From Preparation to The Counter-Offer
This GUIDE was designed to help you in your quest to find the perfect career match. By no means is this guide meant to be the only authority on finding that perfect POSITION , but it is a start. Hospitality Recruiters is here to assist you in any way possible; during your search, through placement, and managing your career.

PSYCHOLOGY TODAY MAGAZINE frequently points out that 93% of what we communicate is non-verbal. Studies show, what people remember are: Words - 7%, Sound - 38%, and Visual - 55%. So when you read this guide, keep these factors in mind. GOOD LUCK and CONTINUED SUCCESS.

Table Of Contents
Objectives and Skills
The Perfect Candidate
Your Resume
The Interview
Telephone Interview
The Questions
The Offer
The Counter-Offer
How to Resign

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The interview is the most critical part of the hiring process. If you want the job to be offered, you must demonstrate your value. This is your chance to show the company that you are the right person for the job. Your future depends on a total stranger's impression of you as an employee and as a person. Generally, you only have 15 to 30 minutes in which to convince the interviewer that their search stops with you.

However, in order to impress them in the interview, you need to be prepared. It is essential to arm yourself with the skills and tactics necessary to sell yourself and not sell yourself short. In order to do this, you must be ready to present your "best you", and that begins with doing your homework. Of course you know your industry, but how well do you know it in relation to the job you want? Should you be thinking locally, regionally, or nationally? Is the company more interested in customer satisfaction or in the bottom line? To answer these questions you need to hit the books.

You should always keep up with the current trends in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry. Trade magazines like Nation's Restaurant News, are a great resource for looking at how companies are doing in the industry and how they compare to others. Look for articles that relate to the companies you are interviewing with. There are also several books available in local libraries, which can help you research the company's history. You might also consider the Internet as a great source of information. Most companies have their own web sites and often have a mission statement or a set of goals available. Remember: The more you know about the company, the better your chances of getting the position.

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Try to focus on the direction you want your career to go within the industry. Learn not only about the organization and the market, but make an effort to learn about yourself as well.

Know yourself.
Know your strengths and weaknesses.

After all, if you don't know what you're selling in the interview, you can be certain that the interviewer doesn't know.

"What do you have to offer?"
Consider what you have to offer the company in these specific areas:

• Building Sales
Guest Service

Keep in mind the contributions you have made in these areas at your other jobs and what you are willing and able to do for this company. Plan on being able to demonstrate how you will fit the organization's needs. You need to be proud and confident of your past accomplishments and be able to relate them to the interviewer without being boastful or self-deprecating.

Skills that are essential for the Hospitality Industry are:
People Skills
The Ability to Motivate and Lead People
P&L Knowledge
Food and Labor Cost Management
Guest Service

Computer skills, although not essential, are always a plus. If your computer skills are lacking, consider a short course at a local college or library.

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The 10 attributes listed below are some of the qualities that companies try to ascertain from a Candidate. These are just a few of the things they try to learn in an interview, from a resume and from your references.
Your Image
Are You Results Oriented
Your Enthusiasm
People Development Skills
Your Career Path
Your Values
Your Follow Through Skills
Leadership Skills
Are You "Hands On" Or Not
Your Preparation

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REFERENCES The next step in preparation is to make certain that your references will validate your strengths. Even if the interview goes great, if your references do not confirm that you are indeed their dream employee, you will not be called back. To make sure this does not happen to you, follow these guidelines for references:

Never include your reference list with your resume, unless it is specifically asked for
Try to have a minimum of four references, the more the better. You need to have a minimum of 2 bosses and 2 peers
References can be a boss, client, co-worker, or supplier
The majority of your references should have direct knowledge of your work performance
Let your references know that they are on the list
Give a copy of your resume to your references, which may be used as a guide
Make sure that your document is up to date with telephone numbers and e-mail addresses
When you are hired, make sure to send a thank you to your references

Damage Control
If you anticipate a bad reference from a former employer, try to nip it in the bud. Tell the interviewer that you had a problem with this particular boss, but refuse to elaborate and instead concentrate on aspects of that job which you did well. Also, try getting in touch with your former employer and make amends. Let your former supervisor know that you are pursuing a new job and would appreciate a fair reference in spite of the differences the two of you had.

If you were fired from a job, try to minimize the damage by writing a reference statement. The statement should be about one page long, outlining your job performance with positive statements. Ask your former boss to read and accept this statement, revising it if necessary. Try to get at least two positive references from other employees within that company to counteract the damage.

Most importantly, do not dwell on a negative reference. Concentrate on those good references and be confidant that the truth about your performance as an employee will become known.

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YOUR RESUME Now that you know what you want, your strengths and weakness, and your references, it is time to start working on your resume.

A good resume cannot get you a job but a bad resume can prevent you from getting the interview and without the interview, there's no chance of getting the job. Since your resume is your primary marketing tool for finding a better career opportunity, extra time spent on its preparation is a good investment. All resumes should be accurate and truthful and should highlight your strengths and accomplishments.

The best way to explain the "rules" of resume writing is to explain what you should always do and what you should never do.

Always print your resume on standard size white bond paper
Always include your significant accomplishments at each of your jobs
Always state the truth
Always use short paragraphs
Always keep it simple, preferably one page in length
Always proof read your resume and have others proofread it, too
Always use a plain font so it is easy to read
Always use plain English. Stay away from multi-syllable words when a one or two syllable word is clearer
Always use bullet statements when appropriate. It is more readable and tends to stand out more
Always re-read your resume before every interview - chances are the interviewer did
Avoid the first person pronoun ( ie. I, me...)
Save the details for the interview

Never list references on a resume
Never include your height, weight, or remarks about your personal appearance
Never use exact dates; months and years are sufficient
Never have extraneous pen or pencil marks or correction fluid on your resume
Never lie
Never provide salary information on the resume. Save it for the interview
Never list your high school or grammar school if you are a college graduate
Never include your present employer's telephone number
Never state 'References Available on Request'. It is assumed that you will have them
Never give a reason for termination or leaving a job on your resume. You are better off explaining it in person

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THE INTERVIEW The interview is the employers chance to size you up. They are looking for the right person to fit into the company and someone who can excel at the job. They are also concerned with your reliability and motivation, so now is not the time to become shy and demure.

If you really want this job: show it! Let your enthusiasm and motivation show through in your demeanor and attitude. Remember that positions in customer service rely more on communication skills than on technical skills.

Before the day of the interview, make sure you know how to get to the interview location. Make sure you have a telephone number to the interview location, just in case something happens. Check your route at the time of day you will be driving it so you know how long it takes in traffic. Check your clothes for tears or stains and take them to a dry cleaner if necessary. Make sure your brief case is clean and tidy, and carry only the necessities inside. Also, make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before the interview and wake up a little early to give yourself extra time. Also, don't forget to bring an umbrella-just in case. Be there 15 minutes early.

In your briefcase, carry...
Several extra resumes and a list of references
An industry magazine or company literature
Paper and pen
Business cards
Breath mints

Hints to Remember.....
Be polite to the office staff, their impression of you may be important
Be willing to make small talk if they initiate it
Don't smoke prior to the interview
Use good posture
Do not chew gum
Shake hands firmly

For good or for bad, your appearance makes a strong statement about the kind of person you are and where you are going. In the job interview your dress conveys success, trustworthiness, intelligence and suitability. Therefore, it is extremely important to dress well for your audience. Remember that as soon as you walk in the building you are in the spotlight and how you look and act is a critical part of the audition.

For starters don't neglect to:
Bathe, shave and style hair neatly - avoid a lot of hairspray
Have beards and mustaches neatly trimmed
Have nails trimmed and free of bright polish
Go light on perfumes and aftershave
Carry breath mints - especially if you smoke or drink coffee
Avoid flashy or excessive jewelry
Avoid heavy makeup
Make sure shoes are polished and heels less than 2 inches
Make sure you clean your glasses

It is important to choose your outfit carefully, leaning toward the conservative when in doubt. Try to buy wool or wool blend fabrics, avoid loud colors and prints and be sure that the outfit is cleaned and pressed. It also never hurts to carry a spare shirt, tie or pair of pantyhose just in case.

Conservative suit, navy blue or medium to dark gray, but always be clear on what the company thinks is appropriate
Long sleeved shirt, button down collar, blue or white
Silk tie matching or complimenting in color or style
Black dress shoes and over the calf dress socks
Don't have a pack of cigarettes in your shirt pocket

Skirted suit or pants suit- gray, navy or tan
Silk blouse- light and solid in color
Mid heeled pumps- black, gray or navy
Non textured, natural colored hosiery

Your voice, enunciation and mannerisms are all waiting to betray you. If you want to succeed in the interview you must present a polished image and that includes the unconscious, as well as conscious, details:

Attempt to speak in a low tone - it makes you appear calm and self-assured
Control the pace of your speech, not to slow or fast
Try to achieve a good volume - not too soft
Tone: try to sound confident and knowledgeable
Practice good, clear enunciation
Keep the "creepers" out - y'know, like, really, uh, um, err ..
When not talking, close your mouth

Body Language - Do These
Make frequent eye contact
Take notes
Nod frequently
Keep your hands out of your pocket

Body Language - Don't Do These
Cross your arms or feet
Play with your hair
Tap your feet
Clear your throat repeatedly
Bite your lips or nails

In the interview, be prepared to tell the interviewer why you are the perfect candidate for the job. Be prepared to back these statements up with facts and instances from past performance. Show confidence in your self and your abilities, but if there is something about which you are unsure, say so. Express your uncertainty but focus on your willingness to learn and uncover the answer. Be able to project the image that the company is looking for by being professional, honest and sincere. Be sure to take notice of your surroundings so that you may make relevant small talk with the receptionist or interviewer.

Remember- the interviewer is interested in three things.

Can you perform the job?

Do you fit the company?

Are you a reliable, motivated employee?

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TELEPHONE INTERVIEW The telephone interview is the trial run for the face-to-face interview and is an opportunity you must not bumble; your career and prosperity may hinge on it. You must be prepared to handle the situation to win the real thing - the face-to-face meeting.

Being prepared for a telephone interview takes organization. You never know when a company is going to call once you start your career search. Usually the call comes at the worst of times, when you are walking out the door to go to work, or at 8 o'clock in the morning when you are sleeping late. You can avoid being caught completely off-guard by keeping your resume and company dossiers by the telephone.

The most obvious point to remember is: During the Interview, the company has only ears with which to judge you, and that is something you must overcome.

Telephone Interview Tips
Take a surprise call in stride. Be calm and ask the interviewer if he or she could wait a moment while you close the door. Take three deep breaths to slow your heart down, pull out all the appropriate information and your resume, put a smile on your face, and pick up the phone again. Now you are in control of yourself and the situation.

You should always refer to the interviewer by his or her surname until invited to do otherwise.

Allow the interviewer to do most of the talking - to ask most (but not all) of the questions. Keep up your end of the conversation - this is, after all, a sales presentation. Be factual in your answers. Brief yet thorough. Beware of giving yes/no answers. They give no real information about your abilities.

Take notes. They will be invaluable to you in preparing for the face-to-face meeting. If, for any reason, the interviewer is interrupted, jot down the topic under discussion. When he or she gets back on the line, you can helpfully recap: We were just discussing . . . It will be appreciated and will set you apart from others.

A little flattery goes a long way. Admiring the company's achievements is, in fact, admiring the interviewer. Likewise, if any areas of common interest arises, comment on them, and agree with the interviewer when possible. People hire people like themselves.

Remember that your single objective at this point is to sell yourself and your skills. If you don't do that, you may never get the face-to-face interview.

Take The Initiative
The telephone interview has come to an end and you are asked whether you have any questions. Ask any questions that will improve your understanding of the position's requirements. By discovering them now, you will have time before the face-to-face interview to get prepared.

If you have not already asked or been invited to meet the interviewer, now is the time. Take the initiative. "It sounds like a very interesting opportunity, Mr. Jones, and a situation where I could definitely make a contribution. The most pressing question I have now is, when can we get together?"

Once the details are confirmed, finish with this request: "If I need any additional information before the interview, I would like to feel free to get back to you." The interviewer will naturally agree or give a contact you can call to answer any further questions prior to the face-to-face interview. Don't take advantage of it. One well-placed phone call that contains two or three considered questions will be appreciated; four or five phone calls will not.

Things To Remember
Always smile during a telephone interview - it improves the timbre of you voice
Treat a phone interview like you would a face-to-face interview
Speak directly into the telephone
Do not smoke, chew gum or eat during a phone interview
Be sure your answering machine message is appropriate and professional
Ask your roommates, family, or anyone else who may answer your phone, to answer courteously, in case a potential employer is calling
If you aren't feeling well, ask the interviewer to schedule a time when you can call back
Answer all calls in a friendly and energetic manner
Be friendly, yet professional
Be courteous to the employer's staff
Be factual in your answers. Brief yet thorough

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THE QUESTIONS Surviving The Questions
The most difficult, and usually the longest part of an interview, is the question and answer period. The interviewer is attempting to find out if you are a good fit for the company and if you have the skills to do the job.

Focus on your accomplishments and skills which relate to the position.

When asked about your salary expectations, express your needs in a range which gives you room to negotiate.


What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
DO discuss strengths which relate to the position.
DO find ways to turn a weakness into a strength.
DO know what your strengths and weaknesses are.
DON'T discuss strengths irrelevant to the position.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

DO speak realistically.
DO mention short-term goals and how they relate to your long-term goals.
DO express the desire to eventually move up the ranks.
DON'T discuss strengths irrelevant to the position.

Why should I hire you?

DO emphasize how your strengths could benefit the company.
DO show your enthusiasm for the job.
DO give examples.
DON'T fall into giving cliche answers.
DON'T convey the impression that you aren't hard-working.

What is more important - money or the job itself?

DO convey your desire for the job.
DO admit money is an issue for everyone.
DO affirm your certainty that the company will pay you what you're worth.
DON'T convey that money is everything.
DON'T mention your desire to purchase a new luxury yacht.

Tell me more about yourself.

DO respond in relation to the position's duties.
DON'T offer a long-winded life history.
Do you consider yourself an overachiever? Explain.
DO give an example where you went beyond the call of duty.
DON'T be overly modest or boastful.

Who was the best and worst supervisor you have worked for and why?
DO put it in the context of work.
DO stress the positives of the relationship.
DO stress that you learned something from every boss.
DON'T bad-mouth your prior bosses.
DON'T bad-mouth your prior company.

More common Interview Questions
If I were to call your former supervisor, what would he or she be likely to say about your performance?

Why did you leave your last job?

Describe a typical day on your last job.

What was the biggest problem you faced on your last job and how did you solve it?

What did you like best about your last job?

What did you like least about your last job?

What is it about our company that appeals to you?

How do you feel about your career progression?

What are some of your greatest accomplishments?

Asking Your Questions
Generally, an interviewer will invite you to ask questions at some point in the interview. If you have questions at any time in the interview don't hesitate to ask them, as long as they are relevant to what the interviewer is talking about.

Don't ask questions about money, benefits or vacation time before a deal is offered. Focus questions on the position and it's duties as well as how the position fits into the department and/or company.

Samples of what to ask ...
What are the Company's long-term plans?
What are the key responsibilities of the position?
What is the potential for advancement?
Describe the corporate atmosphere / culture. (Casual dress, etc.)
What is the next step in the interview process?
What training will I receive and where?
Can you describe a typical day?
Do you know the location that I will be sent to?

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THE OFFER Thanks to preparation and perseverance the interview went extremely well and the company offers you a job. Don't make any hasty decisions. It is flattering that the company wants to hire you, but before you commit to anything find out the particulars.

Ask the company to spell out the terms of the offer. Now is your chance to ask the questions that you couldn't ask before. Find out about the salary, bonuses, when are they paid, vacation time, benefits, relocation package (if you have to move), and all the other perks.

Some Other Key Issues to Handle
• Don't ask for less or more than market value for the position.

When the interviewer offers a non-negotiable pay figure discuss the frequency and range of raises.

Tell the company that you would like to think the offer over until the next day or whatever time is resonable for the position. Let them know you want to discuss the offer with your spouse, because you want to make the right long-term decision.

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You need to expect a counter-offer and prepare yourself for it. Here are the typical reasons that counter-offers occur:

• IT IS MUCH CHEAPER TO KEEP YOU THAN LOSE YOU. There is always a considerable expense when someone leaves. It is costly to train a new employee.

MORALE SUFFERS. Your company runs the risk of others following your lead. Understaffed restaurant management teams are not happy restaurant managers.

COUNTER-OFFERS KEEP UPPER MANAGEMENT FROM LOOKING BAD. Everyone has an ego. Your manager is being evaluated by their ability to retain staff.

1. This is one my best people. If I let him/her quit now, it will wreak havoc on the morale of the restaurant.
2. I'm already short one manager and I don't have another one right now.
3. This will disrupt the entire vacation schedule.
4. Maybe I can keep him/her until I find a replacement.

Here's what you'll most probably hear...
This is really disappointing after all the things we have done for you.
This will really affect the restaurant. How can you do this to them?
Sometimes we just can't tell you everything that's happening. I guess now must be the right time, you just got promoted.
Your raise was just approved.
You're going to work for who? Then they proceed to bad-mouth the company you are going to.


Facts about the Counter-offer
70% of the people that take a counter-offer leave within one year. They quit for the same reasons they originally left for or they got fired.

It's always better to leave on your terms, not theirs.

Any situation in which an employee is forced to get an outside offer before their present employer will suggest a raise, promotion or better working conditions, is suspect.

Counter-offers are usually nothing more than a stall device, to give your employer time to find a replacement.

Your reasons for wanting to leave still exist. Conditions are just a bit more tolerable in the short term because of a raise, promotion or promises made to you.

Decent well-managed companies don't make counter-offers . . . EVER! Their policies are fair and equitable. They will not be subjected to COUNTER-OFFER COERCION or what one may perceive as blackmail.

Having once demonstrated your lack of loyalty (for whatever reason), you will lose your status as a team player and your place in the inner circle.

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HOW TO RESIGN When it is time to resign, you should think about the following:
Make an appointment with your boss to resign, don't explain the reason for requesting the meeting, and do it in person

Make sure you are alone, the door is shut, and that you will not be interrupted

Tell him/her that you have reached a decision and that you would like his/her respect and support of that decision

Hand in a written letter of resignation

Tell him/her that you are giving a 2 week notice

Tell him/her that you are not interested in a counter offer

Let them know you will work hard for your last two weeks

Ask him/her what, if anything, you should say to your co-workers about your resignation

Thank him/her for the association that you have had with them and the Company 

You should remember that it took the threat of leaving to get the Company to address your concerns. A sad commentary for your Employer; the new Company is offering those things without ever having seen your work.

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