Early in her career, Patrice wrote a book and taught classes on how to land a job – covering everything from resume writing to interviewing skills. In this section she shares some of her vast knowledge which has helped thousands of people successfully land their dream job

 

Professional Dress Tips


You have 1 chance to make a first impression!
Talk to your recruiter before the interview, you can ask them about the dress code in the workplace and choose your outfit accordingly.

  • Don’t forget the little things. Shine your shoes, clean nails, no pet hairs, holes or stains on your clothes.
  • For men: make sure your shirt doesn’t look like it just came out of the dryer!  Pressed dress slacks and shirt.  General Managers should always wear a tie – preferable in a red tone.  A jacket and tie are optional for an assistant manager.  Starched Dockers are appropriate.
  • For women: professional attire – dress slacks or skirt.  Professional shoes.  Moderate make-up.

Compensation & Benefits

First interviews are a “get to know” interview. Unless the client asks you directly, never bring up salary and benefits on the first interview.

  • On the first interview you must convince the client that you can provide value to the company and you must show enthusiasm for the job.
  • If asked about compensation never use what we call a “hard” number. Simply state what you are making currently or in your last position, re-express your interest in the job, and simply state that you would seriously consider their best offer.
  • Listen to your recruiter. Your recruiter works with these clients every day and will inform you of a realistic range to expect from the company and for your current experience level.
  • We won’t send you out for an interview where the compensation package doesn’t fit the range you are currently receiving.
  • Asking for more compensation than your experience or the position warrants will swiftly eliminate you from consideration.
  • If you are currently unemployed, don’t expect an offer equivalent to what you were making. Sorry, but these are the facts of life.

Common Interview Questions

Tell me about yourself.” 
Don’t recite your autobiography. Instead, describe your greatest skills as a hospitality manager, accomplishments and qualifications as they relate to the job requirements. Indicate how you have saved them time and money or implemented any new procedures.

“Describe your strengths and weaknesses.”
This one’s a classic. Describing your strengths is always the easy part. Try to pick out a few strong points and back them up with specific examples, such as “why” you are a team player. Now comes the hard part. Zooming in on your weaknesses is never pleasant, so don’t dwell on them. And make sure to turn negative experiences into positive ones by reflecting on lessons learned. REFRAIN FROM BEING A “PEOPLE PERSON”. You can do better than that.

“Where do you want to be in three to five years?” 
This is essentially a hospitality career goal question. However, the interviewer might also want to see if you’re the type to jump ship in six months. Try and ease their concerns by stating your desire to progress within the position and company. PLEASE MAKE SURE THAT NO CONVERSATION OF RETURNING TO SCHOOL OR OPENING YOUR OWN RESTAURANT COMES INTO THE CONVERSATION. It raises a RED flag. This will only turn the company off. It will appear to them that you are not a long-term manager. LONG TERM goals need to include you working for the company with which you are interviewing and THAT is all.

“What made you decide to apply for this position?”
Briefly explain how your current restaurant management skills match the stated requirements for the position. Be sure to include how you were attracted to the organization based on what you discovered while researching the company.  Make certain you have visited the website and eaten in their restaurant recently.

“Describe your major successes or failures.”
Use the same strategy as in the strengths and weaknesses question. Recount scenarios and anecdotes about how you achieved success. On the flip side, downplay your failures by discussing how you used them to better understand a business challenge or life lessons.

“I noticed you have had three different jobs in the past four years. Why did you make so many changes in such a short period of time?”
If you have a history of job-hopping, employers are going to notice and ask about it. The best thing to do is focus on the positives. Starting with, “My boss was a total jerk,” is not a good way to get the ball rolling. Instead, say something upbeat like, “I was looking for a bigger challenge,” or “I wanted to enhance my skills.” If you were fired from a job, don’t lie about it; inevitably it will come back to haunt you.

“What do you know about XYZ Company? Or the industry in general?”
Once again, this is where your company research will come in handy. Make a positive impression by demonstrating your knowledge along with the fact you did some homework prior to the interview.

“What would your peers/boss say about you?”
Concentrate on positive relationships you have developed with various types of people from peers to management. Now is also a good time to site examples of how you have helped others or worked in a team environment.

“Tell me how you prioritize projects when you have several assignments due at one time.”
This question addresses your organizational skills. Be sure to give examples of deadlines you have met under pressure and how you accomplished the required tasks.

“Why should we hire you?”
This is one of the most basic questions. If you have prepared for the interview, it should be an easy one to answer. Tie together your top accomplishments and experiences relative to the position you are applying for, along with reasons why you are different from your peers.

“Based on our discussion, what questions do you have about the company or position?”
Hopefully, you took our advice when we told you about what to ask the employer. Even if the interviewer did a fantastic job explaining the facts, you should always have some additional questions to pose. Try personalizing it by asking what drew them to the company and their vision of where the corporation is going.

“What kind of salary are you expecting?”
It’s best to say “my recruiter told me the range of the position and I am fine with that.  I’m more interested in growing with your company for the future than what I will earn tomorrow.”

Interview Preparation

You have your job interview scheduled – congratulations!  Now it’s time to prepare and we’ve got you covered.  What’s the most important part of the interview?  The time you spend preparing for it.

  • Research the company so you can go into your interview understand the requirements of the job and what you bring to table that would benefit their organization.
  • For hospitality interviews – make sure you have visited the location and eaten in the restaurant.
  • Think about examples that showcase your accomplishments and be prepared to tell stories.
  • Practice! Actually practicing your answers out loud is a very effective way to prepare.
  • Your recruiter will give you actual questions to be prepared for and will role play with you to ensure your success!

Before the Interview

An interview is really an audition!

Be prepared! Before entering, take a deep breath. Relax. It’s Showtime! Put a smile on your face and walk in with confidence. Introduce yourself to whomever greets you and inform the person the reason for you being there.  Everyone wants to see the face their customer will see – friendly, relaxed and outgoing.

  • Make eye contact and always have a firm handshake.
  • Take a seat. Relax, but sit up straight. Don’t fidget. Act like you belong there.
  • Plan your schedule so that you can arrive 10–15 minutes early. Map out your route to the interview location so you can be sure to arrive on time. Consider doing a practice run. If you’re taking public transportation, identify a backup plan if there are delays or closures.
  • When you arrive early, use the extra minutes to observe the workplace dynamics.

Resumes

  • Format your resume wisely – list months/dates for all jobs. Explain any gaps in employment.  Include “reason for leaving” for each position.
  • Identify accomplishments not jobs job descriptions
  • Quantify your accomplishments – what benefit was there to your employer
  • One resume does not fit all – cater your resume to a specific industry and position

Always bring at least 2 copies of your resume. Often the employer is working from a faxed copy or has misplaced it or in some cases hasn’t received one.  Offer a clean copy to your interviewer. Keep the other copy in front of you to assist you in remembering dates and details as the employer goes through your resume.

You are going to do such a good job on this interview that the interviewer may want you to meet and interview with the next level of interviewer that day.

References

Have a typed copy of your references. Minimum of 3.

  • These must be professional references. Not your Aunt Sally who has always thought you have the most adorable dimples!
  • Provide names, position, company and phone number of each reference.
  • The less work you make your interviewer do in squeezing this information out of you as you nervously fumble through scraps of paper, matchbook covers, cocktail napkins, etc., just might have a bearing on your candidacy.
  • Don’t forget to inform your references that you are using their names as references and prepare them for phone calls verifying employment

Enthusiasm

Everyone likes the feeling of being wanted. Show enthusiasm!

  • Don’t appear to be what we in the business call a “shopper” or a “tire kicker”. The “What can you do for me?” approach to interviewing, even in this full-employment economy, gets you a quick exit to the front door. (Sometimes the back door, if you’re particularly offensive).
  • ALWAYS MAKE CERTAIN THAT THE COMPANY WITH WHICH YOU ARE INTERVIEWING FEELS LIKE THEY ARE YOUR FIRST CHOICE, NO MATTER WHAT OTHER COMPANIES ARE INVOLVED.
  • Always remember to thank the interviewer for his or her time and remember to get his or her card.

What Candidates Say About Patrice & Associates

  • Karen was amazing and very helpful through the interview process with my CEO management opportunity. Karen helped and coached me to prepare myself for the interviews. With Karen's help and my experience I feel that it was a perfect fit for Me.  It's pretty awesome to come back to work in my home town and connect to the community again 2o years later.  It awesome to be close to my family and old friends. I'm happy and proud to say that I'm working for a company that values and cares for there employees. I feel like this is a great opportunity that will open doors for my future. Thank you for your time And big thank you to Karen, she is amazing! Ron G Karen was amazing and very helpful through the interview processChief Experience Officer, BC
  • I am grateful for my experience working with Cara, she was awesome! Always easy to reach via texts, emails and phone. It felt like Cara was on my side and wanted what was best for me. Wrote an amazing resume. She helped set me up with all my interviews, provided interview coaching to help me land the job. She also checked on me completely throughout my whole experience. The best part is how she kept in constant contact with me throughout the process, so I was never left wondering and was very supportive throughout the interview process. I'll definitely highly recommend her in the future! Sincerely, Andrea I am grateful for my experience working with Cara, she was awesome!
  • "I was very lucky to get recruited by Cara and the Patrice and Associates team. From start to finish Cara made me feel like I was the right person for this new step in my career. She was very easy to talk to and brought the best out of me when it came to preparing for my interview. I couldn't have asked for a better person to help with this transition and this great opportunity would never have happened without Cara. Thanks!!" - Chuck A I couldn't have asked for a better person to help with this transition
  • I must say at first I was a little skeptical on what Stephanie was doing with my resume but now after seeing the results I am so glad listened instead of reacting. I will definitely continue with this company and I've already started to recommend Stephanie and what she can and is more than willing to do for each individual.

    Eddie Zepeda I've already started to recommend Stephanie
  • During my 20+ years career in hospitality I had the opportunity to work either directly or indirectly with several recruiting firms and individuals. My most recent job search lead me to Bruce Leininger with Patrice and Associates. Bruce is one of those rare individuals who combines needs of the employer with knowledge and skills of the job seeker. He sees both perspectives, analyses where there is common ground between employer’s culture and applicant’s strengths, then delivers a candid assessment to both parties. Bruce was relentless in pursuit of job opportunities and in finding the “right fit” for my career profile. EVERYTHING that Bruce said and promised in his introduction to me was delivered, and even MORE! Most importantly I truly felt that Bruce was genuine, understanding and caring in regards to my specific needs and goals. As far as I am concerned when it comes to recruiters, there is Bruce and then there’s everyone else. Ned Mirkovic, Hospitality General Manager When it comes to recruiters, there is Bruce and then there’s everyone else.