Stop me if you have read this before:  The first thing employers and recruiters look for in an applicant is quality. The second is stability. This is done with a quick scan of dates and locations. If the ratio of years  to jobs  is less than about 1.5 (That is, a new job every year or less) most of us will pass and go onto the next, even though that chef’s background is not nearly as exciting.

I just took a second look at a resume I passed over two months ago, knowing that  I could not present  his  background of short stints in great locations to any of my clients. Being a bit disappointed about it, I read further into the resume hoping for something that would make  him a viable candidate. This is what I read.

3/2010-3/2011   Sous Chef                         The Priory:
Award winning restaurant at the Winnepeg Resort and Spa. (and so on)
4/2011 – 3/2012 Chef de Cuisine            The Rectory:
Three meal restaurant at the Winnepeg Resort and Spa. (duties,etc)
4-/2012 – present Chef de Cuisine         Jacob’s Ladder
Michelin star dining room at the Winnepeg Resort and Spa. (and so on)

He has been in the same location for 3 ½ years – which I missed, as all I saw were about 11 jobs in the past decade.

I feel less bad about missing the details knowing that my clients would have missed it, too. I  have had to explain similar resumes to my clients too many times to believe they will be faster than I am on the pickup. In fact, I frequently make notes in their emails that kitchen a, b and c were either all on the coat tails of a mentor or all belonged to the same company, and I still have to explain it. That’ s my job, but my candidates would do themselves a great favor it they would stop expecting everyone to connect their resume dots;

The Point: If your background includes multiple properties under the same company, chef or group or within the same hotel or resort, make it very clear on your paper.

Here’s how:

3/2010 – Present Winnepeg Resort and Spa (Five Diamond Property)
Sous Chef : The Priory – Award winning restaurant.
Chef de Cuisine: The Rectory – Three Meal Restaurant
Chef de Cuisine: Jacob’s Ladder – Michelin star dining room

See? Same information, but presented so that the reader cannot possibly miss your remarkable tenure. With this three year stint, by the way, and your collection of ten top restaurants you become immediately irresistible to the job of your dreams. Really. You move from potentially explosive material (“gee..what’s wrong with this guy..he can’t stay anywhere more than a year”) to absolute catnip. Trust me. I know this stuff.

How easy was that?  This holds true whether you worked for five hotels in a management group,  half a dozen restaurants in a corporation or have moved around from unit to unit in a resort. A slight variation shows that you followed your mentor for five  years. (2009 – 2012  Worked under Chef Adam Fritzenphal at the following properties).  Add whatever details the next employer will want to know – who you worked under,  the nature of the product you served, your duties.

I have said before that it is in your best interest to consider everyone receiving  your resume either tired, stressed or even stupid and to kindly make your positive points crystal clear to them/us. Putting things clearly is your job. We don’t miss every beat, but you don’t want the beat we miss to be you.

I recently placed a short job alert on LinkedIn, ending in the following instructions:

“IMPORTANT; Only legal US residents can be considered. Applications must be made via the web site. (Consider it a test on intelligence and ability to follow instructions)”

The response consisted almost entirely of invitations to “please contact me”, “please send information about your firm” (This, of course, would be on the web site), and “please view my profile”. Only one person sent me a resume.

This is almost standard practice. Paid ads on Craigslist explicitly requiring resumes and elsewhere explicitly requesting resume submissions through our contact page receive responses such as “I am a widely respected Chef. Please view my web page” or get my resume on line, or call me ASAP.”

I am a recruiter. I recruit chefs for my supper, a process not much different from recruiting lace tatters or attorneys, I imagine – a client calls me with a profile, which I try to fill from my current stock of professional acquaintances, while I also do a bit of outreach. My job is then to amass a group of likely candidates matching the employer’s laundry lists of preferences and needs, screen them for any number of qualities from career path to star power to palate to  to common sense and then provide those who seem most likely to the employer to be discussed further. Among the qualities I seek are attitude, intelligence and ability and willingness to follow instructions.

If I provide instructions on applying for the job and you don’t follow them, you will not be my candidate, because 1) You did not take the time to read the entire alert, so you are not detail oriented, 2) You are arrogant enough to feel that you are not under the same constraints as others seeking the position, 3) You are simply not very sharp and did not understand the instructions, 4) You think I am stupid and won’t notice that you are playing me or 5) You,  yourself, are stupid. None of these are mutually exclusive, by the way. It is quite possible to encompass all of these qualities at once. So why ever would I want to send someone like this to my clients?

While I have been taking advantage of applicants’ failure to comply with my requests, I now learn that many HR departments are using instruction compliance in a far more sophisticated manner.

They actively create  instructions to weed out candidates. Candidates are provide with several directives: Please use the job description and number as your subject line. Please include a short paragraph on  the reason for your interest in this job and why you feel it is appropriate for you / you are appropriate for it. Keep your sentence under five lines.

Anyone not focused or intelligent enough to follow instructions is automatically excluded from the consideration. The wheat is immediately separated from the chaff.

Instruction based weeding can be more complicated: Once an application is accepted for consideration a questionnaire may be sent. Again, if the applicant does not fill out the questionnaire or send it back in time, they are excluded.

The first goal is to see if the candidate takes the time to think about the position offered. Neither a recruiter nor an HR department likes to waste time on candidates who expect positions to fall from trees – asking for candidate input in return for a responsible position makes great sense. An invested candidate is always a better candidate. What the reduced pool of candidates write is then a valuable tool for further consideration.

In some cases the instructions are negative: Please do not send pictures. Please send your application only as a Word document or a PDF.  That too, is a test, whether intended or not.

What this means to you: If  instructions are presented with a job description, you must follow them. Read them carefully, so that you know what is required, then do it exactly as requested.. If not you will probably not make it to the main selection process.

 Good luck with  your career.

 

 

 

 

 

(Scams 3.0,)

Working with Linkedin to locate candidates who fit my clients’ needs, I instead continue to encounter an ever more irritating series of scams coupled with a dispiriting revelation of the general level of intelligence around the world. Potential fraud victims respond to even the most obvious scheme with the internet job search equivalent of “Me! Me! Choose Me!”.  (Please View My Profile), occasionally providing email addresses, phone numbers and other personal information. (More of which they will happily offer when the con artist contacts them.)

The most recent example:

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE Looking for the following posts

TitleAll Bar ManagementButlerChairman/CEOChef de PartieChefs & CooksChefs – CommisChefs – Executive/HeadChefs – PastryChefs – SousConciergeChief EngineerConference/BanquetingDevelopment ManagerEAMExecutive Assistant/PAF & B ManagementFinanceGraduateGuest Relations OfficerGeneral ManagerHotel ManagementHousekeepingHuman ResourcesIT ManagerLeisure ManagementLeisure StaffNight ManagerOperations Manager/DirectorPorterReception/ConciergeRestaurant ManagerRevenue .

Either the Same or a fellow Con Artist has added a similar ad for Cunard Lines in the comment section.

These are scams. Cunard, Hyatt, Luxury Resorts, the Yacht London, Holland America lines and any number of other attractive employers do not post jobs as comments or in job seeker forums. Previous posts explain  how these scams work and describe one of the many potential consequences.

Of course you want the jobs, but the people offering them on free job posting sites do not have them to offer, and there are easier and  less dangerous ways of applying for them: Every major player has a web site with career submission postings. Even if these calls for staff were real, you would do better approaching the corporations directly, as a candidate without a fee attached is better than one who costs a company money. (I say this as a pretty good recruiter..there are times when you will do better without us.

So, go to the sites. Here are a few. You can usually find a career or job opportunity page with most major organizations:

Holland America

Cunard

Hyatt International

Marriott

The Yacht London, a frequent flyer on the scam circuit, does not have a page but there are a number of yacht recruiters in Britain.

When not to go to the web site:  If a recruiter contacts you with a specific position, you should let them work with you rather than going to the group web site. (When we rarely encounter this issue, we inform the potential employer, who would not want to hire a candidate who does this).

 Jobs as CEO’s and upper management positions will rarely be publicized, as these are done by very serious executive Search Firms under the radar. If they want you, they will research you (possibly on LinkedIn) and reach out directly. These positions can rarely be approached directly.

 Anytime you see an ad of the sort above, don’t send your resume or provide your number. Go directly to the site (another way to spot these frauds, by the way, is the revelation of the client. Recruiters rarely do this.)

Summary: If you encounter a bulk job posting (listing many jobs at once) on a free job posting site (Especially LinkedIn) using the name of a well known luxury company , it is probably fraud.  You should not send them any information or comment but instead go directly to the employer’s website to apply directly through their career page.

Have a nice career.

It is hard to believe our last industry report  was in 2011, but with a continuing same old/same old depressing and depressed economy, there really didn’t seem to be much reason for it.

During the two years since the availability of space from failing restaurants and landlords willing to negotiate generous lease terms just to have some income has led to a lot of new restaurants, hotel occupancy has picked up, if not quite at the old height, and hotels have begun to open new restaurants with the aim of attracting food focused guests. This has brought a rising job market and a decreased labor pool. During the past two months the job market has turned upside down. Restaurants in New York, DC, San Francisco, LA, Seattle, Chicago and San Diego are vying for qualified staff at all levels, with the most perceivable lack of staff at the lower positions.

The proof is a sudden demand for pastry chefs, the canaries in the coal mine, who were the first to be laid off in 2005 and are now in short supply for a rising demand. Employers who had to cut back (many hotels gave up pastry chefs altogether. Fewer employers allowed pastry assistants) once again see the value of pastry in a competitive environment for butts in seats. The assistants who would have grown into pastry chefs do not exist.

More new restaurants, existing restaurants hiring more staff, hotels shifting from survival mode to competition,  and a depleted pipeline due short staffed kitchens have  reversed the labor to job ratio.

The recent economy has, furthermore, shown smart cooks and chefs the value of stability and commitment as opposed to the risk of leaving safe jobs for new adventures. Fewer chefs are willing to move on.

The wealth created by the widening income gap has created more households of the size and income to require private chefs, removing considerable talent from the available professionals.

The rising cost of living in most culinary centers has created a disincentive for young chefs to circulate between them. Often the educational debt they carry from their training combined with the cost of changing location makes the migration of culinary talent impossible for many.

The result is a rising demand for skilled and experienced culinary talent. A request we sent out for a Michelin Star hotel on the San Francisco Peninsula willing to train any cooks to their standards found no takers in four weeks.

The greatest demand is for cooks and sous chefs, as is always the case. While the offered compensation is currently rising only slowly, we can expect to see considerably higher wages if job/labor pool imbalance continues.

Chefs are demanding and often receiving much higher compensation than that for which they would have settled two years ago. With multiple job offers for chefs on their way up (sous chefs and chefs de cuisine), young culinarians have bargaining power they did not enjoy just a short time ago.

Employers seem to be aware of the situation on the whole and ready to consider reasonable demands.

What does this mean for the job seeker?

-        Currently employed candidates are still more attractive than those between jobs.

-        The increased number of availabilities does not mean that every chef or sous chef will have multiple offers. Since each position requires a distinct skill set, the ideal combination may not appear for months or a year.

-        Changing positions is not as risky as it was a few months ago. If a new position does not work out, at least if you are in a culinary center, something else is more likely to come along in a reasonable period.

-        Increased need of talent means that career building culinary professionals have the luxury of choice. The next job that comes along will not be the last one.  The option of turning down jobs permits more conscientious and successful career building.

-        For those interested in raising the level of their positions to better kitchens, right now is the sweet spot. Many high end kitchens are prepared to take cooks with solid basic skills and attitudes and train them to their standards. The current job overflow offers a unique opportunity to “move up”. Cooks who are interested in a specific kitchen can often circumvent job posting sites and apply directly. The chances of finding an opportunity are as high as they have been for many years.

-      Employers are still extremely selective when choosing kitchen leadership.

-        Any aspiring chef who wants to try his or her hand in another city will find it much easier to make the move than it would have been only a short time ago.

For Employers the changed market means:

-        Anyone hiring candidates is in competition with other employers. Offering competitive compensation is advisable. Hiring a below the rising compensation standard puts the restaurant at risk of having employees “pirated” by others. There is a certain amount of this occurring on the East Coast at this time.

-        When a good candidate becomes available, employers are wise not to wait with a job offer.

-        This is a good time to review compensation and satisfaction levels of existing employees, who are becoming aware of the changing market.

Unchanged rules of engagement:

We assume that the country’s economic recovery will continue, but we are not sure. The last two decades have shown the volubility of the culinary job and labor markets. Whatever happens, the basic rules of engagement have not changed. Courtesy and respect is still necessary when dealing with employers.

Chefs report applicants not returning calls, failing to show for appointments and not showing for culinary try out without cancelling. The fact that you no longer need one job does not mean that you can be rude and unprofessional. We are in a tight community. Respecting everyone in it is highly advisable.

As possibility of multiple offers or multiple interview processes increases, it becomes more important to keep professional and considerate relationships with all parties including recruiting firms.  Offending one employer or chef may bleed over into another job process. While complete openness is rarely an option, revealing that you are close to a job offer with another party is only courteous, before you let the company fly you to Dubai.

International imbalance: Developing countries like India, Malaysia and the Philippines have been minting qualified staff for a number of years now. Many of these cooks and kitchen employees are very eager to leave those countries, but are not permitted to work   in the US, Europe, Some Asian Countries  or Canada, unless special visas can be obtained. This is often an arduous process, which few employers are willing to follow. This has given rise to a number of scams, targeting employees globally.

American geographic differences: Even though the major culinary cities are lacking staff, there are plenty of areas where the restaurant market has not picked up and may not for a year. The obvious conclusion is that anyone in a cook, sous or server position can pick up and move to a place where there are more jobs. This is surely true for cook positions, especially for those building their careers in restaurant style environments. There does not, however, seem to be wide reception for seasoned professionals who have settled into food service positions. Any food professional considering moving needs to take the difference in cost of living into consideration before picking up and driving to a more promising location.  This particular and possibly momentary staff shortage does provide rare opportunities for those whose initial desire was simply a trade to enter the A list restaurants in the A List restaurant locations.

 

After noticing plainly fraudulent postings for Chef / Cook / Food and Beverage positions placed as comments on LinkedIn last week I wrote a short piece on the best way to recognize fraudulent job offers and employment scams.

Judging from responses to the blog, international employment fraud is both more wide spread and more sophisticated than I had imagined. The alumni manager for one of this country’s major cooking schools reported scams reaching into the school’s graduate pool. One LinkedIn group member reported the following scam launched from a legitimate web site offering a position in a luxury hotel in Kuala Lumpur. While it is possible that someone within the hotel was able to perpetrate the fraud, it is more likely that highly skilled con artists were able to pose successfully as the hotel’s GM and Director of HR.

This report indicates the level of sophistication in some international employment scams aimed at high end applicants.  The harm to the candidate was considerable. He is considering action against the Hotel, for which he probably needs to await the findings of the local police.

In addition to the notes I added in italics to the reports, there are a few things candidates for overseas employment can and probably should do to protect themselves. For one thing initiate telephone contact with someone at the hotel to confirm the position before taking any drastic steps – that means calling the number on the hotel web site when the job offer is made and asking for confirmation of that offer.  Do not Skype or use a number or address offered by the person you are dealing with, and do not rely on that person to call you. Use only the Hotel main number and ask for the person in Human Resources.  Do not conduct your business over the contact’s mobile phone. (This is an old trick I use for checking references with occasionally surprising and amusing results.)

It is, furthermore, highly irregular for an employer to ask a candidate or employee to advance money. In fact, that is a fairly sure sign of fraud.  If an advance is requested, do as suggested above and call the employer (again – find the address on the Internet – do not use a number provided by the contact) and confirm the offer.

One other thing you can do is check the contact’s email for the originating IP Address. You will find it in the header. In Outlook check on File and then Info then Properties. In the box which opens look for something like Received: from mail-blah blah blah.com [209.85.212.52]) . Take the number 209.85.212.52 and put it in the search bar of your browser. The search results will give you the location of the server from which the message originated . This is not a certain solution (the mail from which I copied was sent from Jordon using a Google server in California) but if you are applying for a position in Tokyo and the server proves to be in Istanbul or St Petersburg, you are warned.  As stated in the previous post, the mail should come from a hotel or property address – someone@swankysuites.com rather than swankysuites@yahoo.com . Luxury properties can afford their own URL’s and require that all correspondence use them.

Thank you for your reply! the scam unfolded in several steps

1. Ad on Hcareers.com to which I applied- mid August 2012 (Note: HCareers is not responsible for these events. The fact that the perpetrators used a highly respected location for the scam is an indication of the level of sophistication and possibly success in the operation.)

2. Application sent by HR Director of hotel saying I had been shortlisted along with a request for all certifications. (Note: I suspect this was someone posing as the HR Director, not the HR Director. )

3. Interview over telephone with HR and then with GM- lasted over 30 minutes (Again: My suspicion is that the call was initiated by someone posing as the HR Director and the GM.)

4. Three days later a letter of intent on [the hotel’s] letter head with the right phone numbers

5. Letter clearly stated position salary and benefits, the later asked for 50% payment for work permit, 50% for air ticket for self and spouse and 50% immigration documents All of which would be refunded by [the hotel] once I arrived and joined, the reason I was given that the hotel in the past had spent a lot money to get candidates who never showed up due to any number of reasons ie counter offer etc. Note: In reality this would never happen. The candidate is either sent a ticket or asked to buy his own ticket and will be reimbursed on arrival.

6. I was to pay the money in stages which I did

7. I even had my wife fly out to KL with the offer letter and see a local attorney, who said it all looked fine and was a good contract, my wife also found out through friends in KL that HR director mentioned on the offer was indeed the actual HR Director. (Note: Except this was probably not the person the candidate spoke with)

8. I made the final payment and received a work permit on official Malaysian Government Papers duly signed by the Labor Department (These, too, where certainly forgeries – taking the time to confirm the visa via a local consulate would be a good idea.)

9. At this stage I was still unaware that it was a fraud and a scam.

10. I received a Qantas Airlines electronic ticket, 4 days before I was to leave ( Nov 11th 2012) which when I called Qantas proved to be false, that is when I started to suspect that something was wrong

11. My wife was already in KL staying with friends waiting for me to join her

12. She drove over to the hotel and found to her shock that the HR director had left the job a a couple of weeks ago, on further questioning also revealed that they had an Executive Chef on board

13. I had already resigned and given two months’ notice .

I have all the documentation and email trail copies of which have been submitted to KL police

Police in Kl are still investigating, I have had precious little reaction from [the hotel] in KL or at the head office in the US

 See the previous post for more suggestions of keeping your job search safe. Be  careful. It’s  a scarier jungle than we thought out there.

 

 

 

I recently posted a few positions on Linkedin.

In a few seconds a comment appeared claiming to be seeking all staff for the Luxury Cunard Cruise line group. Two group members immediately posted requests to be considered for the position.

His comment was not, however,  only inappropriate (piggy-backing your outreach on another user’s comments ) It was a scam.  The poster had nothing to do with Cunard and was certainly  not advertising under his own name. He was looking for patsies, and he had found two in seconds.

Once in contact with the “candidates” he will have them fill out a very simple form and then respond requesting the fees for visa processing as well as national identification  or passport numbers and the kind of personal information that would not only seem logical for work permit applications but also enables identity theft.

These scams, usually citing luxury properties of cruise liners, abound.  One featuring a photo of a “Director of a group of luxury London River Boats” seeking“Top Chefs”  was appended to every job listing I posted about a month ago. (Luxury river cruises on the Thames?) Despite warnings from group members who had already been stung, at least fifteen responses begged to be considered for the jobs. Desperation makes easy targets.

Another promised jobs at all levels in Canada.

The practice has reached some of the world’s  top hotels and resorts; London’s five star luxury Montcalm has resorted to posting a fraud alert on their career pages.

In addition to minor grifting and identity theft, fraudulent job lures may pose greater dangers ranging from leaving a candidate adrift in a foreign country with neither money nor resources to an increasing number reported enslavement cases.

I also get emails from an offshore group telling me that they can a)get me a glamorous job in the Middle East and B) in a separate email that they can get me cut price labor. The mails come from different companies, but the IP address is the same for both..which means that both messages are sent from the same computer.

There are of course international recruiters (we are that when called to be), but taking care anytime you are dealing with the unknown is just basic intelligence. Not paranoid – just cautious..   Use critical thinking in any job search – especially if that job would take you overseas.

Excitement and hope are the enemies of critical thinking and common sense. If an offer or a come-on seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.  No mater how much you want something to be true, you are your own best advocate only if you look for the flaws in the proposal.

Here are a few things you can consider when you are dealing with a recruitment firm or job offers (or hoaxes).

 

1)      Mileage is a good sign: If a recruiter has been around for a while, they haven’t dirtied many nests.

2)      Referrals will usually lead you to reliable recruiters or businesses: If someone you know has a recruiter s/he trusts, then you probably can as well.

3)      What is the firm’s web and brick and mortar  presenece?: A bona fide recruiter will have a web page and a professional email account. Like jobs@chefsprofessional.com (ours) or john@greatrestaurantgigs.com.  A person working in any company’s HR will use that company’s URL (suzieq@hyattsuites.com) . Legitimate HR departments never use email addresses like RitzCarlton@gmail.com . Corporate Human Resources representatives work out of corporate offices and will have a phone number which is not a cell phone.  If your contact does not supply  you with this information, just call the Human resources office and ask if he is in.

4)      Can be authenticated: Check the person’s identity on Linked in. My information is complete and completely visible. The Cunard poster could not be found.

5)      How are they seeking candidates?  Legitimate job postings do not appear in comments under other conversations. The larger corporations target  individuals directly through their research or have a professional outreach person who sends out group messages using paid Premium Accounts.  They also advertise some positions on larger job boardsl

Remember these companies sometimes have recruitment budgets of hundreds of thousands of dollars. They don’t waste time with small  postings in groups on Linked or any other site.

6)       Beware of unsolicited email: I email people who have responded to previous ads, but I reference their response and tell them who I am. Emails promising your dream job are always scams. Anything promising the job of your dreams is suspect.

7)      Methods of response: All professional companies these days use contact forms on their web sites. You can see ours at http://www.chefsprofessional.com/contact.php .  Many will not take emailed resumes, but if they do, they will take them at an official HR department email address. Corporations like Hyatt may require you to sign up for an account or sign in with a Google or other account.

8)      You should never pay money for a job lead 0r a job referral. You should never give your social security or passport number to be considered for a position. (You may have to provide them when an offer is made.) You should never provide bank or financial information.  A few companies functioning as facilitators for visas like the US J Visa do  – that is a different issue.)

9)      Exceptions: Small restaurants, independent hotels, etc  often do have Gmail or Hotmail accounts to spare their main accounts from too much traffic or to hide the name of the restaurant for any number of reasons. There is nothing unethical about this.  They will always identify themselves a such in their job listings.

10) Research. If you have doubts about the legitimacy of an offer, research the company. Recruiters  may not be able to give you the company name at first, but they should after the job is filled (or if you are being considered). Every legitimate business is on line, and all companies have LinkedIn or other presence. Take a look at their profile -  who else has worked for them. Are they endorsed? (My fans keep endorsing me for cooking, for some reason. At least it is an endorsement.)  Most large luxury groups also post all of their lower level openings and some management jobs on their own web sites, which provides a further method of confirmation.  Cunard’s web site has no cook openings at this time, so the outreach for all positions was definitely a scam.

11) Be very wary of “attorneys” and facilitators who reach out on or via the internet promising job permits.  Most if not all frauds. If they can do something for you, then you can do it yourself for a small processing fee at the nearest consulate. If in doubt the consulate will be able to tell you if the program they propose is bonafide.

Note of caution: If you are dealing with email solicitation Google the page on the web rather than using the link provided. As is the case with less complicated phishing schemes, job hoaxes can have very realistic mock ups of company pages.

Final caution: The con artists who are surfacing in the job industry tend to cite either cruise liners or resorts.  The positions they offer are always irresistibly attractive and international (which allows them to solicit money for visas and identity sensitive information).    If the  presentation of a corporate position seems odd (For instance the recent cruise liner outreach) bypass the recruiter (DO NOT SEND A RESUME/CV) and go directly to the company’s web site to apply.

Be careful. It’s complicated new world, and there be monsters abroad.

Or maybe social media and job search.

I have been on Linkedin for several years, and frankly, I haven’t found many people there, despite my largish stable of “friends”.  That seems more to do with the international nature of the venue, but it may be just me. Every time I reach out, no matter how specifically, I find a flood of messages in my inbox from India, Pakistan and other wildly exotic places with hoards of chefs and cooks wanting to get to the US, which messes up my work rhythm.

This is despite the clear statement: We are unable to consider candidates outside the United States and without working visas.

But this is about you, and not me, so let me get to the point: What I also see on Linkedin and on the other social media sites I frequent is  the following sentence: “Please see my profile”.  Nothing more. Just an order to look them up. ..just  take a moment out of your schedule to go get what I could have sent you myself, if I had bothered to read the entire job description and gone to your web site to send a resume and a note via your carefully constructed contact page.

They also place these on posts of people who ask questions like, “How do I find a job in Sweden”. “Please view my profile.”  There may even be an ap for this (considering the mindless uniformity of the response, there probably is). May I suggest that if so it does more harm than good?

What does this have to do with you? Well, if you do this no recruiter with a brain in his/her head is going to give you the time of day. Why? Because they are careless, inconsiderate and stupid.

You, on the other hand, are not. You have the intelligence and the presence of mind to read job offers or leads on social media to the end and follow the instructions to a “T”. If there are no instructions, you have the class and intelligence to message the person posting the job directly with a very short  note that says “I am interested in the job your posted on whatever.com.  How may I best contact you and where can I send a resume, if you desire one?” Now isn’t that charming? It’s also effective.  The employer or recruiter may  look at your profile anyway  (we do that), but you have at least offered to take the initiative.

That means you are the kind of person I want in my employment..not someone who either does not read instructions or ignores them.

Another Linkedin anomaly: I notice that whenever I post a job other recruiters post something like, “Go to Dan’s Sleazy recruitment site to see the best jobs in the world.” Of course this is superfluous, since you are all smart cookies, but I would say that any recruiting firm who tailgates someone else’s work like that is hardly trustworthy and should be avoided at all costs.  (Perhaps I should offer something on bad recruiters, as I notice them on the rise, but time is precious at the moment.) At any rate, be warned.

As long as we are at this, let’s talk alumni sites. I occasionally mention something about jobs on school sites. I  just mentioned a great opportunity for cooks who want to move into Michelin rated kitchens on one, but as a recruiter I left no name. A student or alumni immediately challenged this, and I explained with a link to this site’s explanation about recruiters why that was the case. The young woman responded, “That is an awful site. It doesn’t do anything to attract candidates.” Now, actually from our statistics, it appears it does, but that’s not the point.

The point is that this  young woman is posting in a place where not only I but numerous employers make job offers. Her manners are wanting, to say the least, and everyone who looks there  has a a chance to see that.  Obviously something else you are too smart and classy to do, but I thought  I’d mention it.

I have been busy filling jobs (The Chefs’ Professional Site is listed on the side bar if you want to know what they are) and regret not to have provided more posts.  This one, however, seems important.

So let me repeat the moral, because it’s an easy one: When dealing with internet job opportunities, read posting carefully, follow the instructions and be respectful and polite. Good luck to all of you. The world needs people like you.

 

 

What’s the difference between a chef de partie and a station cook? An executive chef and a head chef? You need to know this whether you are applying for a job or hiring applicants. Since there is no licensing process for kitchen staff in the United States, titles are movable targets.

Terminology and titles are dealt with fast and free in the food and beverage industry. Sometimes we receive resumes for “sous chefs” who turn out to have full charge of the kitchen, thus be Executive chefs in practice. More often we get Executive Chefs who would be very challenged in some of our sous chef positions. One man’s Executive Chef may be another’s cook. Your title in a position is what you were given, but it doesn’t hurt to know the correct titles.

 “Chef” comes from the French word for director, head or boss of a team, a department or a business. All chefs, in the culinary world, are cooks, but not all cooks are chefs. A chef has some leadership and management responsibility or at least some specialization.

Second, “Master Chef” is not a job title. It is a certification. “Star Chef” is a media creation, which means absolutely nothing. The titles only apply to chefs with European Master Chef certification or American CMC certification through the American Chefs Federation, .

The Big ones:

Chef: Anyone in charge of professional food production from a professional kitchen.

Misuse: Anyone who cooks. That is a cook. Your cousin Winston is not a Chef just because he makes great chicken. Using chef instead of cook. Chef comes from the French and means “bos”.

Misspelling: Chief.

Alternative Terms: Working chef / Head Chef.

Working Chef / Head Chef:

Definition: A chef who works “hands on” in any kitchen. Head chef correctly denotes the person in charge of production, purchasing, etc in a small kitchen with a small staff. The connotation is that this person spends most of his or her time working with the food and not in an office.

Alternative Term: Chef.

Executive Chef:

Strict Definition: Has full responsibility for a kitchen, determines menus, develops menus and recipes, responsible for purchasing and vendor decisions, food safety, menu strategies and  costing, has final say in all b.o.h hiring decisions, trains, schedules or supervisors someone who does, responsible for product, distribution or resources, staff oversight etc.

Extreme Definition: The person in charge of operational issues in multiple units of a hotel, cruise liner or other complex food and beverage delivery system. The Executive Chef may develop recipes or not, he approves all product and supervises a range of kitchen managers or unit chefs.

False Definition: A chef who is in charge of any kitchen or a chef who only cooks with no management or administrative responsibilities.

Misuse: A chef in charge of a small kitchen.

Misspelling: Execution Chef / Execution Chief

Misunderstanding: All executive chefs carry clipboards and none cook. This is not the case. Many are hands on, while others are involved mainly in operational activities. It depends on the environment.

Synonyms and related positions: Food and Beverage Director in some properties where the chef is still responsible for but not active in production, so the chef responsibilities are operational management.

Corporate Chef:

Definition: The chef charged with all culinary development and kitchen operational responsibilities for multiple restaurants in a corporation. Duties include R&D, menu development and implementation in separate units, hiring and training of management staff, equipment selection, development of new kitchens, and much more. Corporate chefs generally travel and spend several weeks at a time at various restaurants.

Misuse: The Executive Chef of Kitchen Manager of a single or multi-unit corporate dining facility. The appropriate term would be Executive Chef.

Alternatives: At the high management responsibility level of Corporate Chefs there is a great deal of inventiveness in title creation. Vice President or President of Culinary Development, for instance. R&D Chefs, although their function is non-operational, are frequently titled “Corporate Chefs”.

Synonym: Executive Chef for the company/corporation.

Misuse: The head or executive chef of a corporate dining room or an executive dining room. A chef working for a company like Bank of America or Google. These chefs are generally Executive Chefs, Kitchen Managers or Chefs de Cuisine, depending on the level of responsibility.

Regional Chef:

Definition: The chef in charge of multiple corporate restaurant units. Like the Corporate Chef the Regional Chef is responsible for frequent restaurant checks, works on new openings, works with unit chefs on occasional hiring, but is not responsible for day to day kitchen operations such as scheduling. Regional chefs may be stationed at a single unit, where they also function as Executive Chef.

Misuse: none.

Alternatives: Regional Executive Chef, Corporate Regional Chef, Multi Unit Chef.

Executive sous chef:

Definition: The direct subordinate to the Executive Chef in a volume restaurant, hotel or other volume or multi-unit property. The Executive Sous chef is in full charge of all kitchen and culinary operations in the chef’s absence. In extremely large properties the Executive Sous Chef may actually perform the duties understood under Executive Chef including banquet planning supervision, ordering, all supervision, training, etc. Depending on the property, the Executive Sous Chef may either be hands on or have extensive office duties.

Alternative: none

Misuse: The person directly subordinate to the head chef in a small property. The term “Executive” indicates volume and complexity.

Sous Chef:

Definition: The person directly subordinate to the head chef in a smaller property or the Executive sous chef in a larger one. There are also departmental sous chefs such as banquet or pastry sous chefs. The sous chef’s main duties are production, frequently receiving, carrying out the chef’s menu and depending on the property some minor management. The sous chef may contribute to specials. Sous chef is generally seen as a transitional position in which an experienced cook who has proven him/herself responsible is trained and groomed for a chef position.

Definition 2: In some hotels the chef in charge of any single outlet may be given the title of sous chef, although he is in full charge of the kitchen and would qualify as chef or executive chef of a mid-sized property.

Synonym: In some cases (see above) Chef de Cuisine.

Misuse: The person under the head chef in a two or three man kitchen. This is generally a cook or chefs’ assistant.

Misspelling: Sioux Chef, Sioux Chief, Sue Chef, Sow Chef.

Chef de Cuisine:

Definition 1: The chef in charge of an entire hotel restaurant with responsibilities extending from writing the menu to hiring subordinates and everything in between. The position is similar to a restaurant executive chef or head chef with the exception that hotels have departments which take care of some duties of the independent chef.

Definition 2: The Chef under the chef owner of a free standing restaurant. The chef owner is usually established as a culinary figure with a signature cuisine. Chef de Cuisine is responsible for executing the chef’s cuisine and most of the kitchen management. It is a highly responsible  position which requires a great deal of kitchen discipline and subordination of the Chef de Cuisine’s creative forces to create the chef’s vision.

Synonyms: Sous Chef, Unit Chef, Restaurant Chef.

Restaurant Chef:  The chef of a single restaurant in a property with multiple outlets. S/he is responsible for the production in that kitchen and may or not be responsible for menu development, hiring, ordering.

Synonym: Chef de Cuisine, Sous Chef.

Kitchen Manager:

Definition 1: The Kitchen Manager is the person in charge of all administrative and supervisory duties in a property with a preset menu. This can be a family dining concept chain restaurant, a retirement facility or a unit of a industrial, educational or retirement food service facility. The Kitchen manager is charged with maintaining company policy and keeping order, food safety, and quality standards in the kitchen. This position involves little to no creative input and implementing all of the provisions of operational and employee manuals.

Definition 2: The person in charge of all administrative and management issues in a free standing or hotel kitchen. These may include receiving, accounting for employee time, scheduling, checking produce and much more. The Kitchen manager may also cook, but the purpose of the position is to relieve the chef from the time burden of operational administration.

Synonyms: Depending on the venue, either Food Service Director or Sous chef for a restaurant.

Chef Manager:

Definition: In the recession many restaurants have decided to try to save money by firing a manager and giving the chef a slight raise. In theory at least this chef is in charge of both front and back of the house and FoH office duties like Workman’s comp. Considering the time demands of a well running kitchen on a chef, it is hard to see that any chef can do those and all FoH jobs well.

Abuse: The term in itself is questionable, as no one person can take care of front and back of restaurants. It requires further investigation of the actual duties and capacity of any person using it.

Synonyms: Chef&B, restaurant owner.

Chef Partner:

Definition 1: This generally refers to the Executive Chef of a multi-unit operation who has bought into the company. As such it is not a title but a definition of organizational structure. The Chef Partner for most operations is depending on the nature of the corporation or restaurant for all practical purposes the Executive Chef.

Definition 2: DA chef who owns part of a property either in partnership with a corporation or with an individual. This person is both Executive Chef and Chef Owner.,

Definition 3: A person who is given a non – equity partnership, that is, a partnership which expires when s/he leaves the property but allows him or her a percentage of the profit during employment. This person, too, is in reality an Executive Chef or Head Chef.

Misuse: The title is vague. If you are hiring, you should ask the nature of the partnership. If you are an applicant, you should clarify it as much as possible.

Synonyms: Executive Chef with non-equity partnership. Executive Chef and Equity Partner.

Expediter:

Definition: This is relatively rare as a title, as it generally indicates a duty rather than a position. The Expediter is the chef or cook who oversees the interaction of front and back of the house, calls out orders, checks food going out. In newer, trendy restaurants it is the person you see standing at the counter, often with an earpiece. In most restaurants the chef in charge takes care of this.

Synonym: Wheel man.

Banquet Chef: The banquet chef is the culinary professional in clubs or  hotels in charge of banquets. S/he generally is responsible for meeting with clients to discuss recipes, often for developing recipes and menus working with the Executive Chef and Banquet director, ordering, supervision and execution. The banquet chef may also function as Executive Sous Chef. The position requires very specific skills and holds a great deal of responsibility.

Synonyms: Event Chef

Celebrity Chef:  This is not a title.  It is applied either to someone who gets a lot of media coverage (As Thomas Keller or right now Josh Skenes) or someone who is a media personality, for instance Martha Stewart. You cannot apply for the job of celebrity chef.

Synonym: Star Chef

Misuse: Calling yourself one. It shows bad manners at best.

More: Stay tuned.

-pastry
-garde manager
-tournant
-poissonier-entremetier

-saucier
-pantry
-Executive Assistant or Assistant to Executive Chef
-chef de partie
-roundsman
-tournant
-station cook

-prep cook

-pantry

-pizzaiolo

-baker-chocolatier

 

I just got off the phone with the third order for a San Francisco Chef this month. “There are a lot of strange people out there,” I ventured. Good chefs are in short supply right now. I knew my new client would agree, as that is why she called.

“We’ve seen a lot of them these past few weeks,” she replied. I added, “..and I’ve experienced quite a few who don’t turn up for their interviews.”

So has she. We pondered the possibility of a web site listing no-shows, so other restaurants would not waste their time, but we rejected the idea as attorney fodder. It’s not necessary, anyway. The word gets out. We (the people who hire people and those who deal with them) are a very small and tight community, and there is no law on earth which prevents us from sharing no shows. You wouldn’t know we did, anyway.

Interview stand-ups show us all a lack of respect which engenders not a little anger. Imagine the owner waiting for you, when he would rather be picking up the replacement fuse for the hood or slipping in a meeting with his accountant. Imagine her seething because this was her only half day off this week, and she spent waiting on a troglodyte sous chef with the manners of a wart hog.

In case you haven’t figured it out, I am trying to tell you something here. It’s short, sweet and easy to  understand:

IF YOU MAKE AN INTERVIEW, KEEP IT.

How easy is that, I ask you?

Realized with horror it was already Wednesday, and you thought it was Tuesday all day? Call and apologize, They might not want to hire you anyway if you can’t keep your dates straight, but they won’t be talking about  you at the next gathering of the tribes.

Let me make this clear: We talk. People call me and ask (which they should not, but they do), Do you know anything about this guy Bob Jones?  Generally I can’t tell them, but if he missed an interview I set up, I will. I won’t say “don’t hire him”. It probably goes something like, I was dealing with him and he gave all the right answers and looked good on the phone, but he was a no show. “ It may not stop them from hiring him, but it won’t help.

So what’s a guy/woman to do, if you have two things going on at once and one seems more important?

Well, first have the decency and courage to tell the second interview that you have a commitment, but would love to talk to them. If they want someone who doesn’t keep his commitments, then they really aren’t people you should be working for. Really? Yes, Really. Decency is something you look for in management staff, and not showing up for an engagement is indecent. People who expect you to be indecent to someone else will in all probability be indecent to you.  Fact.

“It’s not important because a recruiter arranged it, and I don’t feel responsible to them.” But you expect them to work for you for free, so you just hang them out. You have just insulted two people, not one, and we will talk about it loudly, preferably at the next restaurant owners’ gathering. You are not to be saved. Go jump off something high.

What about getting called to work or waking up with a hangover or the husband/wife can’t take the tot to pre school? Easy: Get a number where you can reach them is something really,  really unexpected happens  and call as far in advance as you can and leave a message. Don’t wait until you are over the flu, because that is a clear message that you will not be showing up for work without an alert. (We assume no shows have no compunctions to fulfill their commitments once they are hired. Not a great leap of logic, that).

You decided you really shouldn’t have made to appointment, because you didn’t want the job in the first place? Have mercy, what kind of self serving, beer brained, fool savage are you?  You have two options: 1) Call ahead and explain that you have changed your mind or lie about something.  It’s an exercise in social courage. It will do you good. Or: 2) Go anyway, hear what they have to say, then decline politely. The advantage of plan B is that you meet someone you may  want to work with in the future (It happens a lot) and you may just find out that there are truly exciting aspects to the job.

And what about forgetting the appointment all together? What are you , a space cadet? Have you not heard of online calendars? Ones you can put on your cell phone and your computer? The year is 2013 and we  have ways to deal with things like that. We also have Post-it  notes you can put on  your refrigerator, in case you lose your phone (how often  have I heard that one.)

And really, if you do space the meeting,  you will do a lot better to call and apologize.

There is no excuse – Really ZERO – for skipping an interview or missing one and not apologizing. It wastes people’s time, it makes you look like the jerk you probably really are, and it gets the word out to other people.

In the triage of your busy life appointments for interviews should be at the top, prioritized right after rushing to the hospital for the birth of the baby but before your salmon order. You are a grown up now. Act like one.

I just received a resume from an old friend in the industry. He is interested in one of my positions. I haven’t got a clue if I can hook him up or not for a very simple reason:

Like so many experienced chefs, that is, chefs with over twenty years under their belts, he has chosen to place what he feels is the most impressive information at the beginning of the resume and sort his previous positions accordingly.

This leaves me as an employer or recruiter with the job of figuring out the puzzle..in which direction has he guided his career, what is his current track record, etc.

None of us in the people industry really like playing connect the dots.

Therefor let’s do a snappy summary of the best practices for presenting your job history on paper.

1)      State your most recent job on top. List previous positions historically going back in time.

2)      If you are currently in your position and have been there  for at least three years, you  have no need to give the months, although I still prefer them. Shorter positions, however, should be presented with the months of employment. (10/04 – 9/06 for instance)  This will usually work in your favor.  Your job history is a history.

3)      Positions going back more than seven years or so do not need months, with the exception of positions in prestigious or celebrity restaurants. These should always show exactly how long you worked there.

4)      If you worked at different branches of the same company, you should list the entire time you worked for the company with the separate locations indented with months and years below.

5)    You can (and should) also use this trick if you followed one chef mentor or restaurant owner through more than one property. The point you want to make is stability or commitment.

6)      Simultaneous positions can be listed in succession with a mention that they were both at the same time.

7)      If you interrupted an ongoing position to take a stage elsewhere or attend formal culinary training, there is no reason not to list the entire period of your employment there with a note that there was a six month interruption for whatever reason.

To summarize, my clients and I, or anyone who is hiring, is more interested in your current career trajectory than  your illustrious distant past.

The best you can hope for if you try to put shine on your career by placing the cherries on top is mild exasperation. It is more likely that  you will disqualify yourself for trying to get something past them. In other words, we don’t appreciate being messed with.

To quote a very smart client regarding this situation,  “I don’t care where he was..I want to know what he did with it, what he is doing with it, and where he’s going now.”  Let that guide you.

 

Jo Lynne Lockley

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