Redux: "Help Wanted"

I’d been working on a post about the tenuous nature of the “friends with the boss relationship,” and how it can affect one’s ability to be objective about discipline and rules on the job.  And I have hit a wall.   Any good therapist would say, “Maybe you should take a look at that,”  and so I am.  More on this story as it develops…

An “incident” at work last weekend brought to mind one of my least favorite aspects of being in management:  hiring and firing.  So I thought I’d save some of my more recent readers the trouble of digging through the archives with a redux of a post I first published back in June of ’09, “Help Wanted”:

Restaurant people are transient types. Even if you provide them with a good income, benefits, and a friendly workplace, people are still going to move on eventually. Some move on to better restaurant jobs. Some go back to school, some get what we in the business call “a real job” actually using the degree they spent $80,000 on tuition getting; and some leave because there’s rad surf at Big Sur in the summer, dude. Regardless of the reason, one of the constants in our business is change.

At the restaurant I run we have been seeking a new hostess. Our current hostess is leaving for the “real job” category and more power to her for it. I can never fault anyone for wanting to better themselves, so I don’t feel abandoned when people leave for greener pastures; but hiring new people is a little like buying a used car. You’ve gotta kick the tires, look under the hood, and hope that you are not buying someone else’s problem.

There is a certain entertainment value in reading resumes and cover letters, though. Many are unintentionally (God, I hope it’s unintentional) hilarious. So many people are apparently so clueless about the process, that I put together this list of tips for job-seekers in the restaurant world:

Bring a pen: When you show up to fill out an application, bring a pen. If you are not the kind of person who can think just a little bit ahead about things like this, you are probably not going to do well with the constant multi-tasking required by our industry. At one place I worked we had a ball point pen that wrote with green ink, so if someone asked for a pen, we definitely knew which application was theirs when we reviewed the stack later. Guess who never got an interview?

Put on a tie: Now I don’t literally mean that women should wear a tie, but I use this phrase to indicate that you should get yourself dressed and be presentable. If you are trying to get a job in fine dining, dress like you are going to dinner. If you show up in a basketball jersey and baggy jeans hanging down around your crotch, keep moving, pal.

Pay attention to what it says in our ad: If it says “No phone calls about this position”, don’t call us. It will not make us think you are an agressive, go-getter that thinks outside the box, it will just piss us off. Especially when you call at 7:00pm on a Saturday night. Most of the people who do this have put somewhere on their resume that they “have an eye for detail”. Right. Another criteria I have regarding this is to find out where we are located BEFORE you get in your car. If you have to call for directions ten minutes after your scheduled interview time you might as well keep driving right on over to the unemployment office.

Change your e-mail address if it’s weird: If you are responding to an ad on Craig’s List, and your e-mail resume comes from “onehotchica@aol” or “jedimaster@yahoo” chances are you are not the buttoned down professional we are looking for.

Act like you really want the job even if you don’t: Once I got called out to the podium because someone was there who wanted to apply. I walked out and this guy was seated at our bar flipping through the TV channels with the remote. Without even turning his head away from the screen he proceeds to ask me if we needed any help in the kitchen. Not from you my friend. Another time, I was informed that my interview appointment had arrived. I told our host to have them wait in the bar, I would be there in a couple of minutes. When I got there, this guy is sitting at the bar drinking a beer and smoking. Oh Good Lord. I am not the one who needs the help…

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One Response to Redux: "Help Wanted"

  1. teleburst says:

    Heh.

    I wrote a similar piece on this a few months back. You can find it here:

    http://teleburst.wordpress.com/2009/07/19/a-few-tips-if-you%e2%80%99re-looking-for-a-job-as-a-waiter-but-have-never-waited-tables-pt-2/

    Pt. 1 has some other things as well, but it’s more about the realities of trying to actually get to the point of putting an application in and some employable strategies, especially for those who have never worked in the biz.

    Love the “green pen” idea! Wish I had thought of it.

    “So You Want To Be A Waiter” blog

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