During your interview, you will almost always be asked why you are leaving or why you have left your last position. You want to come across as a quality, competent restaurant manager who is looking to make a positive career change. You want to express that, while you benefited from your time with your former employer, you are ready to look toward the challenges of a new management opportunity. You do not, under any circumstances, want to turn this question into a negative bashing of your last restaurant or boss. Both you and your former employer should look good. In an interview remember to avoid making negative comments. Many interviewers feel if you were unhappy at your last job, you will be unhappy again. Restaurant loyalty may be practically nonexistent, but restaurant recruiters and hiring managers are repelled by candidates who disparage an employer, boss, or co-workers, whether former or current. You may hate the place top to bottom, the food and business practices may be horrible, but saying so, to anyone, is a bad idea.
Headhunters and hiring managers alike rely on peer information as much as references from former bosses. Peers are quick to point out that, "Sam doesn't really like it here," or worse, "He's so negative." Remember, two people can keep a secret if one of them is dead. Do not confide your contempt for present or past employers to co-workers unless you want your words to come back to haunt you.
As a result of this type of negative reference, hiring managers will wonder what character flaws kept you there if you thought the organization is so terrible. Giving up on the job, but not leaving, is near the top of a hiring manager’s short list of traits that will eliminate a candidate even if he or she has star potential. A recruiter can always ferret out this information. One hiring manager once told me he had heard from several contacts that the interviewee’s restaurant was badly run and poorly staffed. The candidate he interviewed from there (he loved his resume) had the serene air of someone disengaged from the fray. Upon close questioning, the candidate told the hiring manager that the situation was hopeless and not worth his effort. He's on the payroll, but he's not doing the job. Why would another concept want him?
If you find yourself slipping into negatives, turn the conversation to a positive note immediately. Let the hiring manager know how you benefited from the experience. All in all, keep it positive. If you bash your old boss, chances are you’ll bash your new boss. Your prospective new boss does not want to be bashed.