leaving Hooters off a resume?

A reader writes:

I have been in the job market for about 6 months now. The most recent interview turned out to be horrible due to the fact that I worked at Hooters for two years. The man interviewing me sexually harassed me and just degraded me to no extent. It seems the only reason I was asked in was because I had worked at Hooters and not that I have a degree in Mass Communications and was an ideal candidate for the job I was applying for.

Since then I have left Hooters off of my resume. I find that I may not have been put into an “interview” pile because of it or that I was only put into that pile because of it. It was my last job in college so the “gap” in my resume just makes people assume i didn’t work for those two years.

I have now made it to the next round of interviewing for a job I really want. They want me to fill out an employment history for the past 7 years. Do I add it in there? I would feel awful if I left it out. Would they be understanding to the situation? Thanks for your help.

What a horrible experience! I’m sorry to hear that.

The vast majority of interviewers aren’t going to see this as a factor one way or another. But since you’re concerned about it, there are some precautionary measures you can take for the tiny fraction who might be asses. (And that guy who interviewed you was the ass of all asses.)

It’s ridiculous that you would have to do this, but rather than having a gap, can you simply put “waitressing” for that period, without specifying the employer? If you’re not applying for jobs where those skills are relevant, chances are good most people won’t ask where you were waitressing; they’ll just be satisfied to know you were employed during that period and roughly what you were doing. Especially because it was while you were in college, this isn’t likely to be a major factor in assessment of your resume.

Regarding the employment history form you have to fill out, you could likely take the same approach.

For this record, it isn’t fair or right that this is posing this sort of issue for you, but it’s also likely the most practical way of handling it.

Good luck!

{ 5 comments… read them below }

  1. Evil HR Lady*

    My bet is that the employment history form is only going to be seen by the recruiter and not the hiring manager. That is, the decision maker won’t know what is on there.

    I say you need to put Hooters on there because they are going to verify your employment and can’t do so without knowing your employer.

    I think it’s fine to leave it off your resume, or like Ask A Manager suggests put down waitressing.

    What a jerk that initial manager was. Glad you aren’t working there.

  2. HR guru*

    I think the “Hooters” lady should be talking to the EEOC. This is quid pro sexual harassment in it’s purest form!

  3. HR Wench*

    HR Guru: Maybe I am having a brain freeze…but how is this a quid pro quo situation? I don’t see a “this for that” condition of employment in the woman’s description above…

  4. pandrews*

    Totally agree that the harassment is unwarranted.

    I would suggest that in considering this woman’s goals we have to ask if she wants to take on an EEOC claim, if she is looking for validation for her decision to work at Hooters (not a completely non-controversial point if we are honest with ourselves), or if she just wants to get a job.

    If her focus truly is the latter, then the pragmatic thing to do is to list on her resume that she was a restaurant server for HOA Restaurants for two years. (HOA being code for Hooters of America). If asked in an interview she can just say it was a national chain and that on any given shift she handled X tables and X customers simultaneously, any employee recognition she earned, and focus on how that experience made her qualified for THE JOB AT HAND (which is what she wants to keep the recruiter focused on). I’d be surprised if anyone ever called a reference there.

    Good luck!

  5. Anonymous*

    Being a Hooters girl is more than waitressing. From what is see when I
    visit Hooters you have to be precise and
    coordinated and able to multitask. I take
    my hat off to these ladies for their confidence
    And have to put up with a lot of distractions.

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