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Hospitality Recruiter Round Table – Job Interview Mistakes


We recently had a very enlightening round table discussion between our restaurant recruiters. After the restaurant.org released their new facts about the restaurant industry and the influx of genZ workers into the hospitality industry,  it was important to take a look at how this impacts job interviews, and recruiters’’ expectations.

  1. What is most important, 5+ years of experience or a university education?

This is one industry where practical trumps academic. Experience is vital, but the ‘golden triangle’ is experience, certification and continuing education, and developing people skills.

“5+ years of experience”

“In our industry – 5+ years of experience”


“Experience. Education is obviously very important and beneficial, however real-world experience and how to adapt to situations that might not be presented in an educational situation is helpful. Also, more companies looking for Chefs want someone with experience.”

“Experience. “

  1. What job hunting and job interview mistakes do management candidates make when:
    1. approaching a recruiter:

“Poor communication/Lack of passion for industry”

“continue to search on their own”

“not taking it seriously/answering at scheduled time”

“Not being honest about their experience (i.e. fudging dates on resume, leaving off jobs) & Being arrogant and short with answers like a phone interview is beneath them”

“Presenting an incomplete Resume ; Using foul or offensive language, (yes, that’s happened)”

  1. at the job interview:

“No questions at the end of the interview/Punctuality”

“energy level low”

“not preparing/being able to articulate strengths with specific examples”

“Asking for much more money than what they are either currently making or what I was told before sending them in & Not being prepared (knowing about the company, dressing professionally, etc.)”

“speak negatively about past employers; inappropriate attire or sloppy appearance; asking immediately about the hours or salary.”

  1. in the follow up:

“No follow up letter/Poor communication”

“do not e-mail the interviewer a thank you note”

“timeliness of response to email or calls/not being proactive in their own follow up”

“Ghosting the client or Recruiter & Sense of urgency to find a new job disappears”

“feeling or presenting themselves as if they are “hired” instead of sending a “thank you for the interview” email, and opening the lines of communication for the client.”

Take Away

If I can give potential restaurant management candidates a piece of advice it would be to learn what the term ‘career capital’ meant, and to view yourself as a marketable commodity. Do not worry about what you want out of your job – yet. Put your focus on what a restaurant needs to remain viable in the growing, competitive, environment.

Join the restaurant and restaurant manager associations. Learn everything you can. Separate what you think you need to know, and what restaurant owners want you to know. Do not waste your time doing what everyone else is doing. Use your time wisely.

Most important, don’t try to be a jack of all trades. Do not try to please everyone. Instead, stick to the things you are passionate about. Your likes and dislikes, the things you enjoy doing, and what you find easy will help you plan your career path.



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