One common question a Recruiter asks at a job interview is for the Candidates expected pay. One of the major challenges each Candidate faces is to determine how much they are worth. It can be difficult to assess your net worth when making a career change. There are several things you must take into consideration before you can negotiate a competitive salary.

Salary Expectations

The first step is to forget what the college/university professor told you. No one makes the top paying salary upon graduation. A simple equation is this.

Profit – Salary – Training – Conflict Resolution – Problems = Your Net Worth to the Restaurant.

A restaurant manager who can solve their own conflicts, is experienced enough to resolve the day to day problems on the floor, and whose attitude and personality do not conflict with the team is worth more to a restaurant than a recent grade with top grades but who has never turned theory into practice.


It is common to see a $20k difference between management positions simply by being employed by restaurants in different neighborhoods in the same city. Location can also make the difference between securing a job versus negotiating a competitive pay. But do not sell yourself short. You may be more valuable to a small restaurant who needs an infusion of new ideas than you are to a mega chain who has 3000 resumes on the HR manager’s desk.


HR managers and Recruiters have learned that the best Candidates have a network of contacts within their particular field of practice. These contacts can be used to secure a position, they can also be used to help determine how much you are worth.

Belonging to the Industry’s Professional Organization is also beneficial. They will help break down the jobs, pay scales, and trends within a certain field.


The internet is full of websites that post jobs. Most of these sites list jobs and nothing more. There is no networking or association value to them. There is a colloquialism that states ‘you can’t play with the big boys if you are on the wrong field.’ If you want a job in the hospitality industry then you need to cultivate contacts and learn the trends within the restaurant industry.

S W O T Analysis

Strengths – What do you have that other restaurant managers do not have?
Weaknesses – What parts of your education, attitude, and personality need work?
Opportunities – What can you exploit to your advantage that others have overlooked?
Threats – What parts of your education, experience, attitude, and personality can stall your career?

Use a S W O T analysis to identify yourself – not as a person – but as a marketable commodity. What can you do to improve your value? What can you eliminate that might lower your value, and how can you sell your strengths to a Recruiter.


Networking is more an art than a science. The old pattern of pushing a business card into people’s hand and expounding your career highs will not work in today’s competitive work place. Today’s networking increasingly involves volunteering, community service, internships, and attending conferences and seminars.

Today’s Networking is more focused on ‘show me.’ Short cuts, including working with a Recruitment firm can put you in front of an HR manager. But the interviewee who talks about associates, places they worked, and successfully executed projects they took part in, will stand out over their peers who.

Author's Bio: 

Robert Krzak is author and CEO of Geckohospitality a respected hotel and restaurant recruitment and recruiting firm.