How to Dress for a Fast-Food Manager Interview
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Conventional wisdom suggests dress for the job you want. Interviewing for a job as a fast-food restaurant manager means you should wear a suit because you want to be viewed as the consummate professional who makes a great first impression. On the other hand, you don't want to give the hiring manager the impression that you're afraid to be a working manager -- someone who can pitch in when needed and operate the fryer or run the cash register.
The pay for fast-food restaurant managers isn't nearly what it is for some of the upscale restaurants that celebrities and who's who frequent. Therefore, you needn't worry about wearing an custom-made suit of the finest threads. Dress modestly or you might give the impression that you really don't need the job. Men and women should wear a suit that fits nicely. Black, brown or navy are good colors, and in the fast-food industry, you may get away with wearing a plaid or striped shirt or blouse, but women should definitely not wear anything that's cut too low. Don't fret if you don't own a suit, however. Men can be just as presentable in a sport coat, slacks and tie. And a skirt or slacks, plus a matching cardigan and shell are entirely appropriate for women.
Bring Your Portfolio
Forget about wearing a coat and carrying a cumbersome purse or briefcase. Bring a slim portfolio to the interview and make sure it contains several copies of your resume, cover letter and professional references. It's likely that the hiring manager will give you a tour of the restaurant's operations, and you don't want to look for a place to leave your belongings while you walk through the cooking area, freezer, stock room and employee lounge.
Keep It Simple
No matter how trendy this fast-food joint is, you're not going to be showing off your fashion sense. Many managers in fast-food restaurants wear uniforms just like their employees. So don't wear too much jewelry, avoid wearing big hoop earrings and other piercings that will distract the interviewer. Keep your accessories to a minimum, such as a watch and one ring. If all you have are rings with big jewels, don't wear a ring at all. Wear sensible shoes -- no high-heeled pumps, open-toe shoes and definitely, no sneakers. You'll be walking around the cooking area during the interview, so you should wear shoes that don't put you in danger of a slip and fall.
Exhibit Excellent Hygiene
Refrain from wearing perfume; the interviewer could be allergic and you don't want to turn off the hiring manager before you get a chance to talk about your qualifications. Ensure your hair is neatly trimmed and styled in a conservative color. Men, if you typically wear long hair, get a haircut because personal hygiene and long, unruly hair and food -- fast, quick-serve or otherwise -- don't mix. Women, pull your hair back in a neat bun, but don't feel you have look like the school librarian. Just make it clear that you're cognizant of health and safety standards for the food-service industry.
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Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.