Monday, August 9, 2010

How to Get a Fast Food Job

I know your immediate response to the title might have been either:

"Why would I want to do that?"


"That's like the easiest thing in the world. Pitcher Plants are almost extinct and most of them could still get hired at a Dairy Queen."

Both are legitimate points. But consider these rebuttals:

"A Fast Food Job is better than No Job."


"A plant could not get hired at my workplace (not Dairy Queen, btw). You might not even get hired."

Why? Because in our latest round of hiring, which I was very excited to be able to participate in, (despite not being the one to make the final decisions), we had literally hundreds of applications for what ended up being two available positions. I chose most of those who we interviewed, but all our supervisors had an opportunity to look at the best applications, so I'll be able to include the perspectives of the hiring manager and a handful of other supervisors.

1. Fill out the application completely and correctly.

This one is SO important to me. If you didn't bother to look up your previous employer's address, and left it blank, or didn't fill in how you heard about the job, or really any line or check box left blank, you went immediately into the Not a Candidate folder. Why? Because I value attention to detail in my employees. I like to know that when they're cleaning something, they'll do a good job because they can see what the problem is, identify what chemicals or applicators are necessary, and do the job right. I have no confidence that you are capable of this if you don't even bother paying attention to the application directions. In the applications I reviewed, about half failed at this most basic task.

2. Use your grown-up handwriting and writing skills.

Seriously, don't scribble out your responses. Take some time, write slowly, and write legibly. Handwriting makes a sub-conscious impression on people, and it's an impression that you can completely control. Show that you are professional and can communicate clearly. On a similar note, make sure your responses to questions on the application are short, to the point, and easy to understand. When responding to how you came to apply at the company, don't say "I desperately need a job" or "Am applying everywhere." Managers want to know you want this job, not a job. If you're saying why you left your last position, don't weasel. Say why you left and, if desired, add "Will explain at interview."

3. Dress for Success.

Yes, you have to dress up. Yeah, its fast food, so I don't expect a suit, but you won't be graded down for a suit, either. When you show up for an interview, I assume that the way I'm seeing you then is about as cleaned up as I will ever see you. So don't set the bar low! You must look nice. For fast food jobs, a good piece of advice I've seen is that you should dress for an interview in as close approximation of the actual uniform you can get while still being dressed up. Slacks and a polo shirt (not dirty or wrinkly) are just fine. A button-down shirt (again, ironed) is better, or in winter toss a sweater over your polo. Girls, a nice top and skirt or slacks is fine. A conservative, business-casual type dress or suit is also fine. I don't expect dress shoes. I don't expect a tie. But I've interviewed people who show up in low-cut sundresses, T-Shirts, jeans, and other causal wear. This tells me you have no sense of business etiquette, and that you don't even want the job enough to put on a pair of slacks. No good.

4. Answer questions honestly, but not stupidly.

For instance, when I ask why you want to work at our company, don't tell me that you had to apply to keep your unemployment (I've heard this answer more than once). That's your business, keep it to yourself. Tell me something that indicates that you do, in fact, want to work here. I know you don't really want to work fast food, but put some effort into it!

There you have it. Following these tips won't guarantee you a job, but it will ensure your application doesn't get thrown away instantly. Other than that, your work experience and specific interview responses will make the decision. Good luck!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this article! I'm looking for a job in fast food and this is super helpful. :)