News & Events

4 Tips to Gauge Cultural Fit

Recruiter Kristine Stern, offers these tips on how job applicants can better gauge whether or not there is a “cultural fit” with the prospective restaurant.

  1. Check out the vibe of the restaurant. First things first, when it comes to applying for a position in the restaurant industry, you want to be realistic about your experience and that includes the type of restaurant to which you are applying. Do you have years of fast casual dining experience and the open position is in fine dining? It’s not necessarily a deal-breaker; but, it could make for a longer shot.Once you’ve heard back from the recruiter/hiring restaurant that they are initially interested in you, it’s a good idea to get a feel for the place…or, as those of us in the industry say, you need to “shop it.” In doing so, you not only get a feel for the restaurant’s look and overall quality, but, more importantly, you can observe how it runs, what the guest experience is like, how the employees/managers treat each other, the general ambiance and more. Go for lunch, a drink or dinner. Enjoy dining out while also gaining a valuable perspective of a day-in-the-life.
  2. Be yourself. The most crucial step you can take in finding the best cultural fit for yourself in your next position is to be very honest with your recruiter/interviewer. Of course, you want to be truthful about your experience and credentials on your resume/application; but, it’s equally important to be you in your communications with the hiring team. Often, candidates might embellish a story about themselves in order to “fit in.” That will do you and the hiring restaurant no favor. Instead, the name of the game is authenticity. While it’s normal to be nervous for an interview, try to still be as comfortable (yet professional) as you can. Dress the part, articulate your skills and allow yourself and the hiring team a real opportunity to get to know one another through the interview process.
  3. Picture yourself there. Another wonderful way to determine if there will be a good cultural fit for you and the restaurant team is to envision yourself in the job. Now that you’ve shopped the restaurant, had an interview or two, it’s time to imagine how you may do the job! Visualize the ins and outs of the position, the team you’d be working with and/or managing and how you see yourself feeling. Do you fit in?
  4. Trust your gut. Ultimately, even with all of these steps, sometimes you just need to trust your gut. If you find yourself smiling after the interview and at the thought of working with the people you met, that’s a pretty good sign it just might be a good cultural fit. But, if you feel unsure, unsettled or just have a feeling of disinterest in the position, it’s best to trust that intuition and look for a more fitting position.Trusting your gut could mean the difference between a fulfilling position or being out looking for another job six months later!When it comes to finding the right cultural fit for your next position, the road goes both ways. It’s important for both the candidate and recruiter/restauranteur to feel the beginnings of a positive relationship. An individual or company may look great on paper; but, at the end of the day, neither are right for one another. You can assess appearance, attitude and aptitude on both sides; but, in most every case, cultural fit is the intangible piece of the interview process. An experienced hospitality recruiter can help you navigate these waters and find your next ideal, fitting position.