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The Shadow Shift is increasingly becoming an important part of the interview process.  It is the opportunity for your potential employer to place you into situations that you will face if you accept a job with them.  This is also a time for you to know if their company is one that you like.  It is an opportunity for you to gain a perspective of the culture of the company as well as the customer base.  It can be awkward and one of the most common questions I get from candidates is “what can I expect from the shadow shift?”.  It is a good question and one that deserves attention.  It is difficult to narrow down all the things you should acknowledge as different companies look for different traits.  However, there are a few things all companies are seeking.  Let’s first address those common characteristics.

  • Energy that translates to those around you
  • Enthusiasm for your chosen vocation
  • Excellence in customer service and employee relations
  • Experience in common restaurant duties
  • Engaging personality

Five-E's

With those things in mind, here are 5 practical tips for the shadow shift.

  1. Dress appropriately.  Ask your point of contact (usually a company recruiter) what appropriate dress is for your time in the restaurant.  If you are unable to get this information, generally business causal with appropriate shoes for the restaurant will work.
  2. Plan well.  Pay attention to the location of the restaurant.  Make sure it is a good distance from your current place of employment.
  3. Research thoroughly.  Take a few minutes to research your potential employer.  Take a quick glance at the menu as well as any articles that may have been recently published.
  4. Introduce yourself immediately.  When you get to the restaurant, find the senior ranking manager on duty.  Introduce yourself with a firm handshake and eye contact.
  5. Work hard.  Every company is different as to what visiting potential managers are allowed to do in the restaurant.  However, ALL restaurants have common tasks.  Find those tasks (i.e.: busting tables, greeting customers, checking bathrooms, trash etc).  Be proactive and just complete those tasks.

The shadow shift is important, prepare for it by remembering these things and you will be pleased with the outcome of your visit.

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