Straight Talk About ‘the Job’: Palm Restaurant

“Palm Restaurant”: If they’d Asked Amanda about The Job, here’s what I’d say…

CBS aired its pilot episode of a new reality-competition show called The Job . Hosted by Lisa Ling, the TV series featured candidates who compete in a variety of challenges for a chance to win “a dream job at their dream company.”

A reality show about the interview process? Sign me up! The career coach in me had to watch this! The first episode featured five candidates – Anthony, Maggie, Ryan, Jann and Alex – vying for an assistant manager role at the legendary steakhouse, Palm Restaurant.

While I don’t think the show gives viewers a very accurate portrayal of the recruiting process – seriously, how many job interviews involved you working at their office for a day to test your skills? – I still think there’s a lot you can learn. In this first episode, the theme that stuck out to me was cultural fit.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – you can have all the skills in the world but if you don’t fit in with the company, you won’t land the job. This was well illustrated in last week’s episode.

The Palm is known as a leader in fine dining and a longstanding family owned business that considers its employees part of the family. A quick look at their website allows diners to get a sense of what they should expect when they visit the Palm – a topnotch formal dining experience.

[Spoiler alert!] Two of the five candidates – Alex and Anthony– were misfits right from the start. Alex had little to no formal dining experience and worked at a vegan restaurant. It’s not surprising that this vegan didn’t fare well while interviewing for a position at a steakhouse.

And, although Anthony was a competent candidate, he was chastised when he showed up underdressed for the ‘on-the-job’ portion of the interview. I also can’t imagine owner Wally Ganzi approving of Anthony’s facial hair. While Anthony was not offered the job with Palm Restaurant, he did receive an offer from a restaurant with a laid-back atmosphere – a much better cultural fit!

The moral of the story? Seek opportunities where there’s a cultural fit. If you make it to an interview and you know you lack a certain knowledgebase that’s important for the job, do your homework.