4 warning signs for potential hires

reviewing application

Times have changed, but two documents still have the power to paint an early picture of a job candidate’s desirability: a cover letter and resume. Based on them, fewer than half of applicants make it past the initial selection process, according to a 2015 CareerBuilder study. Here are some red flags foodservice operators should look out for and why during these initial screenings.

1. Mass-produced applications

“The biggest problem I see is that cover letters are not individualized for the position,” says Judy Gipper, director of dining services at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. “We’ve gotten letters that are dated from two years ago or are for positions we don’t even have openings for. To me, that shows they really don’t care if they get the job or not.”

2. Apathetic language

An applicant’s excitement about the position needs to come through in the resume and cover letter, says Sara Simmerman, food service supervisor at Huron Valley Schools in Oakland County, Mich. “At least one paragraph should describe what they have done in the past and their goals for the job they are applying for,” she says. “It shows passion. I’m not looking for someone who cannot bring some kind of excitement to the table.”

3. Misspelled materials

Gipper says it takes her a very short time to figure out if an applicant is a professional. “The resume is how they are expressing themselves,” she says. “At a minimum, it should be proofread.”

4. Limited availability

On-site foodservice requires flexibility, says Theresa Nash, director of food and nutrition services at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. So she starts by ruling out any employee with a very limited availability. “Anyone who says, ‘I can’t work weekends,’ or can only work certain hours tends to be very difficult,” she says. “We know if we hired them, we are already putting ourselves in a box.”

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