Real-life advice from a real-life recruiter

Archive for September, 2012

Christmas Star- Ava

Ava, always supporting her friends, volunteered to help them at a Caring for Kids Campaign event.  She didn’t know at the time it would lead to a job. But the General Manager was so impressed with how Ava interacted with all the guests; she soon had to be his newest greeter.  Isn’t that just the best memory of starting a new job?  Ava has had a leading role in every Caring for Kids Campaign since she started her career with Eat’n Park.  She has been a co-chair person and a chair person for 2 years.  She expects to have an amazing campaign this year! GO AVA!!

Ava started as a greeter and soon worked her way around the restaurant.  She trained as a server, cook, on the salad bar, and eventually a shift manager.  Since Ava likes responsibility and challenges, she entered the management training program.  She thought she knew everything before her management training started and was surprised to learn she needed to know a whole lot more!

What she loves the most about Eat’n Park is the atmosphere.  Everyone is friendly.  She can call any Eat’n Park, let them know what she needs and they’ll be her BFF.  She loves that Eat’n Park managers receive one weekend off a month and that the company strives to help management achieve a strong work/life balance.  She brought her mother to her Dale Carnegie graduation. Her mother was blown away by how welcoming everyone was. Her mother got to meet the CEO as well as the Sr. Vice President of Operations. You can’t do that at every company!

Since Ava always likes to share, here is her advice to newer managers:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions
  • Take as many classes as you can, because classes are informational and you’ll put the information to good use.
  • Read everything you can.

Ava is going to keep learning and growing with Eat’n Park because one restaurant isn’t quite enough of a challenge for her.  Thank you Ava!

Interviewing Butterflies

If you’re feeling butterflies in your stomach, having cold sweats or mild panic attacks you may be preparing to be interviewed. But don’t worry you are normal.  It is very common to feel nervous before an interview.  Why does the thought of being interviewed make most people a bit nervous?

  • It’s scary and uncomfortable being judged.
  • It’s scary and uncomfortable being the central focus and having to come up with good answers for whatever the interviewer asks.
  • You don’t know what you are going to be asked.
  • You don’t know for sure if what you say is a good answer.
  • You don’t like talking about yourself.
  • You don’t feel comfortable “selling” yourself.
  • You really need the job.
  • You worry that if you don’t get this job there may not be another chance any time soon.
  • You worry that you’ll sound stupid.
  • You worry that there is something about you or your background that they’ll hate.
  • You hate the thought of being rejected.
  • You think you have to be more than you are.

Now here are some tips to help you handle your interviewing nerves:

  • Do relaxation exercises the night before, or when you wake up the morning of the interview as well as right before the interview. Gentle slow deep breathing is a very good way to help relax your body.
  • Visualize the interview going well and everyone smiling and shaking hands.
  • Practice interviewing prior to the interview with friends or family. Practice until you feel comfortable talking about yourself.
  • Research the company as much as possible to help you feel on top of things so you can answer questions intelligently.
  • But most of all just be yourself – you are fine exactly the way you are and have a lot of great talent to offer your potential employer.

If nothing else works give yourself permission to fail. That’s right…tell yourself it’s ok if you answer every single question completely wrong and come out looking like an idiot.

So get out there and interview!

Half full Angela…

If I wanted to write a really short blog today about Angela it would be… Angela’s glass is always half full. Period.  In fact, that should be her new nickname. If you want a reminder on how to stay positive go talk to Angela it will be a good experience for you. I think I will call her once in a while to top off my tank of positive energy.

Angela was going to college for Accounting when she realized it wasn’t exciting enough for her. She spoke with her advisor and they told her that she was only learning the ground work and that it would get more exciting as she progressed. But, alas, she didn’t see the excitement building so she switched her major to Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management. Her life has been exciting ever since! She did receive a minor in economics.

Her first experience at working at a restaurant was Taco Bell. She admits that at first, she was the worst employee ever. Angela just wanted the money and she didn’t care about what she was doing. At the end of the semester she went home for the summer. Later in the summer, when she called Taco Bell to let them know she was coming back to school and she could come back to work, she was surprised when they said they didn’t want her back. The General Manager told her she called off too much and wasn’t a good employee when she did show up for work. At that moment, she told her manager that if he let her come back that she would be the best employee that he ever had. Guess what… she did become the ideal employee. After her manager saw what she could do, he quickly trained her on how to manage shifts.  She worked there for 3 years. Angela really learned how to problem solve when she managed shifts.

After she graduated Angela had a ton of interviews. She narrowed it down to Eat’n Park and one other company. She toured both facilities. At Eat’n Park she observed team members of various ages. At the other company almost every team member was her age. This was a big red flag to her. She didn’t want to expire at her job once she hit 30. She wanted to grow with the company picked, so she went with Eat’n Park.

She loves Eat’ Park’s community involvement. She has run her restaurant’s Caring for Kids and United Way campaigns every year. Angela knows how to get involved. Recently, Angela attended a walk for a friend of hers and was very proud and happy to see Smiley’s tent there too.

Angela says to be patient. You’ll learn everything with time. Most people jump in with both feet and are disappointed when things don’t happen right away. Embrace change and you’ll always move forward.

Thank you, Half Full Angela!

Today’s Eric

Eric graduated from Penn State with a Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management Degree. He was thinking about what his next steps were going to be. Given that he was such a great networker in school, he reached out to an old college friend who just happened to be a Recruiter for Eat’n Park Hospitality Group.  How great! Soon, he was in contact with Eat’n Park’s Restaurant Recruiter and the rest was history.

Eric started on January 5, 2005. The very next day he got to go to the Convention Center for the roll out of Eat’n Park’s ICARE program. It was a HUGE event. Every member of management attended. Eric thought “Wow, did I make the right decision joining this company!” Eric’s fondest memory was when he was promoted to Manager. Great job Eric!

Eric loves the family atmosphere here at Eat’n Park. From top to bottom folks care about you. They care about the good you are doing as well as the not so good that you are doing. Every one at the Corporate Support Center, the District Mangers, General Managers, your co-workers as well as the hourly team members are willing to help and support you.

Eric says: “To work hard and ask as many questions as you can. You are going to learn everyday of your career. You are going to learn so much you may be upside down! If you don’t understand something ask.” He said he has been blessed by the fact that he has worked with so many wonderful people. Every General Manger he has worked with has taught him something different. Everyone has played a part in what he is today. He is not the same person who walked through Eat’n Park’s door the first time.