40 Personal Job Interview Questions for Managers

October 20th, 2014

Even managers with experience can be caught off guard by some of today’s Hiring Managers or company reps. The manager’s ability to handle these questions in a professional and calm manner can mean the difference between landing a dream job and hitting a ceiling in your career.

It is not the Hospitality Recruitment professional’s job to prep their clients for job interviews. Management Candidates need to come to the job seek process ready to enter the job seeking process.  If not, then a recruiter cannot help them.

Career coaches can help but they are expensive. One way to pass the interview is to have a quick list of interview questions and develop a list of answers you can rehearse before the interview.

Personal Questions:

1.      Tell me about yourself?

2.      Why do you want to work for us?

3.      What are your long term goals?

4.      Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

5.      Why should we hire you?

6.      What do you look for in a job?

7.      How long will you stay with us?

8.      Your resume suggests that you are over-qualified/experienced for this position. What do you think?

9.      Are you a good Manager?

10.  Can you provide some examples?

11.  What do you find most rewarding?

12.  What is your biggest accomplishment/failure?

13.  What experience do you have?

14.  How do you evaluate success?

15.  Why are you leaving/did you leave your job?

16.  What are your future goals?

17.  _________________ what are you doing about it?

18.  What happened?

19.  How did you ensure the desired outcome?

20.  How do you know it happened?

21.  What lessons did you take away from the situation?

22.  How do you describe yourself as a manager?

23.  How would others describe you?

24.  Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?

25.  Give some examples of teamwork?

26.  How would you handle a disgruntled employee?

27.  What do you do to relax outside of the workplace?

28.  If you know your boss is wrong, how would you handle it?

29.  How has your management philosophy evolved?

30.  What is the #1 reason most people fail at management?

31.  Why have you been unemployed for ____ months?

32.  Are you easy to talk to?

33.  How do you handle stress/pressure?

34.  What motivates you?

35.  What are your greatest weaknesses/strengths?

36.  What has been the greatest disappointment in your life?

37.  What are you passionate about?

38.  What do people criticize about your?

39.  When was the last time you were angry?

40.  What would you change if you could re-live your life?

We will discuss questions designed to offer the interviewer clarity on career development and behavior in our blog over the next few weeks. To win a job as a manager, and keep it, requires long term commitment to your future.  You are the product. It cannot be allowed to become out of date or out of style. You need to prepare for your next job placement even if you believe you will hold your current position for several years.

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When the Job Interview Goes Wrong

October 14th, 2014

You’ve had a good interview. There has been plenty of time to talk about your past successes and your management strategies. You’ve been given the opportunity to tell a couple anecdotes and the interviewer has done a lot of head nodding and asking questions.

But your gut tells you that something is wrong.  If this happens too often, then work with a recruiting agency who can match you with the right job postings.

There are a lot of articles in the www.geckohospitality.com blog that talk about job interviews where you make mistakes and how to correct them. This blog will discuss what to do when you did everything right, but the interviewer is not responding the way they should.

You may have done something wrong. The interviewer may be tired. It may be 3:30 on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend.

1. Don’t own the problem this will make you defensive and instead of turning things around you are just digging a deeper hole.

The Interviewer is Not Interested

The interviewer is laid back. They are actively engaged. They are actively listening. They are very professional. They are not looking at their watch, but their smile lacks sincerity, their questions are hollow. They pause, and there is a lack of excitement.

The interviewer may need to ‘think’ over the next question, and after a long pause they ask vague questions. They may even ask silly questions to confirm that their judgement of you is not wrong.

2. Don’t take the bait. This is not the time to jump in with both feet and try to prove that you are the right candidate for the job.

Did you take the time to establish a relationship when entering the room? If not, just sit back. You don’t have the job at this point so there is nothing to lose. Think of the interview as a conversation.  Forget the well-rehearsed list of interview questions and answers. It is time to take control.

3. Look at the interviewer as if they are a real live person, not just a stepping stone to your next job.

Sometimes personalities clash. Maybe this interviewer is looking for a leader and not a manager. There may be nothing you can do to land this job, so use it as a learning experience.  Ask the questions you want answered. By this point the interviewer has picked up that you’ve caught on. So don’t ask another question about the company.

Instead try being honest, “I really want this type of job. What are the most important qualifications needed?” Is this job about behaviors and personality or success and education? What are the top three things you are looking for in a candidate?

The interviewer may brush you off and say goodbye. They may answer your questions. They may even smile guiltily that you figured them out. Your only option at this point is to leave on the best possible terms, just in case you are sitting in front of this hiring manager in the future.

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Self-Management | Five Principles for Successful Job Hunting

October 6th, 2014

Restaurant management candidates need to understand what hiring managers are looking for before they can successfully present their skills at the job interview.

All Qualified Mangers have the same foundational skill set:

1.      Understand personality and motivational types
Continually developing leadership skills
3.      Constantly improving communication skills
4.      Ever evolving problem solving skills
5.      On top of the latest conflict management skills

Candidates do themselves a disservice if they apply for jobs without first learning to manage their own behaviors, and use life coaching principles on themselves. 

If you can’t manage your behaviors and motivate yourself, then how can you manage others?

There are several benefits to self-management. The first is the control it gives over your own performance. You will achieve more goals. Your level of success will increase. Goals will be met and exceeded. Eventually the time needed to reach goals decreases.

Your interpersonal skills will improve. You will become the solution, not the problem, in most conflicts. Your intelligence and strategies will control situations, not your wants, needs, and emotions. You will respond to crisis, not react to chaos.

Career Self-Management

A Candidate’s self-management also reveals their position on the learning curve. A management candidate will not need to waste five minutes listing all the coaching and motivational courses they’ve taken. All they need to do is display ‘active listening’ and make sure their answers reveal their inner growth.

A person who has moved through the five stages of inner growth doesn’t need to tell the interviewer that they’ve learned time management skills. Instead, they can show that they reduced the time needed to solve conflict by 10% in their last workplace, or they eliminated some problems that plagued their last restaurant.

A Candidate who has learned self-management doesn’t see themselves as a person who is trying to win a job over other candidates. They see themselves as a ‘bundle of resources and skills’ that are needed, somewhere.  They outgrow focusing on what they do, and start focusing on what they accomplish.

You are no longer a ‘restaurant manager.’ Instead you are an asset at that restaurant who can manage yourself and take control over your own performance, but the performance of others. There is purpose to each task. There is an outcome beyond getting to the end of the day.

The Job Interview

It is worthwhile to invest in self-management even before looking for a new job. This is a skill set that can be taught very quickly but needs time and experience to develop.  When it is developed you don’t need to type it in bold on your resume. It will come through in what you talk about, and how you talk about it.

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What Is The Purpose of a Job Interview?

September 29th, 2014

Filling a restaurant management job is one of the most difficult of any hospitality jobs. The restaurant manager is the one who takes the owner’s goals and turns them into reality. The restaurant manager is the one who deals with staff, customers, and late shipments or incomplete orders. They can make or break a restaurant.

This is why the job interview is so important. But many management candidates go into job interviews without understanding the purpose. They leave feeling they had the best presentation of their lives, but lost the job. They didn’t lose it because they were unqualified, but because they didn’t realize why the job interviewer was asking specific questions. They missed the nuances and didn’t read between the lines.  This left the interviewer with a wrong perception, and cost the candidate their job.

Is The Management Candidate Lying?

Hiring managers have a lot of experience wading through charisma and resume stuffing. They know you want the job. Don’t waste your time telling them you want to work for the company. You wouldn’t be there if you didn’t want the job. Pay attention to what the interviewer wants to know.

When you are asked questions do not be vague. Use details, times, places, and people’s names. A lie is often shrouded in a lot of talk that says nothing, and is vague.  In fact, if you can produce a report that you wrote highlighting your project and its success, complete with contact information of your superior, then you have totally diffused the situation.

Is the Management Candidate Masking?

Masking is a behavior created to hide our weaknesses. Liars and alcoholics turned masking into an art form. It is the interviewer’s job to see if the behavior’s outlined in the resume match those you express in person.

This is where mirroring and playing sales games can work against you. What you may see as a good sales technique the interviewer may see as a masking technique to divert attention away from you and hide your true behaviors by mimicking someone else’s.

Answering a question with a question can also be a form of masking. You are trying to divert attention away from yourself by giving the interviewer the chance to be the center of attention.

What is the Interviewer listening to?

If the interviewer is paying most attention to you when you are bragging about how honest you are, then it is a giveaway that they do not believe you. The internet is full of articles telling job interviewers how to test the Candidate. The Candidate should use the same body language cues, swallowing, and diverting eye signals to gauge the interviewer’s true thoughts and feelings.

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Mindfulness Management – Using Latest Practices to Land a Management Job

September 22nd, 2014

The business world creates new problem solving theories every year. Management training and practice evolves yearly. This can make it difficult for manager to keep up. If you’ve been in a management position for a long time and are just returning to the work place you may find the new interview questions and practices daunting.

Instead of listing your accomplishments and work history, employers want to know if you are “up to date” on your people management skills. In short, they want to know if you are going to be a problem, or if you are binging solutions to the team.

As coaching evolves in the work place so does the level of behavior management skills a manager needs. One new trend is to separate the problems and the behaviors. No one is a problem, instead, managers are encouraged to listen and find out why the problem person is behaving in the manner they are.

This is called mind management, and it can solve a lot of problems. One thing that managers are learning from coaches is that listening can divert social and personal problems before they start. Most problems are diffused by making people feel that they are important enough to listen to.

How to Use This to Land a Management Job

Hospitality job candidates have more pressure to adopt these new practices. In the resume they want to show the recruiter that they have been keeping up. But what is more important is showing that you’ve mastered the skills needed.

This is one reason for the unique and often absurd interview questions. The interviewer is providing an opportunity to show off your management skills.

Mind management is little more than negotiating. Once the basics are learned then a manager possesses enough skills to manage the average team. Showing this to an HR manger can be more difficult.

How To Show You’ve Mastered This Skill

You can say nothing that will impress the recruiter as strongly as your body language. Show your skills.

  • Stay calm
  • Keep eye contact
  • Smile
  • Relax
  • Do not fidget
  • Do not mirror and patronize the recruiter
  • Breath steady
  • Do not be in a rush to answer every question
  • Breath deep
  • Do not let your eyes dart to the left or right
  • Do not let the interviewer goad you in to reacting to the situation
  • Turn the conversation around and ask the interviewer questions that are pertinent to the job
  • Respect the interviewer’s time and focus on giving a strong, revealing, answer. No one wants the smart, humorous answer. In fact, this can be interpreted as stress and fear
  • Let things develop on their own. Use patience. Don’t try to push the interview
  • Do not be afraid of sitting quietly for a moment. Just make sure you take advantage of active listening. You don’t want the interviewer to believe that you’ve lost your train of thought.

These are only a few ways that you can show that you’ve learned to control your mind, the first step needed to convince them that you can use mind management to control any situation.

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Career Development: I’m Not Landing a Job

September 22nd, 2014

One of the most difficult aspects of the job interview is trying to be everything for everyone. Trying to land a hospitality job, especially a restaurant management job, can be difficult. It is more difficult when you are trying to be something you are not. This can actually cost you a job.

Landing a job is like winning a race. It takes hard work, lots of pain, and the willingness to push yourself harder than anyone else.

You the Person - You the Manager

Not every manager needs to be a team player, a good strategist, a visionary. If you are not, don’t pretend to be. If you would rather sit in front of a computer instead of engage in small talk then say so. Honesty is the best way to land your dream job.

There are management jobs for introverts. There are management jobs for people who are good with numbers. The first step is to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have a list of these, put the list away. In one month write it again. Then put it away. In one month write it again then bring out all copies. You’ll be surprised how the list changes as you become more aware.

  • Once you have your list of strengths, make a list of what you want in your perfect job. Then ask yourself what you want.
  • Do you want a simpler lifestyle?
  • Do you want a slower pace at work?
  • Do you like repetition?
  • Are you a number cruncher?
  • What are you willing to give up and what are your nonnegotiable items?

Once you have settled on a goal then stop passively pursuing it. Look for a recruitment firm. Take your career seriously.

Robert Krzak, head of one of the top Hospitality job recruitment firms in the United States, http://www.geckohospitality.com,  talks about the number of candidates who visit the website but are not committed enough to fill out a form and apply for a job.

The fastest way to fail is by trying to embark on a passive job hunt. Many people are satisfied with the project of looking for a new job, but they never actually try to get a job. In many cases this is a life coaching issue. They have misguided beliefs and fears that prevent them from applying. The belief is that if you don’t try then you won’t need to deal with rejection.


The second place that many people sabotage their career goals is by being too inflexible in their negotiations.  It is important to negotiate for a job that fits your needs, but going for more than you need, can cost you the job.

When negotiating avoid being bitter or resentful. Any negative feelings can turn off a prospective employer. Even if you left your job due to a stressful or unfulfilling work environment it is always best to look forward.

Remember to do your homework before going to a job interview. Negotiation isn’t the place to decide that you need a few days to research the establishment.  Being unprepared can cost you the job.


Are you serious about finding a job? Even someone who is unemployed may not be serious about their next job. Of course they want to pay the bills, but that is not always enough to motivate them into aggressively searching for another job.

If you are one of the job hunters who are passively waiting for a job to come along then take action. Contact a recruiting firm that focuses on your niche. Then, read a few coaching books. When an athlete wants to win they train hard. Those who are most prepared and ready to win, stand in the winner’s circle.

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10 Things that Will Make You A Better Manager

September 15th, 2014

The internet is full of generic, general, articles that tell you the ‘catch phrases, which are promised to make you a good manager. Unfortunately, you can read these articles for weeks and all you will learn is what you need to learn. You will not learn how to make the transition from your current job position to the management position you dream of holding.

So what are the 10 REAL things you need to become a good manager

1. Coaching

Learn the art of coaching. As you study under a reputable school, supported by the International Coaching Federation ICF, you will learn how to use the skills needed to motivate people. In fact, you’ll learn the skills needed to help your team members grow into emotionally healthy, satisfied – and loyal – employees.

2. Read

One of the most frustrating parts of the job hunting process is learning in hind sight. There are management terms and theories that you may have, but you’ve never learned how to articulate them. You walk out of interviews knowing that you missed something. You were one question away from landing the job. But you just can’t put your finger on the problem.

3. Self Analysis

One of the best ways to analyze other people is to learn how to analyze yourself. Once you learn how to change negative behaviors, and improve your performance then you’ll be able to motivate others and build a stronger team.

4. Look Outward

Most people are self centered, by nature. When everyone is focused on their own desires and needs, the team suffers. A good manager learns how to create a team, and keep focused on every member.

5. Communication

The better you communicate the more authority you have. There are online courses that teach grammar and communication skills. Practice, until you find you are talking in complete sentences and using the lingo a manager would use in the hospitality industry.

6. Manage Money Like a Millionaire

The rich people learn how to manage money differently than we do. It is a tangible building tool that is needed to make things happen. It isn’t a pile of ‘chips’ that are meant to be spent. Once you read a bunch of financial books, learn budgeting and put it into practice, and study wealth building, then you will be ready to manage a restaurant. The benefits will create a domino effect that will impact every level of the restaurant.

7. Develop your ethics and beliefs

A manager’s ethics are put to the test every day. If you do not live by your ethics, you will be found out in the job interview and loose the opportunity for landing your dream job.

Your beliefs determine what you expect from yourself, your colleagues, and what you tolerate. Weak beliefs can be the only thing holding you back from your dream job.

8. Goal Setting

If you cannot set goals and learn the art of project management then projects will be started but not finished. Money and time will be wasted and lost. This skill includes strategic thinking, problem solving, self leadership, and time management. It can be a daunting skill to learn, but when handled one day at a time it becomes part of your behaviors.

9. Take Action

There are people who talk and plan. There are people who do. The trick is learning where to focus your energy and what to delegate.

10. Network

If you want to be successful you need to associate with successful people. Don’t start networking with the belief that it is about selling yourself. Instead, look at how you can help. Involvement is one of the best ways to learn.

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Bounce Back From a Poor Performance

September 15th, 2014

An unsatisfactory review doesn’t need to be a career killer. Recovery is possible if you are willing to fight for your career. First, restaurant management candidates must be careful not to appear to pass the buck when in a job interview. You don’t know what the references will say about your last job position, especially if they let you go for unsatisfactory performance. The best offense is to come clean, be honest, and highlight what you’ve learned, not where you failed.

Evaluate What Went Wrong

It is human nature to blame someone else. The hospitality industry is a difficult place to reach goals as the best plans can be ruined by one or two disgruntled employees on the floor. We’ve all heard stories where situations out of our control destroyed a manager’s moment of glory. A shipment didn’t arrive, the flu went through the staff, a freezer broke, or a snow storm, any or all of these can conspire to ruin what should be a successful event.

Managers continually work hard, long hours, only to watch their efforts produce little or no results. The cause can be priorities or lack of communication, or the staff were unable to perform to the level needed.


When coming back from a poor performance it is necessary to work on relationships first. You need to stop people from creating their own perception of what happened. Leverage what you have. Play up at what you do. Work harder. Promote better.

Make sure you didn’t become complacent. Just because you can slack at your current job doesn’t mean you should. Start putting things on paper. Keep reports and measure success. It could be that the boss didn’t see a drop in turnover by 25% in the last year, or time wasted handling conflict resolution dropped 80%. Look for everything, even a reduction in waste in the kitchen needs to become a part of your focus.

The one thing about reports is their ability to travel farther than intended, even when blocked by a superior who doesn’t like you.

Turn It Around? Or, Move On?

You might be in the wrong job. The workplace dynamics may have changed. Maybe the current employer doesn’t need, or value, your skill set. In these cases it is a waste of time working harder. You may never receive the affirmation you are looking for. You may be ready for a change.

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Developing a Personal Brand That Will Land You a Hospitality Job

September 9th, 2014

One trendy buzz that is not going away is the ‘personal brand’.  It is becoming one of the most powerful sales tools, and one of the most misunderstood elements of job hunting. The hospitality job market is one of the biggest trends at the beginning of 2014. The competition is aggressive, but unfortunately most people don’t understand what the job demands.

One of the hardest parts of a recruiter’s job is understanding what a restaurant manager’s job description is. Those Candidates who feel educated enough to land a job as a restaurant manager are under experienced and lack the personal skills. Those potential candidates who do have the skills do not feel they have the education needed to be taken seriously.

One of the hardest parts of a job seeker’s search for a new job is learning how to present your education and skills in the best light, to become what the recruiter is looking for.

The hospitality recruiters is looking for confidence, charisma, and the personality to thrive in stressful situations. The Candidates organizational skills and communication style needs to shine through. Personal branding is the best way to show hospitality recruiters that you have everything they need to manage a restaurant.

Step #1: Define Your Brand

The first thing you need to understand is how to define a personal brand.

Step #2: Keep it Professional

Make sure that your personal life doesn’t bleed over into your professional life. The biggest mistake is getting your ‘Friday friends’ to join your professional Facebook. A good recruiter will check out your associates and friends to get a ‘real’ look at who you are, and whether you are a good risk.

Step #3: Content and Context

Everything you write will be under scrutiny. Your spelling and grammar will reflect your communication style.  Your writing, and lack of writing, will reveal your passions, dedication, skills, and experience.

Step #4: High Performers Attract High Performers

Take a hard look at your friend’s list. Do they represent your personal brand?

Step #5: Social Networking Mistakes

What types of pictures are on your Facebook? If it is full of selfies and chatter about your next vacation, or does it talk about your courses, volunteer work, etc?  Are you following industry friends or are you following the local baseball team? 

When a recruiter looks at your profile they will measure your resume and interview performance by the people you associate with present and past. 

One thing they will look for is whether your past associates, employers, and managers are on your LinkedIn and facebook pages. Do you communicate with them?

More important, is your Facebook a place where you promote yourself and ‘take’ or is it a place where you communicate and form relationships.

Step #6: Confidence

Confidence is something that can only be mimicked for a short time. The unfortunate thing, if you don’t have confidence then you will quickly reveal that fact. You may not even realize the mistakes you are making. This is why many professionals engage a life coach or performance coach to help them create behaviors and confidence that can endure the strictest scrutiny from a recruiter or hiring manager

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Is Your Competitor Stealing Your Business with Stellar Marketing? What You Can Do To Step Up Your Game

September 8th, 2014

Every hospitality business has a limited amount of time and energy to invest in moving the business forward.  When a competitor’s investment in marketing pays off, you may find your business suddenly being outpaced by the other venue’s stellar marketing – and you may see customers wandering in the direction of your competitors as a result.


What should you do when a competitors’ outstanding marketing strategy starts stealing your business?  Consider stepping up your game by applying the following tips:


Analyze your competitor’s marketing campaign.


The first step in figuring out how your competitors are calling your customers away is to find out what their marketing techniques are.  But merely identifying the methods and copying them isn’t enough.  Just like in a game of chess, if you start one move behind your competitor, you will stay one move behind as long as you only copy their moves.


Instead of copying your competitors’ moves exactly, analyze why your competitors are using these marketing strategies and why customers respond to them so strongly.  When you know the “why” and “how” of your competitors’ choices, you can address those same issues – but better.


Engage with social media.


Social media offers myriad marketing benefits: it establishes your presence on well-developed channels, it gives you a flexible communication platform, and it allows you to hear from your customers as well as to speak to them.  When marketing efforts lag, leverage the communication aspect of social media.  Find out what your customers are looking for, work their recommendations into your marketing campaign, and make it publicly known that your efforts are for your customers’ benefit.


Call your recruiter.


The connection between your staffing and your marketing isn’t always intuitive.  But great people can improve your business in myriad ways.  Good managers and staff put a positive “face” on your business, adding an element of humanity and individuality that will draw customers back time and time again.  Talk to your staffing partner about your company’s short-and long-term strategic staffing goals.


At Gecko Hospitality, our experienced hospitality recruiters strive to match our clients with top candidates who know the industry and do their jobs well.  Contact us today to learn more!

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Three Leadership Behaviors of Successful Restaurant Managers

September 2nd, 2014

These are three behaviors that every restaurant manager should demonstrate in the job interview. It is important to focus on social and cultural aspects of restaurant management which have a significant impact on the staff’s success including negotiation, problem solving and politics.

However, while the leadership framework can be taught in any Bachelor of Science or professional development courses, leadership behaviors need to be learned and demonstrated if you want to land a hospitality job.

Results Driven Management

Effective restaurant managers take responsibility for results. They learn to demand the truth from their teams, and build performance on meeting the needs of the team. This minimizes problems and reveals issues which could sabotage the restaurant’s long term plans.

A good manager may be willing to take the data management job, leaving some leadership positions open to team members who will thrive and support others. 

The reality of the day to day management of any hospitality job makes organization difficult. It can be stressful and frustrating, and the administrative challenges can detract from the long term projects. Focusing on the end goals are easier said than done. This is why it is so important to highlight your successes in the resume and job interview.

Demand Integrity

One of the first things managers need to eliminate is toxic communication. Is there an employee hand book? Can you volunteer to write one for the restaurant, and encourage management to incorporate it into the organizational behavior? Successful execution can catch the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager.

Honesty is the best way to find out what the real issues are, and what the real risks are affecting a project. Don’t fall into the trap of having a stooge. Incorporate a program that gives everyone the opportunity to have someone listen.

One way to show this is to avoid corporate rhetoric and political spin. Don’t speak down to the team, and they will give you ‘successes’ that will make your resume stand out from the others.

Demonstrate Courage

Confidence and courage can help you explain to a job interviewer why a project failed.  The ability to handle failure and turn it into something good is a valuable skill for a manager. In some organizational cultures the tendency is to avoid reporting bad news. The person reporting the news may have to face consequences instead of affirmation and reward. Managers who present a positive and team focused approach to improving results, and can handle the situation with courage not emotional outbursts, have an advantage. They are able to broach situations and be listened to in a constructive way, instead of with fear or disrespect. They also learn of risk long before it is too late.

Being able to show these skills in a resume and job interview is one way to make your resume stand above the crowds.

It is difficult to categorize all leadership skills and behaviors needed to land a restaurant management job. A commitment to customer satisfaction, continuous improvement, stress management, and focus on quality are only good if the manager is able to present them effectively in their resume.

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Taking Control of the Job Interview Process

September 1st, 2014

Many people feel that a job interview is a passive inquisition where they must cater to the interviewer’s whim. If the Candidate is successful then they will be rewarded with a job. This is not true, especially in the millennium generations.

An interview is a game of chess, you can either be slowly eradicated, or take control of the interview.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of possible interview questions for job candidates to ask hiring managers, but they are questions that demonstrate to the employer that the job seeker is confident, prepared, and interested in the organization.

Asking questions requires a little finesse. Approaching the questioning using coaching methods of asking and incorporating listening techniques will not only help open doors to discuss how to fit into the company, but it offers an opportunity to show off your management and people skills.

Some Career coaches suggest waiting until the interviewer asks, ‘do you have any questions for us?  The job interview is a two way street. Whatever direction the question goes, the Candidate needs to have their research done if they want to maintain any ‘active roll’ in the recruitment process.

Make sure when you are asking questions you include the follow ups:

·         "Can you clarify what you said about...?"

·         "Can you give me some examples of...?"

Questions you can ask:

1.      How would you characterize this organization?

2.      What are the challenges I will face in this job position?

3.      What do you expect me to accomplish in the first six to 12 months?

4.      What skills and achievements would make me a success at this job?

5.      How does this company measure success?

6.      What are three key things that really drive results for the company?

7.      How does this position contribute to the company’s goals, productivity, or profits?

8.      How do you describe the company’s culture?

9.      What do you think are the most difficult aspects of the job I’m interviewing for?

10.  Based on the interview, do you have any concerns about my ability to perform the job that would prevent you from selecting me?

11.  What is the next step in the process?

12.  When do you think you will be making a decision?


The Unspoken Interview Questions


There are things that the interviewer will see that they may want clarity for, but cannot ask for. These may include access to your social networking accounts, to know how many kids you have, how old they are, to know why you are wearing a cross, or whether you’re limp is permanent. Take a good look at yourself before going to a job interview. The interviewer will see anything in your dress or behavior as sending an intentional message.

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Key Leadership Competencies for Restaurant Managers

August 25th, 2014

The competition for hospitality jobs reflects the aggressively competitive nature of the restaurant industry. The performance of the restaurant manager can make or break a financial enterprise.  This is why it is crucial for HR managers to accurately identify the key leadership competencies.  Managers who have not landed their dream restaurant management job may want to refocus their resume.

Listing experience and education doesn’t tell hospitality recruiters whether you have gone past the core competencies and have learned to implement them in a work environment.

The resumes that stand out are those that reveal highly developed leadership skills and behaviors, which support high performance levels achieved in the resume.  Some restaurants can demand up to 100 leadership skills, but most of these surround a few specific behavior skills.

Communication in Leadership Competencies

A manager is only as good as their ability to communicate. Sometimes taking communication courses can advance a career far more than working on more Business development courses. Communicating effectively is a critical component in developing leadership skills in others. This is important to building and maintaining relationships. Neither can be accomplished when a leader is unable to ‘say what they mean and mean what they say.’

Negotiating is impossible without the ability to communicate. This is most obvious when the staff has been motivated to dedicate themselves to a project, only to have management pull the rug and go in another direction leaving the manager to rally the staff around another project.

Setting Goals

Goals are not the end result of good management. They are the tool used to bring the team together. Vision and direction needs to be visible before it can be implemented. When highlighting goals in your resume do not focus on the end result, without making sure to focus on the way it impacted the relationships and improved the team performance.


Does your resume show a team leader, or the boss.  A true team leader develops others in their team and works constantly to improve their team’s competency levels. The resume is a great place to show passion for the team.

Teamwork is also defined by following through on commitments, listening skills, and consulting with team members. Mistakes are not benchmarks or failures, they are learning tools. The team members are empowered.


A good manager will use mistakes and experiences, as well as their team’s skill sets and behaviors to adapt and change in a fluctuating business environment. This adaptation allows for fluctuation. It offers opportunity to show many different programs and situations that support skill development and team leadership when writing a resume.

Leadership Self Awareness

An effective manager needs to learn the ability to look inward. Their team will not follow one set of rules unless management expresses them. The manager needs to make sure that their resume shows personal development, self-coaching, and a desire to improve their performance.

Make sure that your resume doesn’t show a lot of courses and conferences in a short term time span. Don’t make your resume look like you just started improving your skill set when you realized you’d need a new job soon.

Take time to develop your skills where you are. Make sure you have developed some successes before moving on. Also, make sure you continue the trend when moving to your next job placement. There is nothing more detrimental than showing three or four job moves in a ten year period, with a rush of courses and coaching before every job change.

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Are You a Manager or a Leader?

August 18th, 2014

A promotion doesn’t make a manger. A manager is not necessarily a leader.  Some people struggle to lead their teams while others simply lead effortlessly. This is because the qualities of a manger differ from those of a leader.

Restaurant managers need to avoid the temptation to make themselves appear to be a leader. It is possible to delegate leadership to team members. The problem with a leader is the fact that they often have their own agendas.  This is not a quality that many restaurants need in their managers.

A manager is perceived as the one who dictates what people need to do and what needs to be accomplished. A leader would be more focused on influencing people through the things they say and do.

Motivating People to Work

Both managers and leaders can motivate people to work. They just accomplish their goals in different ways.  There are two ways to motivate. One is through reward and cohesion. The second is through coaching. 

The typical manager is well organized and responsible. They have a job to do and it is done to the best of their abilities. They assume the rest of the team should meet the same standards. When team members fail they are appropriately disciplined. This may be in the form of a poor review, lack of advancement, or dismissal.

The leader prefers to teach people to be accountable. They can be perceived as more social. While they appear to be your best friend, don’t be fooled. Their primary goal is still self-serving, they only see you as a tool to reach their goals. If your career develops and your skill set improves then they see this as a tool they can use to advance their agenda.


The manager will prefer to complete tasks themselves. They oversee everything. The manager is more likely to create charts and benchmarks. Everything is measured, even people. Everything and everyone has a value.

The leader delegates jobs. If they train their team and invest in coaching it is only so each person can take on more responsibility. Goal reaching is a communal effort. Everything and everyone has a purpose. The only way to fail is to ‘not get with the program’ and not support the team.

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Define Leadership Before Writing Your Resume

August 11th, 2014

Even managers who have completed business studies and have solid experience can fail to clearly define their personal ideas of a leader. Restaurant Managers may not land the right job with their resume, if their definition of leadership is not clearly defined they may find themselves moving from one unfulfilling job to the next.

Not every manager is right for every restaurant. Not every restaurant is looking for the same type of manager. No matter what the ‘perfect’ manager may look like on paper, investors, owners, and general managers have their own ideas and desires. They may not be best for the business, but they will influence the type of Candidates hired to fill the jobs.

This is why it is vital that a resume be designed to be an honest representation of what the Candidate wants in their next management job, not what they believe the hiring manager is looking for.

With the countless theoretical explanations of leadership, Candidates can simply search the internet for a meaning. But this is not in the Candidate’s best interest. The first step is to determine who you want to buy your skill set. Once you understand this you are ready to write your resume.

The Investor’s Choice in a Management Candidate

The investor is looking for a manager who can produce measurable results. They are looking for successes that can be measured on the quarterly report, and reflected on the profit and loss statements. The main objective is to ensure positive growth regardless of the working conditions. A productive company is based on quantity and quality if they expect to receive further funding and return from their investments.

Their definition of leadership is directed towards a person’s ability to ensure the happiness of consumers and increased profits.

The Owner’s Choice of a Management Candidate

This restaurant manager will be a self-starter who can work independently. They want a manager who won’t cause problems that forces the manager to come in on weekends. They are also looking for someone who can implement projects, without highlighting the flaws and potential negative consequences of the project.

Their only concern about teamwork is whether people are going to complain to them. They may be the ones to focus on education without realizing the need for experience as a manager and personal skills. Their organizational behavior may be limited to ‘I’m the Boss. I sign your paycheck. I get my own way.’

The Franchise Choice of Management Candidate

The hiring manger in a franchise is looking for a flexible team player who has charisma and can manage an ever changing work force. They may not be interested in a manager who can implement long term goals as much as they are looking for someone who can ‘get on board’ with the company’s idea of leadership.

Personal Definition of Leadership

Leadership skills cannot be developed overnight. There are countless skills that build on each other, and each one creates a slightly different management style. There is no such thing as a ‘born leader’. They are someone who has learned the importance of leadership skills and have used them to make decisive and assertive decisions.They are able to take life experiences and use them as negotiation and management tools.

Without understanding the objective of the leader, it is impossible to know how a leader works. It is the Candidate’s job to express this in their management resume.

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Over 40 Job Hunt: Convince HR Your Career Didn’t Plateau

August 5th, 2014

There comes a time in most professionals’ career when their ambition wanes and their focus switches from goals and achievements to reducing stress. One big mistake many restaurant management candidates can make when writing their resume is giving the impression that their career has hit a plateau.  This can be an unintentional mistake caused by focusing on too many self-coaching and team building aspects without keeping the ‘end game’ in clear view.

Constant upward mobility is hard to sustain and may lead to burnout. Your priorities may have changed as you want to spend time with family or on vacation. When this happens you are not the first one to jump for more responsibility and the big project may seem more of a burden than a challenged.

Hitting a plateau doesn’t mean that you are not driven to do a good job, or that you cannot handle the work load. It just means you’ve reached a level in your life when you choose which fork in the road to travel, continue to aggressively advance your career or take it a little easier.

Stepping off the fast track can be a career killer. This is why it is important that you highlight your skills and what you are good at.

Career Specialties

After 30 most careers have reached a point where the manager knows what they are good at. Turning down a job may be nothing more than a choice to stay where you know you are the best person for the job. Conveying this to your bosses, or a hiring manager can be a whole different story.

What to Do

When writing your resume make sure you focus on successes. Create a visual that lets bosses and recruiters’ see that you’ve found a niche where you can thrive, not a quiet hole where you want to wait out the rest of your career.

Don’t focus too much on the past. This may give the impression that you’ve given all you can. Don’t focus too much on successes ten years ago. Instead, focus on the future. When you leave a job make sure you leave unfinished projects and ideas for the next person to take up. These shouldn’t be major, like a rewrite of the employee hand book.  But having a few reports, studies, and some employee motivational strategies in place makes it look like you were still actively working to improve the workplace and management.

Voluntary Plateau

If you have made a conscious decision to plateau then you need to sell your current skill set – hard. Make sure you have some major victories that other employers will be interested in.

Focus on the prime two, “I can make you money,” and “I can solve your problems.”

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Organizational Skills Needed By Restaurant Managers

July 28th, 2014

Organizational behavior skills are a combination of psychology, sociology, and political science that help restaurant managers manage employee conflict.  The organizational behavior approach to managing was designed in the business culture. The proper application requires building a positive work attitude and productive behaviors to avoid conflicts before they start.

Recruiters and hiring managers look for the golden trio of psychology, sociology, and political science as an indicator of management skill and ability.  Upcoming managers often overlook the importance of these three skills. Even if you are unable to take an organizational behavior course, you can study these subjects independently.

The importance of this skill set is in the way it develops a manager’s interpersonal skills.  

This gives managers a pro-active approach to how they interact and behave in the workplace. This can be seen in job interviews and even on a resume. The manager becomes more aware of employee needs and motivations and less concerned with controlling and diffusing situation.

This social science explores how employees work as individuals, and within a group environment.  It gives managers the tools needed to develop management strategies that can boost effectiveness and efficiency, altering their strategy as the group dynamics evolve.


Managers learn how to analyse influences, viewing each individual as part of a whole. What makes employees tick and how do their perceptions affect the workplace attitude.  A good manager is able to find the best in every team member, separating good and bad behavior from the person, and using this as a team development tool.

Goal Setting

Once a manager is able to understand what their team wants, they can set goals and reward performance. The team dynamics determine roles. Once the manager has a snapshot of how the organization’s personalities work they can work to develop organizational culture and lessen any imbalance in perceived roles and dominance issues.

The Restaurant Manager’s Resume

Take a hard look at your resume. Forget where you worked last and your list of accomplishments. Look at your resume from a recruiter’s point of view. Does it show any successfully executed organizational behavior strategies in play? When you enter the job interview can you answer the ‘greatest accomplishments’ section with your successes in interpersonal skills and organizational behavior strategies?

If you have not started a job search then take a look at your present environment. There is always a way you can create an executable strategy, even if you are not in a current management positions.  Your plan may not be official but there should be measurable results. When the hiring manager asks your former manager for a reference, you can twist the conversation to feed the recruiter questions. Did the level of conflict decrease, did the motivation and performance improve. 

Customer Focused Management

One of the most powerful organizational behavior tools is the ability to get your team to consider the customer as part of the organization. When the team includes the customer, instead of seeing them as an end product, the manager has removed some of the distance that desensitizes restaurant staff.

Empowering the staff to use the organizational behavior tools on customers is one way to get noticed, if you can find a way to include it in your resume and cover letter.

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Selecting the Right Hospitality Recruiting Firm

July 14th, 2014

The competition for each hospitality job is overwhelming. Restaurant Managers are among the most in demand professionals. A recruiting firm must find the right candidate for their clients. The cost of a hiring mistake is 100% on them. The restaurant loses time, but the recruiting firm is not compensated.  Understanding this is the first step to finding the best recruiting firm for your skill set and future goals.

A smart professional will work to develop a long-term relationship with your recruiting team. As a Candidate you need a company you can trust, but also one that is trusted by your industry.

What Is The Hospitality Recruiter’s Specialization?

The first step is to read their website, and search online. But do not take their ‘ad copy’ as the truth. Make sure that they only work in the hospitality industry, and that they are known for their work in your specialty.

Don’t trust a domain name. It is easy to buy a domain name with www. MyKeyword .com that makes a website sound like the industry standard. This is just a marketing tactic. Look for content on the web. What do they write about?

Do they have a LinkedIn profile? Are their team members and recruiters connected with their LinkedIn profile? This one tool can tell you whether they are a ‘one man’ show, or part of a team of highly professional recruiters.

One of the ‘marketing secrets’ is to check out their blog. If the blog does not go back for years, then the website might be a lead generation tool, or a turnkey website. Do real people submit to the blog? Are there real people on the website? When you leave the website do you have people’s names and locations?

You have to wonder if a company that cannot promote their own people on their website has the marketing and promotion skills to promote your career?

Who Are Their Clients?

Can you see who their clients are immediately on visiting their website, or on the first contact? Make sure you state your request clearly. You are looking for their long term clients, not restaurants they have, at one time, placed a Candidate in, or hospitality jobs they once filled.

The recruiting company’s reputation with clients is more important than their attempts to solicit resumes.

 What Can a Recruiting Company Do for My Career?

Recruiting companies are misunderstood. They are often seen as scams.  This is because people have the mistaken belief that they will negotiate a job for them. Many people hire a recruiting firm hoping to sit back and have a job dropped in their lap. This is far from the truth.

A recruiting company will work to find the right Candidates for the right Client. They work with the client to present themselves, but they won’t offer free career development, or negotiate the best deal. In fact, a person who wants someone else to do the hard work may not be a suitable candidate for a hospitality job.

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Restaurant Manager Salaries: How to Secure the Best Salary

July 7th, 2014

The restaurant management salary range is wide, based on a candidate’s experience, location, and the restaurant size.  The median salary for a restaurant manager ranges from $48 000 to $65 000.  It is important to know what you are worth when talking with a hospitality recruiter.  This may seem like common sense, but many Candidates are ‘off the mark’ when setting their own value.

1. Experience

Experience may earn higher salaries. A Candidate may have ran a medium sized restaurant for 10 years, but that doesn’t mean their experience makes them suitable for a large restaurant, or switching from a franchise to a hotel  restaurant.

Job experience has limits. After four years a Candidate can ask for more, but this is not a sliding scale. The candidate with four years experience may be worth the same amount as the candidate with ten years experience.

2. Location

The highest restaurant management salaries are Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York,   according to the Horizon Hospitality salary matrix. In these cities the salaries can soar to $98 500.

The location of a restaurant within the city can also determine the salary. A downtown high end restaurant may not pay as much as the restaurant that has a major three hour rush after church on Sunday.

3. Job Demands

The most important aspect of the job is understanding the restaurant patrons. A restaurant manager who can run a high end restaurant without a glitch may be worth more if the clientele are unforgiving of the smallest slip up.

4. Education

Do not overlook psychology courses. A Bachelor Arts in psychology is one of three degrees associated with top paying restaurant management positions. Even a Bachelor of Science in food service management and/or in business administration is not as important in a restaurant. 

One of the most sought after skills is the ability to manage people and keep them motivated and energized.  Defusing disgruntled customers and handling stressful situations are as important as opening and closing procedures, employee training, and being able to communicate to upper management.

5. Mentor

Have you worked under a successful restaurant veteran? Did you respect them and speak highly of them? Have you clearly explained what you learned from them?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,  2010, stated that there were 326,000 professional food service managers, including restaurant managers. This number is expected to increase by three percent by 2020.

6. Honesty and Integrity

A recent Harvard University study claims that 80% of job turnover is the direct result of hiring mistakes. This typically costs a restaurant about 30% of a first year salary.  The recruiter’s goal is to uncover a Candidates true motivations, qualifications, and expectations. Honestly representing your skill set and personality is one way to make sure you do not lose a job due to an overlooked inconsistency.

A good recruiter will not only check your education, they will contact the Council for Higher Education and confirm the educational institution’s accreditation.

7. Playing the Field

The hiring process is time intensive and expensive. Recruiters are wary of Candidates who are trying to pit one restaurant against another. Sometimes a Candidate will start a job search and receive an offer, in an attempt to elicit a counter offer from their current employer.

8. Partner With a Recruiter

Many of the best hospitality jobs never hit the hospitality job websites. The recruiting firms are a valuable asset that saves restaurants both time and money. Candidates can access the untapped market and have their resume move to the top of the pile when working with a strong recruitment firm.

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What Do Restaurant Management Recruiters Do?

July 1st, 2014

You’ve visited the Hospitality Job Recruiter and your resume has been submitted to several Clients. You may have even attended a few interviews. You may have been well prepared and created the perfect presentation, but didn’t land the job.

The following article will take a look at the hiring process from the hospitality recruiter’s point-of-view. Too often job seekers have a narrow, egocentric, focus of the job hunting process. This can stall a Restaurant Management Candidate.  A few pointers on the recruiter or job interviewer’s perspective might help you land the next job you apply for.

1. Good People Know Good People

The resume is perfect. An editor has reviewed your resume, twice. Friends went over your social networking with a fine tooth comb. What you didn’t know is that your recruiter called your references. Make sure the people you choose as references have good communication skills and present themselves on the telephone in a professional manner.

Recruiters know that Candidates pick the people they feel will give a good reference. This is why a reference can influence a recruiter’s decision.

2. Why Did You Quit?

Be very careful when explaining the reasons for leaving a job position. The recruiter is looking for your W. M.O.D.D. list (What Made our Day Difficult?) The reason you left that may sound most logical can be the reason a recruiter turns your application down. A manager at the last job position may have been totally unreasonable, but expanding on this may make the recruiter believe you are unreasonable. Complaining that the restaurant was unorganized can cause a job interviewer to wonder if you are able to handle the Chaos of a stressful Friday night.

3. Are You a Nice Person?

Recruiters are looking for nice people. Do you do nice things for people? Do you only put your efforts into ventures that have a return? Do you ever give without expecting something in return? Good employees do not cause trouble. Nice people stay longer. Loosing employees because of bad attitudes can cost a restaurant more than loosing patrons.

4. Be Dedicated

What is the longest job you’ve ever held? Is there anything on your resume that you’ve done for more than 5 consecutive years? Recruiters are looking for people who will remain at a job posting for longer than one year. People who quit, are expensive and disruptive to a restaurant’s revenue and social environment.

5. Affirmation and Appreciation

When the interview is over, did you show any affirmation or appreciation to the people who helped move up the learning curve?  Do you celebrate, reward, or praise anyone? This will not only show what is important to you, and reveal aspects of your behavior and personality, it will also highlight those things that are important in your life.

6. High Performers Attract High Performers

When your resume is read, and the job interview completed, have you presented a high performer? If you are not a high performer than you can’t spot the high performer in your team, in fact, you may find high performers and ‘affirmation addicts’ annoying. The human architecture of the foodservice industry is its most critical asset.

A hiring manager can find the best people, but if they can’t work together and create an emotionally healthy, supportive workplace then the restaurant will trapped in a hiring revolving cycle.

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