Real-life advice from a real-life recruiter

Archive for October, 2012

Aimee — Whatcha Going to Do?

Aimee attended St. Vincent University for Public Relations. Alas, when she graduated there were not any jobs in her discipline available. So instead she took a job managing a retail store. Given that Aimee is family friendly, and the retail store was not Aimee soon left. She then moved on and taught pre-school for a while, but that wasn’t really paying the bills. A family friend opened a restaurant so she then started serving. At last she finally found her calling! Needing a career, not just a job, she applied to work at her local Eat’n Park. Needing yet more stability in her life, then what being a server offered, she soon entered Eat’n Park’s Management Training Program.

Aimee completed her management training at the Eat’n Park restaurant in Irwin. Her first restaurant out of training was our restaurant in Murrysville. She has also worked at our locations in Whitehall, Monongahela, Uniontown and her current location in Washington. Aimee, most recently, spent a few weeks at our Triadelphia Eat’n Park filling in as a General Manager.  What a cool experience, huh!?  She is the queen of pick up windows. She has opened pick up windows in three different locations.

She loves the people, management and hourly folks, at Eat’n Park. Aimee has made countless friendships over the years. Aimee says some days may be stressful, but you always need to remember the day will end. Keep your eye on the prize and there is always room for advancement. Always think about the big picture.

Thank you Aimee!

Believe It or Not…

Believe it or not, some job seekers show up to career fairs and interviews in leggings with Uggs, miniskirts and flannels. However, as a job seeker you need to forget the fact that you’re in a college gymnasium and dress for success.

Appearance isn’t everything-But it’s enough to reduce your chances of being hired.

According to Kim Zoller at Image Dynamics, 55% of another person’s perception of you is based on how you look.  Now this maybe sounds unjust and unfair- to judge a book by its cover, but we all do it because it is human nature. A person in jeans or leggings may be just as competent and intelligent as the one wearing the formal suit, or more so- but as a recruiter we assess these attributes based on appearance. Now this doesn’t mean you can forget about being prepared for a presentation or interview, put on a nice suit and then you’ll wow ‘us.

Instead it means we look at the total package- knowledge, preparation, and appearance. These are all necessary to make a good impression. I’ll give you a visual, your mother or father has to have an emergency surgery on the brain and the doctor arrives late and is wearing a hoodie and wrinkled jeans.  It’s suitable to think-“This guy won’t be operating on my parents”! Though he could be the best neurosurgeon around.

 Some Companies don’t require conservative dress

This is true. Not all companies require conservative dress and when you work from home or in an office where casual attire is the norm, it’s difficult to get out of that role and into the professional role. So if you’re uncertain about how to dress for an interview, it is best to make a mistake on the side of conservatism. It is much better to be overdressed than underdressed (or undressed). Also if you’re not sure, check with the person who scheduled the interview and ask.

How to dress for success

Invest in yourself purchase a nice tailored suit. Should you go out and purchase a suit for the one or two times a year you’ll have to make a presentation or interview? It’s probably a good idea and here are a few tips on how to dress

Women’s Interview Attire

  • Solid color, conservative suit
  •  Coordinated blouse
  •  Moderate shoes
  •  Limited jewelry
  •  Neat, professional hairstyle
  •  Sparse make-up & perfume
  •  Manicured nails
  •  Portfolio

Men’s Interview Attire

  • Solid color, conservative suit
  •  White long sleeve shirt
  •  Conservative tie
  •  Dark socks, professional shoes
  •  Very limited jewelry
  •  Neat, professional hairstyle
  •  Go easy on the aftershave
  •  Neatly trimmed nails
  •  Portfolio or briefcase

It’s key to dress for career fairs as if it’s a job interview in the company’s headquarters. So remember, your appearance can go a long way toward the impression you make and how recruiters recall you.

BJ… Faster Then the Speed of Light!

I am not ever easily surprised. Seriously, I am not. But I was surprised when BJ told me he was promoted to General Manger in 20 months. Wow! That’s only about a year and half. Talk about a fast tracker. Getting promoted at the speed of light! How awesome is that?

Because BJ wanted to help people, he went to school for Criminal Justice. While attending school at Wheeling Jesuit he worked as a cook, dishwasher and cashier.  He also worked in catering. After graduating he thought “I’m already helping people so I might as well stay in the restaurant industry.” So he then decided to apply at Eat’n Park for an Assistant Manager position. He loved the idea that Eat’n Park Restaurants trains their new management for 15 weeks. He thought if a company would devote that much time to train a manager they must have great standards. The offering of one weekend off a month also sweetened the pot.

BJ completed his management training at our restaurant in Weirton, West Virginia. He was then transferred to our restaurant in St. Clairsville, Ohio. His current restaurant is the Eat’n Park in Washington.  BJ’s management team would say that, above all, he is extremely passionate about taking care of the guests that visit the restaurant.  He also has a great sense of humor – so there is never a full moment on a shift with BJ!

BJ loves Eat’n Park because everyone from the top down is very personable. He gets to speak with the CEO, well like; he was one of the guys. If you do something wrong you’ll know it, but you won’t be treated poorly because of it. It’s not everywhere a CEO will take the time to play an April’s fools joke on you just to keep the atmosphere engaging. Eat’n Park is family owned. You can take care of the right things at the right time.

The hospitality industry is stressful, no doubt about it. But it is also rewarding. You get to work with different people side by side. It is so dynamic there is something different happening every day. BJ’s advice is work on your interpersonal skills because you need superb people skills in the hospitality business. Work with folks and they will work for you.

Looking for a job? Keep Positive… It helps!

Is your glass half-empty or half-full?  How you respond to this ancient question about positive thinking may mirror your outlook on life, your attitude toward yourself, success in your job search, and whether you’re optimistic or pessimistic.  Some studies show that personality traits like optimism and pessimism can affect your overall well-being and the positive thinking that naturally comes with optimism is a key part of effective stress management.

Positive thinking doesn’t mean you keep your head in the sand and overlook life’s less pleasant circumstances.  It just means you’re approaching the unpleasant circumstances in a more productive and optimistic way- meaning you think the best is going to happen not the worst.

Still Talking to yourself … well that can be good

Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head every day, these automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some self-talk comes from logic and reason and some arises from misconceptions that we create from lack of information.

If the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative, your outlook on life is more than likely pessimistic.  If your thoughts are mostly positive, you’re likely an optimist and someone who practices positive thinking.

Are there benefits to positive thinking?

Yes of course there are! Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive and optimism on overall health. Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Lower rates of distress
  • Happiness in the workplace
  • Better coping skills during hardship and times of stress.

Happiness is mostly a choice. I can hear many of you disagreeing with me, but it’s real. You can elect to be happy at work. Sound easy? Yes. But, simplicity is often extremely tough to put into action. I wish all of you had the best employer in the world, but, face it, you may not. But I know I do. So, think positively about your work. Dwell on the aspects of your work you like. Evade negative people and conversation. Your choices at work largely define your experience. You can choose to be happy at work.

So let’s focus on keeping happy…and having positive thoughts!

Why Work While Attending College?

I haven’t met too many people in my time that didn’t really have to work while attending college. But, whoever they were, I always considered them very lucky. I wasn’t among the non working set. I had to work an awful lot while pursuing my higher education.  But, I like to think that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The world’s current economy may not make working while attending school a choice. So why would a student work while attending classes when it’s not an absolute necessity?

  1. The first basic thing it does is help a student avoid a little debt. Yes, even if you are only working minimal hours for minimal wage at least it is more than nothing. A student will owe less money upon graduation – instead of racking up credit card bills, loans, or any type of debt. Student loans come due as soon as the students are out of school and the interest on those loans adds up. So even if you only make a little money now, it will save you a lot of money in the future.
  2. Secondly, depending on where you work you could have some really cool benefits. If you work in a restaurant you could get discounted or free food. What an awesome benefit – FREE FOOD! Make a  little money and feed yourself. Check in to the little perks of a job  before you take it.
  3. Working can actually improve your grades. If you don’t work you may think you have all the time in the world to do something and well…you end up never doing it. You have to work on your  time management skills to be able to balance all your deliverables. But don’t over work. That could ruin your GPA.
  4. Lastly, working gives you experiences to talk about during an interview. Almost all recruiters use behavioral interviewing. What this means, in a nut shell, is that the recruiters want you to answer their questions using the STAR method. What was the Situation you were in? What Task were you performing? What Action did you take? What was the Result of the situation? Working can give you tons of behavioral examples to talk about in an interview.

We talked about why you should work but not where you should work. Make sure you work somewhere that values education.  They may even provide a scholarship program to help support your education. These are the places that will work around your school needs. If the work place won’t work with you, don’t work with them. Find another job.