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feel like im discriminated because i dont have enough fine dining experience when applying for new jobs.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

    recently went on an interview for BJs brewhouse. he looked over my resume and began to question why i went from a temporary hire at a fine dining location to a fast casual type setting. i basically had to tell him twice within a two minute time span that i was only a temp hire, and that i did for the experience of getting my foot in the door. he seemed peeved and un impressed, i dont really know if he understood me when i said temporary work or not. but i knew right then i was done for.... i feel like i was discriminated against for working in a fast casual for two years. i get that people want a certain person with certain experience, i do.

       but this was back when the economy was basically in the dumps, i was doing anything i could just to make money so i took what i was given. i feel like people forget that we went through economic hell for a few years and that people had to work at not such desirable places for a while before getting back on their feet. its annoying and i know i cant blame the guy. but do people/ maybe chefs in general, really look at resumes and make a decision based off certain restaurants the person has worked in. 

      just for reference ive worked at Sonnys bbq, ive worked in amusement park food production (which is basically fast casual), and i have about 3 months experience in a fine dining restaurant. 

    im really just over the amusement park food production job, i really want to get back into a place were some kind of prep and cooking is involved. heck even a place like tijuana flats would make me happy. 

 

chefs or line cooks, any thoughts on this? just interested in what people think. 

post #2 of 17

Are you thinking that BJ's is fine dining? More like a lateral move in fast casual.

What did you do in amusement park food production? BJ's has a fairly large menu, all over the place, they are most likely looking for a solid line cook with multiple years high volume experience.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

it was for a prep cook position. the place i work now does a lot of ovens work, and deep frying. but thats about it. not a whole lot of cooking from a menu. 

post #4 of 17
A lot of times, what will make a difference is how you present yourself and your experience. Make sure your resume looks good, application filled out properly and legibly. I say this because i see a lot of terrible ones; if it's from a latino, sometimes it's not as big a deal because you know english is not their first language, but i see a LOT of horrible resume's from american who should know better. Second, when you present yourself in an interview, the chef mostly wants to know that you'll work hard and do what you're told. If you feel like it is a big step up in cooking, be frank about it, but emphasise you're work ethic and volume experience; alternately, if you've been at small places try to gently emphasise resposibilities you had and any times you worked by yourself. Also, make sure you don't say "fast casual" when you mean "QSR." Not the same! Finally, tell them, I want to be doing.more cooking than my current job," this way it's clear you are looking for a positive change; of course, the emphasis is on what you can do for them.
Obviously the chef did not make up his mind from your resume since you had an interview.
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

its not fast food, people actually sit down and eat. a good example would be like a Panera kind of place. and am i missing something cause when i looked up the difference of quick service and fast casual they both had basically the same meaning. not arguing with you, but i guess it depends on the person on what they normally refer to it as, i dont know. 

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kslim View Post
 but do people/ maybe chefs in general, really look at resumes and make a decision based off certain restaurants the person has worked in.

Good, bad, or indifferent it is a fact that the instant anyone sees a resume, they start to form opinions about the author. That is human nature. Close minded people don't get beyond the piece of paper in their hand. Open minded people want to see beyond the resume and get a glimpse into the actual person behind the resume.

 

You will undoubtedly encounter both types during your life. Just keep your head up and stay the course. There are chefs out there that will want to see beyond your resume.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #7 of 17

As far as I understand it

Taco Bell = QSR

Chipotle = fast casual

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

yeah its definitely fast casual then. 

post #9 of 17
 i dont really know if he understood me when i said temporary work or not. but i knew right then i was done for....

**Shrugs** Not necessarily. His decision to "pass on you" may have had little or nothing to do with your past

experience or your way of expressing it verbally. In fact it may have had nothing to do with anything in your

control. For instance, many "openings" aren't even really that-- they're what we called in Piloting circles, sucker

holes. Where they conduct several interviews as a formality, while in fact any real opening has already been

"filled" by someone of their choice (who may or may not have even interviewed) pending completion of the rest

of the interviews. (You did say he seemed peeved and unimpressed.)

 

Its far too easy to speculate after an interview to make sense of it: "If only I had said this or didn't say that or

said it THIS way",  I would've gotten the job." But the fact is, probably not. More likey there're things influencing

their decision we're not even privvy to.

But that's not to say the points raised in your mind by the process aren't valid. I try to learn from em,

(once I get past the "rejection shock" lol ) and silently thank the interviewer for bringing them to my mind. E.G.,

the difference between QSR and fast casual for instance.

It made you think, and even look it up-- a positive thing, IMB.

post #10 of 17

i get discriminated against when i would go for a job interview at Carabas or Olive garden because i have only fine dinning experience we have a slower turn over rate and less dishes each night in fine dinning then the big chains that want to throw out as many dishes into the dinning room as possible

 

 

there is a big difference between Fast Casual and Fine Dinning 

post #11 of 17

In my view, your portrayal of your job interview experiences as "discrimination" says a lot more about your approach to the job and the interviewer than it does about your experience. As others have stated, placement in a job is influenced by a lot more than just your experience. Employers must be discriminating in their hiring choices, but that does not mean that applicants have been "discriminated against." That would involve being denied employment solely due to age, sex, race, religion, or orientation. 

 

I get a lot of people applying for jobs at our establishment. There are a few things that applicants do that assures their resumes go straight into the "round file." I'll list a few here and that way you can determine if maybe you are making some interview faux pas. I'm not asserting that you are, but it's good to know what some turn offs might be.

 

Applicant does not bother to introduce him/herself before asking for a job. A smile, good manners, proper introduction and a confident handshake go a long way toward establishing trust and the possibility of open dialogue between the applicant and the interviewer.

 

Applicant shows up dressed inappropriately-rumpled or dirty clothes, too much makeup, too much cologne, uncombed or dirty hair, "statement" attire, you get the picture. Just show up looking clean, pressed and well groomed.

 

Applicant's resume is full of misspellings and grammatical mistakes. Resume does not include references. Why make me ask for them? You KNOW you'll have to supply them, just save me some time and hassle Ok?

 

Applicant seems unaware that most revenue in this business (whatever type is may be) is generated on the weekend. Asking for M-F 9-5 hours is ignorant and delusional. 

 

Applicant cannot answer simple questions about the menu items or products that we sell. Do your homework. Familiarize yourself with the menu and the overall style of the place.

 

Applicant calls on the phone to ask if we're hiring. If you do this to me, the answer is automatically "no." If you can't bother to do a little leg work to get the job, it's unlikely you'll be willing to do the legwork necessary to DO the job. 

 

Poor posture/body language. Slouching, not making eye contact, folded arms, wimpy handshake. 

 

Applicant is unable to answer the question "Why do you want to work HERE?' It's very likely you'll be asked this in ANY interview for ANY job. Prepare a good answer, don't wing it.

 

I always throw a trick question into the interview. One of my favorites is "What was the last article or book you read and what did you like or dislike about it?" Their answer tells me whether an applicant has an inquisitive mind, is willing to learn new things and think critically. It's also a sneaky way of finding out if they can read and follow directions from a recipe. 

www.foodandphoto.com

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

ive never done any of these. i would find it hard to answer the very last one though. ha. im a complete nerd outside of work the only things i like to watch and read about is science/sci fi stuff and war issues. i think people would look at me in utter confusion if i started talking science to them. and war can be a touchy subject with a lot of people. nothing is really hiring anyways right now, which is more frustrating then any of my other problems. the job economy in general just blows. 

post #13 of 17

To be honest I find the best way to get a job is to call and ask if they accept apprenticeships/stages, show up at the restaurant, resume in a folder, knife bag on, chef whites on, well groomed. Show them you work hard even if you're not being paid, show them your value before they even consider to hire you. Meet and greet the staff, be friendly with everyone, if they like you and you fit in, you'll probably have an easier time getting a job, hell if they like you, they might even ask you to come on board by the end of the day. Go back and then ask if they are hiring after day 3, if not be grateful for the learning experience and ask if they have any buddies who are hiring.

My Resume looks like crap, I have yet to stay anywhere short of on call chef at a country club for more than 6 months. I have know problem getting a job as a sushi chef everywhere I go, and I'm white and in Hawaii with a large population of Asians to compete against, some of them classically trained.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thumper1279 View Post
 

i get discriminated against when i would go for a job interview at Carabas or Olive garden because i have only fine dinning experience we have a slower turn over rate and less dishes each night in fine dinning then the big chains that want to throw out as many dishes into the dinning room as possible

 

 

there is a big difference between Fast Casual and Fine Dinning 

I think the discrimination there is because you are taking such a step down. If you held fine dining positions an employer would look realistically at their fast casual establishment and probably assume you're going to go around rocking the boat (ie. skill development, or worst case: poor attitude).

post #15 of 17

+1 for foodnfoto

 

Just a comment, but cook-applicants who never read any "foodie" books such as magazines, cookbooks, menu engineering, etc. or even watch an occasional tv food show, just might not be too passionate about preparing food.  I get quite a few applicants who don't even cook at home, and/or can't do ingredient measurements or follow recipes.

 

Not that I don't sometimes hire them and try to train them, but it won't be for something that requires immediate cooking skills.

 

I'm very interested in the food at my restaurant, and I prefer to hire someone who shares that enthusiasm.

 

As far as what type restaurants they have worked for, that's less important to me than my feeling like they want long-term employment and are trainable for our menu.  There is a difference between experience only at a pizza restaurant, for instance, and experience gained at a full-service restaurant or two.  For instance, without training, I couldn't presently run a pizza place if my life depended on it.  Primarily I'm looking for someone that is trainable for our products, though.

 

Finally, the bottom line is this:  can the applicant learn to prepare food  our way, and will they prepare food our way.  Creativeness is encouraged, but not at the expense of consistency.

post #16 of 17

Some do.  Some look at you.  I think the better chefs are like Bourdain.  He said he could teach skills.  You can't teach character.  One can be an amazing cook, when they show up.  I have often been in the same trap as you.  They will make assumptions about you.  Do the same going in, act on them gracefully and learn to play cards.

 

The best thing you can do is have no mind at all about them after the round is up. Only you.  Jump hunting is gambling in a sense.  Anything you think made them not hire you, may not be true, and if so, may be a good thing anyways.  In the end, it all just what you thought.  We all needs jobs, but we all need jobs that match up with us; who we are and what we want.  Know your strengths, know your weaknesses.  Sell your strengths, admit your weaknesses and work on them.  Be honest with yourself, and be honest with those you may work for or do work for.  Know when to pack up and jump ship respectfully and gracefully.  Learn how to read the tea leaves.

 

I know I have been discriminated against because I do not have a culinary degree, despite the fact that I have over a decade of real solid cooking experience in mostly very heavy volume settings, and an eclectic variety at that.  Maybe if he deigned to hire me, he'd find everything wrong with me anyways (I probably made as much as he did at my last job so screw him anyways!).

 

There are two people you work for in the biz, ones whose passion is money, and ones whose passion is food.  Same for the employees.  If they respect money, passion for food could be a red flag to them.  You may want to talk other food or ask questions and learn something instead of mindlessly going through the motions.  They want some robot who has done only that cooking, that type of menu, day in, day out, their whole working life.  The closer one is to that ideal, the better shot at getting hired.  If your last job was not the same, they will not hire you probably.  If you care about food, you don't want to work there.  Don't try to fit this to just get a job.  We may need that job, but as soon as you take it, you've also taken its opportunity cost. 

 

If you share a passion for food that the owner or chef have, they will see it if you are just yourself, and most of the interview is to see where you are at in life, as a person, and what they can expect from you.  I've had interviews that were so informal because of the common vibe, that it turned into joking and a good time for a minute.  These were the best jobs I ever had.  This is a rare exception. 

 

Cooking is a business.  But it is also an art and a science.  If you get too far away from one or two far towards one aspect, it is not whole.  It lacks something vital.  Do not go into a lopsided operation. 

 

If no one there obviously gives a crap, it is just a job, that will be the same for you, but it may rub you the wrong way.  Read the signs.  Did they ask you anything that may inquire about who you are?  Do they show you around at all?  Like "this is your new playroom" or is it like court, you may not want to be taken away.  How hard are they trying to sell you on wanting the job?  This is key and ignored.  If you may be what they want, because of who you are, they may be opening a line of assumptive dialogue.  This place is cool, because we love this shizzle, join us.  Or are you forced to only sell yourself?  How much money are you going to make us. 

 

Just learn from every non-hire.  About the people, the process.  The most important skill in this trade is finding the job! 

 

For now I would suggest you forward that resume anywhere and everywhere and see what happens.  But worry more about the cover letter!  This is their glimpse into your very soul.  Worry about the email, it is their first impression of you.  These are what get the talking to you.  Some people may decide already and the interview is just to confirm.

 

Hone how concise and cogent you can be in writing.  Master how you summarize and explain everything verbally.  Know how to emphasize what is relevant about the job!  Do not be generic.  The best writing, and the best speaking, and the best cooking is honest and specific.  Approach it like you and that job have a mutual interest in being lined up, and this is why.  If you write a better cover letter than most other people, you get farther. 

 

Hiring is a process.  First step, pick all the people you want to block from ever emailing you gain.  deeznutz@hotmail.com.  Goodbye.  Txt tlk n teh email.  Nope.  Weak language skills.  Eh.  Generic.  Maybe.  Definitely graduated high school.  Phone call.  Solid all the way through.  Okay.  Then filter again.  Maybe put out another couple of ads, get new applicants.  Repeat.  They don't want to settle.  You may know who you want to hire as long as they don't show up with BEER on their forehead.  But, they may take another job.

 

If you're getting to interviews, you're probably doing these things right and come off one who showers and washes their hands after using the bathroom.  Interviews are hard.  They may take complete control.  They may put it all on you.  They may have no idea how to interview and it is awkward (they'll probably fail).  Be wary of interviews too one-sided.  Did the chef banter about his staffing issues to you and you're starting tomorrow?  He doesn't have a copy of the menu for you to read to get a head start?

 

You may need the money.  But, I have never had good results with this.  Just as there are reasons businesses fail, there reasons they have staffing problems.  McDonald's has huge overhead because the job sucks.  This guy is probably a passive aggressive two faced psycho with no management skills or respect for other people.  A mini McDonald's.  His food probably is probably mediocre and you probably won't benefit from cooking mediocre food anyways.

 

Interviews are tough because you get one shot.  How do you explain this and that.  Oh they didn't even ask.  Should I have mentioned it anyways.  What does that mean?  Did I really say it like that?  You get better.  Keep job hunting, get that down.  But be real and realistic.  Represent yourself truthfully.  Know if they weren't looking for you, you only thought you were looking for them. 

 

The best thing you can do is go for everything.  Apply the same process they do without painting yourself into a corner.  Don't get stuck on a few jobs.  Keep your options open, but know what you will do when you have to make a choice.  You may not get what you want.  But you may get something better you never considered.  Explore.  Don't give up.  Don't mislead people.  Be thankful. 

 

They may have already had someone lined up but had to do other interviews anyways.  They may have weird thoughts about your moves without considering you're recently enlisted.  You will work for people dumber than you that you still have to respect. 

 

Don't get butt hurt 'cuz some jagoff didn't hire you and over think it.  There is nothing wrong with what you've done so far.  It's an employers market, and they take advantage, but it bones them, so they become bigger dbags and honestly present themselves.  The big circle jerk only hits you in the face if you let it. 

 

Many times they have plenty of qualified people and they may just pick one because they have to.  They'd pick 5 if they needed to but one stood out just a little bit more for some reason; they may not put as much thought into it as you will.  I have met and worked for a few weirdos that do the complete opposite of what most employers do.

 

If anything, there may not be anything wrong with what you've done, maybe how you sold it.  Instead of just emphasizing temporary work, emphasize that the opportunity was closing and you wanted to stay working to keep learning instead of immediately being unemployed.  They'll put the spin onto you to sometimes, don't you worry. 

 

You may never know what they really want, they may not even know.  They may be mulling it over and then someone's friend or nephew needs a job.  Easy choice.  The world is crazy and a lot of wasted energy sometimes.  Avoid what you can.  Have more for the next first day.

 

Sorry for the long post.  Hope this helps.

post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raibeaux View Post
 

+1 for foodnfoto

 

Just a comment, but cook-applicants who never read any "foodie" books such as magazines, cookbooks, menu engineering, etc. or even watch an occasional tv food show, just might not be too passionate about preparing food.  I get quite a few applicants who don't even cook at home, and/or can't do ingredient measurements or follow recipes.

 

Not that I don't sometimes hire them and try to train them, but it won't be for something that requires immediate cooking skills.

 

I'm very interested in the food at my restaurant, and I prefer to hire someone who shares that enthusiasm.

 

As far as what type restaurants they have worked for, that's less important to me than my feeling like they want long-term employment and are trainable for our menu.  There is a difference between experience only at a pizza restaurant, for instance, and experience gained at a full-service restaurant or two.  For instance, without training, I couldn't presently run a pizza place if my life depended on it.  Primarily I'm looking for someone that is trainable for our products, though.

 

Finally, the bottom line is this:  can the applicant learn to prepare food  our way, and will they prepare food our way.  Creativeness is encouraged, but not at the expense of consistency.

 

My city needs more owners like you.  They could usually care less.  It is also a crap city to work in right now.  Very few cool places to work.  So many cooks gunning for jobs.  Most of my interviewers have been very uninterested in who I am.  It is all resume and BS to cook American fare and pub food.  The one guy in town who has been up for a James Beard is probably tired of throwing out stacks of application to wash dishes. 

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