experience, it’s like we have lost a middle section between a general staff member and manager.

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"Brexit also hasn’t helped, I think a lot of people went home following the pandemic and because of new laws, they can’t return so we’ve lost a huge demographic.”

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The Sand Dancer pub on the coastline at South Shields.

The ad also stated the dos and don’ts for an interview, which included not bringing “your friend, dog, or cat” or “a can of monster in your hand”, as well as expressing that the business does not “want applicants who just want to show universal credit that they're applying for jobs”.

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Edward added: “We’ve managed to reach a wider audience with the post from people tagging other people. We have had a large amount of email with the most job applications we’ve ever had.

"There has been a lot of negativity but we want someone who can see the fun side of hospitality but is also switched on. A lot of people have found the funny side to it and we want people to engage and get involved and that’s exactly what we’re looking for in our assistant manager.”

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The Facebook post has now received more than 400 comments and 175 shares as people share their differing opinions online.

The Sand Dancer pub on the coastline at South Shields.
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South Tyneside Councillor Ernest Gibson, who represents Whiteleas, believes the advert is “belittling”.

He said: “I just thought the advert was inappropriate and derogatory, it was making fun and people and it didn’t actually give you much information about the job.

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"Nowhere did it say the rate of pay - I’m a trade unionist so I believe in a fair wage and I know how hard it is in the hospitality industry, but it was just taking the mick out of people.

"I think the Sand Dancer is a great business but I don’t think it was the most appropriate way to advertise a job.”

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The Sand Dancer pub on the coastline at South Shields.