How Much Will You Sacerfice to Land a Hospitality Job

March 25th, 2015

Are you willing to sacrifice what is needed to fit the stereotype?

Will you sacrifice weekends to upgrade your education?

Can you putt off a new car, or upgrading your house, if it means positioning yourself for a better job?

Knowledge is POWER. If you understand this, then you will understand why some people are promoted while more experienced and capable people are overlooked. For example: studies show that being overweight can reduce job prospects.

Will You Change Your Appearance For A Job?

"Participants viewed a series of resumes that had a small photo of the job applicant attached, and were asked to make ratings of the applicants suitability, starting salary, and employability," said Dr. O'Brian. "We used pictures of women pre- and post-bariatric surgery, and varied whether participants saw either a resume, amongst many, that had a picture of an obese female attached, or the same female but in a normal weight range following bariatric surgery.

"We found that strong obesity discrimination was displayed across all job selection criteria, such as starting salary, leadership potential, and likelihood of selecting an obese candidate for the job."

This can also include dressing for the part. The first step is to learn what your prospective new employer considers the 'right look'. You don't want to appear in a power suit for men. or heels for a woman, to a restaurant where the motto is 'roll up your sleeves.'

Will You Change Your Attitude?

We grow up believing our attitude, beliefs, and 'feelings' are what makes up our personality. This is not true. Many people are shocked to discover that most of their beliefs and attitudes are taught by parents and peers. When coaching professionals the realization that they've spent years being someone they were told to be, and believe what they were told to believe is a liberating experience.

This doesn't refer to religious or social beliefs. It is the belief system that determines whether you feel powerful and confident, or whether you feel you deserve a job. If your beliefs and your perceptions do not match your 'real' personality then you may complain, refuse to take risks, and feel depressed.

The first response to this question is "No, I will not change." But many times the change frees and empowers you. The life changing power of assessing your beliefs with a properly trained coach can turn you from a struggling middle assistant to a powerful, confident, and effective manager.


Eliminate Tolerations-Eliminate Obstacles

March 18th, 2015

Most professionals do not know what a toleration is. This ignorance doesn't diminish the fact that tolerances are the #1 career sabotaging obstacles.

What is a tolerance?

These are the small things that we allow to creep into our lives. The symptoms of a tolerance are:

  • Increases stress
  • Wasted time
  • Frustration
  • Poor performance
  • Missed Opportunities
  • Conflict in the the workplace
  • Poor communication
  • Missed deadlines
  • Fractured plans
  • Unrealized goals

Tolerances do not need to be big to cause problems. In fact, a few dozen small, overlooked tolerances can cause more problems thank two or three major tolerances. To overcome these tolerances it is important to fully understand what they are.

  • Have you ever looked for a pen?
  • Have you searched the kitchen for your keys when it was time to leave for work?
  • Did you waste 10 minutes before a meeting
  • Do you have a assume that people want to hear an excuse?
  • Are many of your projects ruined or made less effective by other people?
  • Are you organized. Is your work space organized?
  • Are you always looking for things you 'put down'?
  • Are there things you don't have time to finish?

It Is Time To Lighten Your Load

You have the power to change your life, one tolerance at a time. It may be something simple, like putting a ring on your keys so you don't need to search for a key. It might be something simple like cutting out one coffee a day, saving 10 minutes instead of sitting in the drive through.

It might be major, like improving your negotiation skills so that you can 'get to the point' in half the time. Or, it may be learning how to reduce the number of conflicts and arguments you waste time trying to diffuse in a month.

How to Avoid Confrontational Tolerances

Do you ever do any of these 7 common ineffective behaviors:

  • Avoid situations by avoiding encounters with a toxic person.
  • Do not give people the power to frustrate or anger you.
  • Avoid toxic communication. Do not gossip, or berate another person.
  • Do not waste time focusing on people, their problems, behaviors, or weaknesses.
  • Use sweeping generalizations or hurl personal insults in an attempt to get your point across e.g, you always, you never, you should.
  • Deal with your own issues instead of wasting time trying to get other people to do things your way.
  • Be willing to look critically at your own position or behavior and how it's adding confrontation to the situation.

One of the best ways to overcome confrontational behaviors is to learn how to stop causing confrontations. When we stop causing confrontations and extending problems then you give yourself the power to reduce time wasted arguing. This gives you more time to find a solution.

These are a few simple strategies to help you eliminate tolerances from your life.


5 Mistakes that Sabatoge Management Career

March 11th, 2015

Careers don't happen. Successful careers are the result of careful planning, positioning for advancement, and continued upgrading. Managing a career can be as time consuming as the career itself.

Too many professionals ignore their career until the become a job seekers. The job hunting market is no place to learn how to land a job. This type of career development bounces the manager between survival zone, panic zone, and when they land their next job, they return to their survival zone.

To succeed in the hospitality industry general managers and restaurant managers need to push out of their comfort zone. This involved more than becoming your biggest fan and advocate. It involves taking a hard look at yourself, and fixing what is ruining your performance.

1. If You Are Not Growing You Are Dying

Managers know this is true in the business world, but it is also true for managers. If you are not continually improving you skill set and honoring your strengths then you have nothing to 'sell' when you look for a new job.

For example, Look at the two following excerpts from resumes:

  • Good communication Skills
  • 2 Years improving my communication skills 

          ** Read 4 books on '4 types of communication.'
          ** Completed an active listening course
          ** Completed a seminar on body language 

The above are two examples that show the difference between someone who takes their career and skills seriously.

2. Initiative

There are always projects happening at most companies, right now. This is especially true in the larger hospitality franchises. Joining a team puts you on a leadership radar. More important, it pads your resume, and teaches the skills needed to work with leadership.

Working with leadership, instead of viewing them as 'another department' that has nothing to do with your job, is one of the fastest ways to sabotage your career. Working with leadership teaches you what they view a important. Your skills can be honed to 'give them what they need' to do their job. To grow, you need to know what is going on in the company and what is important.

3. If You Are Not Part Of The Solution, You Are Part Of The Problem

Leadership and upper management have a tendency to view managers in two ways. They are either solving problems and making leadership's job easier. Or they are not actively solving problems, which makes them 'dead weight'.

Just 'doing my job' is one of the top 10 ways to sabotage a career.

But that is only 1/2 the equation. Once you position yourself to be noticed, then document you successes. You need to be able to present you accomplishments and successes, and validate your participation.

4. Four Biggest Networking Problems

There are four networking problems that are sure to sabotage your career.

  1.  Networking in fits and starts
  2.  Not networking
  3.  Taking and not giving
  4.  Giving the wrong 'image' when networking

#1 When someone is unhappy at work they become active on LinkedIn, and start networking. They are two problems with this. First, it lets everyone know you are not happy at work and two, it is kinda insulting to all the people you suddenly become friends with.

#2 When you don't network you lose the chance to 'brand' yourself. Managers are a commodity that can be marketed, whether they agree with this statement or not. Networking is also a skill. It takes time to develop good networking skills. It also takes time to develop relationships that will help advance your career.

#3 One of the biggest mistakes is the net-worker who is only 'in it for themselves.' They have nothing to give, but they are always asking. Instead, be the one that gives. Be the helper in your networking circle. Be the person everyone wants to help.

#4 Image is everything. Managers are hired, and fired, by their image. It supersedes their performance records. Your professional network is there for a reason. It is a career development tool. When you stop networking, you stop growing. A network should include both mentors and proteges. It takes time to cultivate both relationships. And both relationships can pave the way to the next step up the career development ladder.

'it's Just A Job' If you go to work to 'get the job done' and then go home where you live your 'real life' then you are losing some of the best opportunities you never knew you had.
A career is a commodity. It is only as strong as you build it. It takes a daily investment into your life, your future, and yourself.


4 Words that Control Your Career

March 4th, 2015

One question can make, or break, your career. Answering this question has a serious impact on your future.

The question? 'What do you do?"

One simple, 4 letter question, but it is the most difficult question to answer.

  • #1 'What do you do?' vs. 'Who are you?'

Many professionals have a difficult time separating who they are from that they do. The answer to 'what do you do' should be very short. If your answer is 100 words then it is too long.

What you do should also encompass your passions, but it shouldn't focus on hobbies, beliefs, and personal interests.

  • #2 'What do you do' vs. ' What have you accomplished?'

 What you do isn't interesting. What you have accomplished can you mention. This isn't time to brag or become ego-centric. Instead, try to come up with a few 'ice breakers' that interest the listener. Obvious as this sounds, it often takes a few tries to find the answer that peaks peoples interest and initiates a conversation.

What you never want to do is offer a 'stop answer'. These are answers where the only thing the listener can respond with is, 'that's nice'.

  • #3 'What do you do' vs. 'What is your Job'

You are not your job. Once you tell someone you are a restaurant manager they automatically know that you are good with communication, budgets, and managing staff.

'What Answer I Really Want.'

When people ask what do you do, they mean 'What can you do for me'. Instead of saying 'I'm a restaurant manager,' try answering 'I create the best dining experience for anyone who wants more than just an expensive meal.' Another good answer might be 'It is my job to keep our restaurant's general manager from going insane, and to make the investors fat and happy.' Of course, the tone depends on the restaurant's image.

The question 'What do you do' is similar to the questions 'How are you'. The person asking really doesn't care. The question isn't about you. The listener has already stopped 'active listening' before you start you answer. That is why you need something to 'wake them up', and grab their attention.

If you ask this question the stop, it immediately puts everyone on guard. The become wary of your motives. The question is too general. If you want to build trust and relationship then ask specific questions. Then look the person in the eye and actively listen to their response. Carefully monitor your body language so that it tells the listener that you are interested.


S.E.R.V.I.C.E The Secret to Success as a Restaurant Manager

February 25th, 2015

Every hospitality job has one thing in common – success if built on service. As a manager you need to offer the best service and motivate every member of your team to offer better service than the competition.

S ocial

E nthusiastic

R esponsible

V ibrant

I ntelligent

C ourtious

E ngaged

When being interviewed the hospitality recruiter is looking for these traits. These are things that are inherent, or learned behaviors, in any restaurant manager. You cannot fake them. Any good hiring manager or recruitment professional needs less than 20 minutes to determine whether a Candidate is a born manager or just ‘putting on a front.’

  • How to answer interview questions

The job interview is stressful. Even a good manager can mess up a job interview. Here are a few tips to help make the most of your new job interview.

  • Answer Questions Mindfully

There is one rule – avoid answering ‘yes’ or ‘no. The recruiter wants yo to talk. Don’t let the fact that your recruiter is tired of asking the same questions, or tired, cheat you out of a good interview.

  • Don’t Accidentally Send Up Red Flags

Interviews are designed to reveal problems Candidates try to hide. Your responses will tell the recruiter more than they could learn working with you for a week. Here are some of the ‘red flags’.  That is, if you answer. Refusing to answer some questions can bring an interview to a sudden stop. It might be better to carefully script an answer before the interview then to avoid the question.

  • Questions You Should Always Answer:

1.       Why did you leave your last job?

2.       Why have you had so many jobs?

3.       Personal questions that are intended to reveal personal or relationship problems.

4.       Any question that will reveal legal problems in your past.

5.       Questions that define your personality type, or your career commitment.

6.       Whether employee turn over was low, profits increased/decreased, and growth.

  • Keep Answers Short

The tendency is to fully explain everything. A better option might be to offer a few well scripted highlights. Follow this by asking if the recruiter wants further details about any of the topics. What is even better is if you can show documentation, reports (sanitized to protect intellectual property), and even some plans and workbooks you keep for your own use.

  • Attitude is Everything

No matter how stressful, accusing, or difficult the interviewer is remember ‘it is all a show.’ Do not be caught into an argument or debate. Keep calm. Keep cool.  The interview isn’t over until your stress shows that S.E.R.V.I.C.E is not your primary focus.

Job Interview Tips-Show How You Build Trust

February 24th, 2015


Top 10 Tips From A Career Coach

February 23rd, 2015

Here are a few tips to help restaurant manager’s work with career coaches and recruiters. The core virtue of both is to help professionals assess their situations with honesty, empathy, compassion, and develop realistic expectations.

1.   Realistic Expectations

One of the biggest misconceptions is that someone will give you a job based on your resume. Success in today’s world depends on marketing. If you cannot market yourself then you are dead weight. This is different than the sales pitch. Marketing creates a brand for yourself. It associates your name with a certain image.

Creating a brand takes time. You can’t leave it until you find yourself unemployed, or looking for a new job. Marketing needs to become a way of life. You need to learn your strengths, who you are competing with, and the needs and desires of your potential employer.

2.     Why Restaurant Managers Career Coaches

The competition is volatile in the hospitality industry, especially for managers. Everyone thinks they can do the job. Everyone thinks the job is easy. The biggest problem is that some of these people may be great at marketing themselves, taking jobs they are not ready for. This leaves the skilled managers struggling to find their next position.

It is also possible that you are in the wrong niche. Sometimes career stagnation doesn’t have anything to do with ability, passion, or dedication. Your frustration may come from the fact that you are in the wrong job. Maybe you are a general manager stuck in an assistant restaurant manager’s job, or the kitchen manager.

3.     Why Restaurant Managers Need a Recruitment Professional

We’ve met dozens of Candidates who couldn’t break the pattern of submitting resumes, even when nothing came from it. Recruiters help match resumes with jobs, saving time, cost, and ultimately frustration.

There are a variety of assessments online that can only go so far. Most of these are created for the corporate world – not the hospitality industry.

4.     You are Holding Yourself Back

We’ve all heard the excuses:

  • “I hate my job, but I don’t know anything else.”
  • “I don’t know what to do with my skills.”
  • “I feel trapped.”
  • “I need help deciding what I want to do.”
  • “I know what I want to do but I don’t know how to do it.”

This is just job anxiety, and is something every recruiter encounters frequently. People are even losing faith in social media, LinkedIn, and association websites.

Take a bit of time to bring your life and work-life into balance. Assess your beliefs. Reduce your limitations. Most important – be honest

5.     Are You Sabotaging Your Success?

It is amazing how many people pay for a coach or sign up with a recruitment firm, and then sabotage their own success. They will not take advice. They will not try.

As a career coach I often ask people if they are sabotaging their success. Or, are you depressed. The best answer is yes, because that means they are willing to accept the truth and make a change. They just need someone to point them in the right direction.


What is Employment Branding?

February 19th, 2015

Employment Branding is a new trend where companies leverage the stickiness of content marketing and social media to send a powerful corporate message that attracts a better level of manager.

It is a tool used by recruiters to attract the ideal employee.  - like a moth to a flame. Instead of promoting jobs, employers are branding themselves and making it easy for the best candidates to find them.

Benefits for restaurant managers:

Benefits to the company:

a)     The best employees who ‘understand how the system works’ find the employer.

b)     The employer can find a prime candidate who is already employed but may be thinking of moving to a new company.

c)     In the hospitality industry success depends on your ability to attract the best and brightest. Companies and recruiting firms aggressively fight to make sure the best work for them.

d)     A company can have a list of suitable candidates before a job opening comes available.

e)     Hiring Managers can get to research potential Candidates before starting the hiring process

Benefits for restaurant managers:

a)     You can find a potential employer before leaving your current position.

b)     You know ‘what is out there’ so you can make an informed decision, to say, or leave, your current employer.

c)     You may land your next job before even telling your current employer that you are looking.

d)     Finding a new job puts you in a good position to negotiate a better contract, more pay, or a career advancement.

Why Aren’t More Companies Using Employment Branding?

Top 5hree reasons why HR departments do not use Employment Branding yet:

1.They cannot create an effective Employment Branding campaign.

2.They do not want to invest the time  needed to market their company

3.They are hesitant to spend money. As usual, marketing is the ‘bastard child’ in any company. Because they cannot validate their expenses they often end up with the smallest budget.

What these companies do not realize is that it can cost more money to hire the wrong manager. Geckohospitality has seen many restaurants in the hospitality industry who continually hire the wrong employees. They also see the companies that market themselves, and work with a recruiting company, find a manager who can take their hospitality business to the next level.

Why Aren’t More Restaurant Managers Researching an Employer’s Brand?

You have an awesome recruiting agency working on your behalf.

You are a prime Candidate for the recruiting firm’s clientele.

So why take the time to research the hospitality and restaurant’s employment brand?

The answer is simple. Your recruitment firm can only do so much for you. They can bring you the job. They can position you for the job. But your Recruiter cannot choose the job that will fulfill your dreams, help you meet your goals, and give you the best and most fulfilling lifestyle.


Job Interview Tips: Show How You Build Trust

February 12th, 2015

Almost every restaurant management candidate wants to impress the job interviewer, or recruitment professional. One of the most important methods is to discuss your well-honed, constantly upgraded, team building skills. The HR managers running the interviews soon become numb to the claims.

Restaurant manager’s need strong team building skills. They also need some tangible way to show your skills on a resume, and discuss them in a job interview. To successfully increase performance in a restaurant it is important to build trust between the executives and your management team, as well as the people on the floor.

The recruiter understands this, but they are looking for Candidates that also build trust between the staff members and the executives. This can be the most challenging and draining part of managing a restaurant.

“A team who doesn’t trust can never be a team.”

Your profit and performance numbers can be great. Your portfolio may have some amazing gains, but there will be something intangible missing if you don’t develop your team’s talents and passions.

If a manager cannot build trust in their team then they can’t include the results of employee teamwork exercises because they will reveal the problem. So the manager goes into the job interview without solid data showing their ability to manage a restaurant.

Why is trust so important?

Recruiters can separate management hopefuls from true management candidates by the answer to this question. 

·       Trust is essential for sharing knowledge. If your team members trust one another they are more likely to share knowledge and share information openly.  They will have more involvement in the success of the restaurant.

·       Trust is essential to collaboration and performance. If your staff wastes time covering their tracks and protecting their interests then they have less time and energy to focus on the consumers.

·       Trust solves problems.  When team members know that their input is vital they will share concerns before they become problems. They will also take responsibility for performance. They are more likely to offer solutions to problems.

Strategies for Building Trust

Managers cannot build trust. Leaders can.

1.     Lead by example.

a.     Show your team that you trust them and that you trust management. Team members are always watching and taking cues from you.

2.     Communicate

a.     Encourage talking in an honest, meaningful way. Sitting around for coffee and ‘appetizers on the house’ may do more for moral and performance than 100 motivational speeches.

b.     Make sure that everyone knows what is expected of them. Define a team charter. This gives everyone a purpose. They know the boundaries. They know if they gossip and stab someone in the back that they will lose their job. They also know that their ideas and suggestions are encouraged and can lead to a bonus or perk.

c.     Let the team ask questions and offer ‘real’ answers.

d.     Meet regularly

e.     Spend time face to face

f.      Demonstrate that open communication is important by taking action immediately after accepting an idea.


Job Interview Tips: Improving Employee Performance

February 5th, 2015

There are hundreds of thousands of web pages telling Candidates how to answer resume questions. Unfortunately, they can only offer vague answers to typical questions without any explanation or understanding. If you don’t know why and job interviewer asks a question then your answer doesn’t matter. There are no general or vague questions in a job interview. Each one is meant to reveal something.

In the hospitality industry the questions all have a double duty. The #1 problem is that people are not qualified to do the job they are applying for. They have some education, and some experience, but they do not understand the full scope of the job.

What is important to a Recruiter?

The most important things to a recruiter are those that make money for the restaurant. We’ve discussed several different elements in the last month.  One of the biggest things that recruiters need to know is how well you can answer questions.

Employee Performance

There are several ways to measure and improve employee performance. They are some of the easiest to discuss in a job interview.  Traditionally all responsibility was placed on managers to make sure the employees did their job well. The old ‘command and control’ method offered no incentive for the employees and creates an environment of frustration.

The new way of management is ‘trust and track.’ This system works when the manager creates a culture around the question ‘why?’.

“I do this because I was told to.”

“I do this because if I do it will make my job easier later.”

“I do this because if I do I can earn a raise.”

In this environment every member understands exactly why things are done and they are encouraged to analyse the way things are done. Each member has a share in shaping the system and improving performance.

This leads to a reward system. This can include free training, automatic raises when certain levels are completed, and trusting trained employees to run courses for new employees. You’ll notice that the reward is rarely financial.

Mangers who want to implement this type of employee management strategy need to encourage feedback. They also need to learn the different types of listening.   Coaching skills are important for today’s Restaurant Management Candidate.

Once you collect data and feedback it is time to take action. Employees need to see changes at all levels. They need to see that someone is paying attention to their feedback.

The Intangibles

There is one element of the schematic that every recruiter wants to discuss in the job interview. Do you know how important the customer is to performance management?  In the food service industry the strategies evolve as customers continually define their dining experience based on their likes, dislikes, trending, and prices.


Top 5 Behaviors Restaurant Managers Share

January 30th, 2015

If you are looking for a job as a restaurant manager then you need to highlight your personality on your resume. Successful managers share the same skill sets and behaviors.  

Restaurant Managers Need a Strong Sense of Empathy

Effective leaders know that the best managers are those who incite others to follow them. They use empathy and social skills to build a following. Fear and control have no place in a restaurant team. 

Restaurant Managers are Naturally Justice and Fair

Many manager Candidates may wonder why Recruiting companies and Head-hunters continue to talk about personality tests, being just, and communication skills when they are not evident in so many restaurants.

A person who is empathetic and works to be just is the type of person who is going to take the investor’s seriously. They are not going to become lax and abusive to the staff. A smart recruitment professional isn’t going to focus on the good. They are going to unearth your personality when things went wrong. 

Restaurant Managers Have a Strong Sense of Responsibility and Accountability

A manager may be low on their Career Development Curve, and still land a good job. How? By showing that you have a high level of accountability.  Look at this from the point of view of the restaurant owner. You have dreams. You have plans. Some of these may take months, or years, to execute.

How can you know your team is ‘on board’ if you can’t trust your manager to be honest and tell the truth. How can you find where the problems are if your manager is hiding their own mistakes. If they do that, then they will let their team do that.

Next thing – a business owner is abandoning profitable, strong campaigns based on other people’s mistakes and bad information.

The best restaurant managers are hands on people. They are willing to step in and take over any position on the floor or kitchen – with a smile.

Restaurant Management Candidates Have a Strong Sense of Courage

A restaurant manager with courage doesn’t need to tell people that a task can be done, and done successfully. They have already accomplished the task, worked out the kinks, and come up with a great plan for success.

A courageous manager will be at the front desk, and loading the dishwasher. They won’t tolerate toxic communication or back biting among the team. They are not afraid of letting others take some responsibility, advance their skills, and move up the ladder.

Self-Control is a Learned Behavior and Important for Managers

It can be very difficult to show self-control on a resume, or in a job interview, without revealing things that went wrong in your last placement. This is where courage comes in. This is why we suggest that managers document everything. Create ‘plans of action’ so that when you become a Restaurant Management Candidate you will have the proof to back up your claims of courage and self-control.

Effective Planner

 “The failure to plan is planning to fail. It is attributed to Joe Paterno, a famous American football coach born in 1926. Any leader wishing to succeed as a restaurant manager must plan his work, and then work his plan.


Unsure Why You Were Shut Out of the Hiring Process

January 22nd, 2015

One of the most frustrating aspects of the job hiring process is applying for jobs that the job interviewer does not believe you’re not qualified to hold. In many cases, you may have already held this job position. You can do the job. There are many restaurant managers trying to move up the career ladder without understanding why all the doors shut in their face. Why they never receive a follow up after the job interview.

The most obvious reason, you cannot communicate your skills effectively.

In the professional world people who are at the top of their career share the same behaviors and skill sets. You may be able to do the job, but after failing to answer a series of questions properly then the job interviewer will write ‘not qualified’ on your resume.

As a Career and Performance Coach I have talked to many professionals. The same problems always come up.

On The Job Experience and Hit The Ceiling

There is a job ceiling in the hospitality industry. If you are trained on the job, it is fairly low. This is because most people who learn on the job develop some mindsets that make it difficult for their career to advance.

1.     I don’t have time to network

Professionals associate with professionals. This is why the person who uses a recruitment service like will land a job quicker than someone who uses a job board.

The greatest source of mentoring and learning is from your peers. How will you know, what you don’t know, if someone doesn’t help you see your limits.

2.     No time for Education or upgrading

Education is power. It gives you the tools needed to improve your performance. The moment a recruiter sees a resume with no upgrading or education on it they see someone who may resist being mentored or taking courses assigned in their new job.

3.     Poor Communication Skills

It is very difficult to manage effectively without being able to communicate. Inability to communicate damage performance at every level. At the bottom there is increased turnover due to team frustration, and wasted time and energy. At the upper levels it is important to be able to succinctly highlight the improvements and increases in revenue, or decreases in expenses in a manner that general managers and investors will understand. 

Degrees and BS but Cannot Get Past Entry Level Jobs

This professional knows ‘what’ to do. However, they have not learned ‘how’ to do the job. They are full of information but lack the practical skills needed to turn theory into real-world solutions.

1.     Hiring managers fear putting this person into a manager’s position.  New Management Candidates do not understand that not everything in books translates to the restaurant floor.

2.     Students have spent 3 or 4 years sitting at a desk reading and typing. The restaurant manager job is a high stress job that requires physical endurance and a lot of patience. Working at a summer job may not prepare you for a position as a restaurant manager. The question is, Can you do the job?

3.     Lack of connections. Face it, connections make the job easier. Do you know the best place to buy vegetables, or which contractor will work hard, fast, and for the lowest price?  Do you know where to hire local help if someone quits without notice? These are the intangibles that you cannot learn in college or university.


Interview Tips: Overcoming a Lack of Confidence

January 15th, 2015

One of the most frustrating parts of the job interview journey is the advice from well-meaning friends. The condescending advice given is neither constructive or helps you improve your performance next time.

“Get over it. Just keep trying.”

“Just imagine them in their underwear.”

“We’ve all had bad job interviews. No big deal.”

“Keep practicing. You didn’t want that job anyway.”

Patronizing words of advice will just increase your stress level. The secret to a successful job interview is to appear confident. But most of us do not know what ‘confident’ looks like in the real world. Our perception of confidence may be misinterpreted by others.  In the job interview we try to exhibit behaviors that are unfamiliar and send unintentional messages to the interviewer.

The reality is, no one can tell us what ‘our’ confidence should look like. When we fake it we end up appearing arrogant, self-absorbed, or even confrontational.

So how do we fix this problem?

Research What Confidence Looks Like

It is amazing how many professionals are not interested in finding out what other professionals in their field act like.  They consider networking a waste of time. They dismiss body language. They are so disassociated with their body language that they lose a major part of their ability to communicate.

Professional Career coaches tell their Clients to visit restaurants. Pick the restaurant carefully. Make sure it is visited by the type of people you are trying to impress. This is not a onetime task. Management Career Development requires behavior modification. Become the best manager.

Behavior isn’t a set of tasks you need to learn, it is a mindset. It is method of dealing with problems and communication.

The Behavior Behind Communication

The coffee shop task is designed to help professionals master several coaching techniques at once. Develop these skills and confidence will become part of your behavior. Confidence is not something you develop, not something you feel.

Confidence is communication. It is the ability to communicate your ability to solve problems and handle stress. When you are at a coffee shop frequented by professionals you’ll eventually start noticing little things in their behavior.

Communicate Confidence By Listening

The root of all communication is listening. When people panic they talk. The more stress felt, the faster they talk.  A confident person has the patience and experience to let others tell them what the ‘real’ problem is. If you learn to listen then you can confidently ask the job interviewer what information they are really looking for.

Learning to listen is the foundation to appearing confident. But it takes a lot of effort to learn to listen.

Not all listening is the same.  Active listening gives the impression that you care without acting overt or condescending. It is more of an art than a science. The best place to learn this is to watch managers have lunch. Watch their body language when they are relaxed.

Communicate by Body Language

Everyone has heard of secret organizations with private handshakes. This is a way of identifying each other. You’ll see this tribal ritual in every aspect of society, and every level of the career development ladder.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to identify a professional waitress from a woman who wants a job real bad. The waitress ‘has moves.’  Managers have the same secret signals. In fact there is a personality type drawn to the hospitality industry that is easily identifiable.

If you learn this body language ‘on the job’. It is a marketable asset. So if you want to get a job in the hospitality industry then don’t try to be someone you are not. Trust yourself, and be yourself


How to Land a Manager’s Job: Eliminate Excuses

January 9th, 2015

Restaurant managers are responsible for the performance of their team. But once the first meal hits the grill everything is out of the manager’s hands. The night’s performance may be in the hands of one hundred other people. This creates a unique situation for managers.

How do you confidently manage a meeting, presentation, or job interview without using behaviors or body language that can stall your career or cost you a promotion?

Message Map

Visual display of your story on one page. This can be done on a white board, or paper. Even an ipad or laptop can help.

Step #1 What is the 1 overlying message you want to convey? 

This should be a twitter type message. This message should give the important point.

This should be filled out with no more than 4 sub points that your audience wants to hear. This applies for business meetings and job interviews. Keep these points ‘important’ to your audience.

Once you have a blueprint then you can direct the conversation. Stay away from trying to defend yourself.  Do not own the problem. Do you need to eliminate the problem or the consequences of an action, which caused a problem? Think carefully about this.

Step #2  Connect to Your Creativity

This may seem impossible in a job interview, and it can be, unless you practice. What you need to understand is that there is a difference between creativity and ‘making something up.’  Your creativity is what inspires you. It is your motivation.

Your creativity is what gives you the power to make things happen.  Just think ‘Steve Jobs.’ He says ‘creativity is just connecting things.’ He turns ideas into tangible products. You are a product that needs to be sold. Your consumer is the person you are talking to. 

One mistake that many people make is only focusing on the practical aspects. Steve Jobs took Calligraphy in college. It had no practical application, but later it became part of the fonts on Mac which caught people’s attention.

Step #3  Learn to Say No

In American culture the person who has the power to say no, is the person with the power. If you want to psychologically tip the balance in your favor then you need to learn ‘how’ to say no in a way that empowers you without creating negative consequences.

How To Apply These Skills in a Job Interview

Unfortunately this article is primarily about telling you ‘what’ needs to be done. What you read here is the result of specific behaviors. The practical side is to learn how you can create these behaviors.

Learn how to make message maps. Learn how to negotiate. Learn how to say what you mean, and mean what you say. If you can master these things then you will be able to control a conversation. Once you can do that you will be able to enter a job interview confidently. You will be able to handle the most stressful questions, and face the most devastating problems without being bullied or forced to defend yourself.

Once you can do this you can avoid excuses in the job interview, and your new management career.


How Restaurant Managers Can Impress Recruiters and Hiring Managers

January 5th, 2015

All restaurant management candidates, and in fact everyone in the hospitality industry, know that team building and collaboration is the secret to landing a good job and keeping it. It is vital that job seekers make sure that they can satisfy any questions asked in the job interview.

There are the standard questions asked in any job interview. A good manager can offer great information and data. They may come armed with employee evaluation programs they designed, and charts showing how they decreased turnover or improved performance. They may even have great motivational strategies and development programs but still not land the job.

Successful restaurant management candidates have something more in-depth. There are a few things that professional managers know which newer candidates won’t know. These can make the difference between landing a job and spending another month going to interviews. 

Get To Know The Team Personally

How much credibility does your stories about team meetings and programs have if you use generic terms, instead of people’s names. One way to build trust is to encourage your team members to see each other as people.

Give them opportunities to open up, and make sure that their lives are valued. Know when a school PA day is coming up and ask if anyone needs the day off. Balance this by making sure that the people who cover the PA days receive a perk – like a 4 day holiday or a long weekend off.

Don’t Place Blame

Mistakes and disappointments are part of business. Making a big deal or punishing mistakes will make employees afraid of taking risks that can be profitable for the author. When everyone starts pointing fingers the workplace becomes toxic. It lowers morale, undermines trust, and lowers productivity.

Good managers encourage everyone to think about the good, and bad, in a constructive way. Everyone needs to take responsibility and work towards preventing the mistake in the future.

Discourage Cliques

Managers can create cliques without intention. Even when cliques are just groups of friends with similar interests they can damage the effectiveness of a team. They also can create trust issues. Cliques by nature are self-serving.  This can cause problems when you need a team to pull together in a crisis, especially if one clique feels they are being discriminated against.

Active Listening

Coaching and negotiating skills are vital for effective team management. The strongest skill learned in these disciplines is active listening. The power of ‘active listening’ is so strong that you can actually call it manipulation. 

Sometimes just stopping and listening, then responding proactively to the conversation can advert a possible problem.


Seeing potential and offering a way for team members to improve their skillset, lifestyle, and work environment is a powerful way to motivate a team and build trust.  Keep training volunteer, and offer incentives and perks for finishing training.

New Employee Orientation, Learn at Lunch, and Cross Training are only three of the programs being adopted by corporations across North America.

When in a job interview make sure that you touch on these ‘advanced team building skills’. Take your game to the next level and give the job interviewer answers and topics she doesn’t hear 50 times a day.


Five Signs You Should Promote a Manager

December 29th, 2014

Both good employees and good managers are worth their weight in gold to a hospitality business.  However, not all good employees will make good managers –and managers who excel in their current position won’t always shine if they’re moved up the ladder. 

Here are five signs that it’s time to promote a hospitality manager:

They’re clearly aligned with the company’s goals. Part of a hospitality manager’s job is to interpret the company’s goals for their team.  They ensure that the team’ work supports those goals and that organizational objectives are met.  Consequently, it’s crucial that managers or potential managers demonstrate their understanding of and commitment to those goals in their daily work and communication.They have good people skills. People skills are crucial for any hospitality position, but they’re doubly important for managers.  Not only do managers work regularly with customers, they must also be able to guide workflow, train their team members, communicate goals and expectations, and settle conflicts that employees cannot handle themselves.

They can see the big picture. Workers who specialize in handling the details of one operation or line of work may not have the skills needed to see how that job fits into the “big picture.”  Because hospitality managers coordinate workflow and projects across several domains, however, they must have the ability to see how the work fits into the company’s goals as a whole and to communicate this “big picture” to employees.

They know how to motivate their team. Employee engagement is a reported problem in many industries.  Managers who can keep their staff engaged and motivated, therefore, provide inestimable value.  Motivation is directly tied both to productivity and to worker satisfaction.  A managerial promotion should only be considered for individuals who know how to lead and inspire.

They’re motivated to manage. When deciding whom to promote in management, don’t forget to ask the potential manager for his or her opinion.  Not every star employee wants to be a manager; many are content to do the hands-on work they currently do, knowing it’s where their best efforts lie.  Current managers may not want to move up the ladder, realizing that they give their best to the organization right where they are.  Trust the candidate’s estimation of his or her own value in the new position and desire to take a promotion.

At Gecko Hospitality, our experienced hospitality recruiters can help you find the management talent you need.  Contact us today to learn more!


10 New Interview Questions for 2014

December 22nd, 2014

The new interview questions are more interested in how Candidates think, behave, and whether they act or react to stressful situations. There are no right answers. The recruiter is watching your ability to think on your feet. They are also looking for clues that might help determine how the management Candidates will perform.

As job hunting focuses more on psychological and personality, and less on work experience, the interview questions are changing. Restaurant Managers are especially pressured to give the correct answers. A slight variation can make the difference between connecting with a recruiter and continuing your job search.

There are other things the recruiter wants to know. Do you listen? Are you able to take in the whole project, or listen to a whole problem, and then come up with a solution? Or, do you barrel ahead and try to solve the problem without having all the facts.

Are you the type of person who is self centered or team oriented. Every resume has team oriented, but when the Management Candidate is put on the spot, and a little stress is added, the ‘real’ personality comes out.

Do you accept responsibility or blame others? The answers you give to the most abstract question can reveal this to a good recruiter or hiring manager.


10 Interview Questions That Confuse Job Seekers 


#1 “How Lucky are you and why?”

Your answer will give the interviewer insight into your personality and goals.

“I don’t believe in luck – I believe in effort’

“There is no luck, just experience and skill in action.”

“I make my own luck.”

“Luck is nothing more than the ability to seize an opportunity.”


#2 “Are you more of a hunter or a gather.”

There is no right answer to these questions. You may answer hunter in job interview one, and gatherer in job interview two.

“I’m neither, I’m the chief.”

“I hunt the gatherers and steal from the hunters.”


#3 “Do you believe in Big Foot?”

“It hasn’t been disproved.”

“I married him.”

“Uneducated people are always looking for something to believe in.”

“I focus on my environment. I am sure there are lots of creatures out there real or myth. Whether he exists or not is not important to me unless it impacts my environment.”


#4 “What do you dislike about humanity?”



“Lack of Humanity.”

“Inclination to sabotage success.”


#5 “How honest are you?”

“I’m so honest I have a hard time with company politics.”

“It’s my biggest character flaw”

“Management must be honest or projects are sabotaged.”

“Honesty is subjective. History is accepted as the truth, but we know it isn’t.”


#6 “What was the last gift you gave someone?”

“My time.”

“I listened.”


#7 “Have you ever spent a weekend at a cottage?”

I tell a funny story, or relate what I know about cottages.


#8 “How does the internet work?

“The internet is an intangible entity comprised of millions of servers, lines, and computers linked together.”

“It doesn’t”

“Not as good as it should.”


The next few are more arbitrary. There are no right answers. The recruiter is watching your ability to think on your feet.


#9 “Entertain me for 5 minutes. I’ll just sit quietly.”

#10 “Are you enjoying your life?”

#11 “What song best describes you?”

#12 “If your life was written into a movie what genre would it be?”

#13 “What anime character would you dress up as?”

#15”You were stranded on a deserted island.

#16 “What Kind of Animal are you? Why?”The answer isn’t the most important part of these questions. The hiring manager really doesn’t care whether you imagine yourself as a lion, or a butterfly. They are looking for body language, the ability to think, solve problems, and handle stress.  When you are asked questions like this there are a few things you need to do.


Lean forward

Remain Calm

Keep your voice positive

Do not stutter or ‘hum’

Do not repeat yourself


Other questions are subtle, but revealing. Some companies have a "no excuses" policy. Others want to know if you will stand up and accept responsibility and consequences.

There are responsibilities in today’s work place that were not there 10 years ago. Many companies now have a policy that specific employees be ‘on call’ 24/7 for a specific number of weeks. They may be testing for resentment and self-serving attitudes that would make this employee resent the policy.  These questions may also test loyalty and responsibility.

Most important, the recruiter is looking for job seeker Candidates who can handle stress, even in the face of causality.    


Can You Pass an Interviewer’s Interrogation?

December 15th, 2014

The first thing you need to understand when preparing for a job interview is that Hiring managers are trained in the art of finding the truth and looking for places where people are trying to hide the truth (masking).  Many management candidates fail to land jobs because they are afraid of telling the truth. There are things that a manager wants to hear, that many people feel will ruin their chances of landing a job.

Employers want to know:

•Will you be a team player? Will you fit? Can you take and give orders? Do you share the company’s vision?

•Are you prima donnas? Do you see work as part of your life, a place to live to the fullest, or is it just a job that you tolerate so you can earn a paycheck.

•Will you be an asset or liability? Will you make money or save money for the company? Will you cause a high turnover, or will you calm employees and motivate them to work hard?

Before telling personal stories, write them down, polish them. Say them out loud and see if they  give the message you want to convey? Are they too wordy and clumsy?  Can you say what you need to say in 60 seconds?  Or, if it takes longer, can you break what you need to say in 30 – 60 sound bites?

Are you reciting facts and figures, or telling the story of your life?  There are a few stories that have a purpose. Tell them truthfully, but remember that truth is based on beliefs and perceptions. The interviewer may not share yours. Once you finish this exercise then try out your stories on friends in the hospitality industry.

1. Times where you either made money or saved money for your current or previous company.

2. A crisis in your life or job and how you responded or recovered from it.

3. A time where you functioned as part of a team and what your contribution was.

4. A time in your career or job where you had to overcome stress.

5. A time in your job where you provided successful leadership or a sense of direction.

6. A failure that occurred in your job and how you overcame it.


How The Interviewer Tests Your Behavior and Personality

December 8th, 2014

Many Job Seekers are surprised to find that a job interview is similar to being profiled. The interviewer may be less interested in your experience, and more interested in your behavior, and what your personality type is. They may overlook areas where your education and experience are lacking.

Experienced Human resource managers have a plan in mind. A team of people can be developed who can outperform a team of ‘miss matched’ people at the top of their career development curve. This is good news for new graduates and people who work their way through the ranks. It levels the playing field so they can secure a job.

It also makes the interview process more confusing. The best practice is to learn to identify behavior and personality questions and then just relax and answer them as truthfully, and ethically, as possible. Here are some samples. Now is the time to start reviewing these questions and see if your first response is a knee jerk reaction, or the answer which gives an honest depiction of you and your abilities.

  • How often did you make a risky decision? Why? What was the outcome?
  • What is your project management strategy?
  • How do you deal with company policy you are in conflict with?
  • Do you go above and beyond to achieve a goal or complete a project?
  • Do you enjoy/have problems with deadlines?
  • Share an example of how you were able to motivate employees or co-workers.
  • How would you describe your listening skills?
  • What do you do if you disagree with your boss?
  • Tell me about a time you had a conflict with someone within the organization.
  • How do you motivate the team to give 100% on a project, even when they are not behind management?
  • Tell me of a time you took a leadership role without being asked.
  • Give an example of how you set goals.
  • What is your problem solving strategy?
  • What happens when you do not meet your goals?
  • What is your relationship with co-workers? How do you handle conflict?
  • What would make you postpone making a decision?
  • How do you handle being interrupted? Provide an example of how you handle it.
  • How do you fit into a team?

Behavior that Can Cost Managers their Job

December 1st, 2014

One of the most frustrating aspects of working in any corporation is being stepped over for a promotion. Another example would be the manager who solves problems, reduces turn over, increases revenue, brings the restaurant out of the dark ages, and then is fired despite their efforts.

1. A Poor Behavior Fit

Their skills, experience, and abilities are not in question. You’ve never done anything to cause conflict in the team. But there is an underlying tension. Your vision doesn’t match the rest of the teams. They see problems in all their proposals, and they find your suggestions petty and not worth a response.

Your successes receive no affirmation while other team members receive approval and validation for just ‘doing their job.’ This candidate is not a good behavioral fit for the team.

2. Poor Personality Fit

Everyone has their own attitude. These can be defined as driver, casual, energetic, artistic, friendly and outgoing, reserved and sophisticated. There is no right or wrong personality type. Each one will fit into different organizations. 

Honesty in the hiring process can prevent this. However, if you do find yourself in an organization where you don’t fit with everyone else, use the situation as a learning experience. The communication and motivational skills learned here will be an excellent addition to your resume.

3. Spotty Attendance/ Job Jumping

This can be a career killer for a manager. Whether the disappearing act is the result of your personal life, spotty attendance due to health issues, or dissatisfaction with your job this behavior can haunt a manager for the rest of their career.

Job jumping is most damaging lack of commitment. It can destroy a restaurant manager’s career.

4. Independence – irresponsibility – Diva Attitude

A manager who ignored procedures and policy can alienate the team, bosses, and customers. The hospitality industry needs team players who can work together to reach a common goal – outstanding customer service.

No one can be above the team. A sense of entitlement can destroy a team’s moral and set back projects. Reckless and indifferent behavior can also place the restaurant at the risk of a law suit.

A manager may see themselves as the driving force behind a restaurant’s success. But the bosses may see this same person as a problem and the cause of increased turn over or decrease in loyal patrons.

5. Negative Attitude

Negativity is contagious. The biggest problem is toxic conversation. Within a very short time the entire workforce is back stabbing, badmouthing management, and being disrespectful to customers. Whether this fear is real, or only a possibility, the bosses cannot afford to take that risk.

6. Illegal activities

It is very difficult for a hiring manager or recruiter to identify an employee who bends the law.

7. Poor Communicator – Indecisive Manager

As a rule, direct communication is the vital to management. Once a manager discovers a problem, it's critical that they take action instead or the problem will fester and get worse. Sometimes only waiting a few days before taking action can cost a restaurant hundreds, or thousands, of dollars.

8. Poor Emotional Control

A moody manager may not see themselves as a problem. They get the job done. They meet goals. They follow procedures. They motivate. But lack of control, and emotional outbursts, can cause an undercurrent that eventually sours the team’s moral.


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