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My Interview, My Career: How to Prepare for Video Interviews

By Danielle Gordon, Senior Recruiter - Sodexo Food Service, Hospitals and Senior Living in the Eastern US

This article first appeared in the November issue of C@reer Connections, Sodexo's monthly e-newsletter. Sign up today!

Video interviews are becoming an increasingly popular way to enhance the recruiting process – often expediting the interview process with more flexible scheduling options to help manage scheduling conflicts while keeping travel costs low for everyone.

If you are invited to participate in a video interview with Sodexo, don't be intimidated! Even the most technologically-savvy candidate might be anxious about interviewing online. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for a video interview:

  • Plan for your video interview just as you would an in-person interview. This means planning in advance to ensure that you are on time and prepared.
  • Check your computer system requirements, including your speakers and webcam. When a confirmation is sent for the meeting, a link to scan your computer for applicable software is usually included. You should click this link as soon as you receive it to allow enough time to ensure that your computer is ready.
  • Pay attention to your environment. Choose a room that is quiet and well lit. Remember that the microphone on a computer can pick up background noise, so eliminate all background noises from radios, traffic sounds from open windows, pets, others who may be nearby, etc.
  • Make sure the area where you'll conduct the interview is neat and clean. Don't give the interviewer any reason to be distracted by inappropriate wall hangings, clutter, pets or other items visible on your webcam. Also make sure to set up your computer/webcam in a place with good lighting so that you can be seen during the call.
  • Arrive/log in early to your meeting just as you would an in-person meeting.
  • Dress professionally! Don't assume professional dress isn't required. Dress as you would for an in-person meeting.
  • Be aware of any movements/habits that could be picked up by the microphone or webcam. Don't tap your fingers or shuffle papers excessively. Don't type on your computer or participate in other online activities during your interview.
  • Look at your computer/webcam to make eye contact with participants on the other end.
Most importantly, consider any invitation to interview, in person or via video, an opportunity to showcase your talent and value. A successful video interview can be the start of a bright future.  

Want to learn more about our hiring process?  Click here!

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Congratulations to Sodexo Chef & Culinary World Cup Champion George Castaneda!

By Autumn Anderson, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager

Did you know that Chefs often train for and compete in culinary competitions, much like athletes do for the Olympics?

One of our own Chefs did just that a month ago in Luxembourg as part of the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Culinary Team USA, competing in the Villeroy & Boch Culinary World Cup.

During the competition, Sodexo Chef George Castaneda wowed the judges, winning a gold medal for the individual cold food competition and ultimately being named the overall champion in the individual cooking category! And it’s no surprise when you see samples of his work like those pictured here.

In addition to the Culinary World Cup, Chef George will compete with the ACF Culinary Team USA at the 2016 Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA) International Culinary Art Competition – also known as the “culinary Olympics” – in Erfurt, Germany.

Over the next two years of continued preparation and hard work, we wish Chef George the best of luck, and in the spirit of letting the presentation do the talking, I’ll wrap up this post by saying congratulations on your amazing achievement and enjoy the messages below from the Sodexo Culinary recruitment team!

Want to send Chef George your own congrats? Post a message on his Facebook page!

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Snow Days, Relationships and Career Satisfaction

by Kristen Jacobs, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager

As a lifetime resident of Minnesota, I know what it’s like to deal with snow…and lots of it! We were hit with our first storm in early November this year and are likely not going to see the grass again until April. It wasn’t our usual transition from autumn to winter with a soft dusting on the trees and lawn, either. Mother Nature dumped eighteen inches overnight. Snow day!
Me versus the snowbank!
I’m pretty sure we made the national news with this, but who would be surprised? Doesn’t Minnesota have snow year round? (No, we actually don’t!) But then the eyes of the nation suddenly turned to Buffalo, New York, where seven feet of lake-effect snow fell in parts of community. Take that, Minnesota!

Last month, I had the chance to swap snow stories with Diane Weigel, who is the Help Desk
and Access Management Director at Sodexo's Buffalo Service Center, which hosts our Network Operations Center (NOC) and is home to Financial Services staff, along with teams in IS&T, Benefits, the Help Desk and Labor Relations as well as a number of divisional personnel. Although the office didn’t get buried in snow, Diane’s home did! With no way out, she settled in with her family and worked from home. Snow day…or five!

As we talked about family, the conversation progressed to our work family. When Diane joined the company in 1991 as a Tech Support Specialist, she couldn’t image the relationships that would develop as her career path took her through many different departments. “There’s a lot of longevity at Sodexo. As we’ve all grown up in this company, relationships have been key. We may have changed positions, but those relationships continue.”

Personally being a newcomer to the Sodexo family, I asked Diane how new employees are impacted by these established relationships? She went on to say, “For new people coming in, the open and inclusive environment allows them to easily make new relationships and contribute. The path to success exists, but you’re not on your own.  You are guided and mentored; the network is in place and you’re able to leverage pre-existing relationships.”

Diane’s youngest son, Matthew, has grown up a Sodexo kid, joining in on company events and attending bring-your-kids-to-work day. “We have corporate awareness of work/life balance. The IS&T team at Sodexo works hard, but not the long hours that many smaller firms demand. There is time leftover for family and for play.”

Matthew Weigel clearing a path to the road in Buffalo, NY
I have to agree. That same awareness can be found across the company, including our own Talent Acquisition team. Working remotely, we often extend ourselves beyond normal work hours, but the benefit of being around for snow days provides the balance I need.

Does this sound like a refreshing change of pace? We’re looking for talented and passionate managers in IS&T, Facilities Management, Environmental Services, Clinical Nutrition, Sales, Culinary and Food Management and more. If you’ve got what it takes to lead a team, provide first-rate service and make a change…start your search here.

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This Sodexo General Manager is Impacting His Community in a Big Way

By Autumn Anderson, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager

Sodexo General Manager Joseph Spain
What makes a job meaningful to you? Perhaps you look for work that allows you to improve patient’s lives by providing a clean and healthy environment, or maybe you strive to make nutritious and delicious food that enables students to learn and grow.

No matter what discipline you’re in, giving back and making an impact in the lives of others and the community is ingrained in the Sodexo culture.    

One employee who exemplifies these values is Joseph Spain, Sodexo Multi-Services General Manager for Colgate Palmolive in Morristown, Tennessee, who has been partnering with Morristown West High School to provide real world experience for students with disabilities for several years.

I recently had the opportunity to connect with Joseph to learn more about his efforts in the community.

AA: Describe the partnership you've developed with the high school.

JS: In the past, I have helped with the Challenger Sports League softball team for the Special Olympics. Through talking with the kids, I saw their desire to learn and also thought it would be advantageous for these kids to gain work experience, as well as safety training and social interaction to help prepare them for life after high school.

I approached the special education department, and we formulated a plan to start the program, which launched in 2011 and continues still today.

AA: What skills do the students learn, and what do they contribute on site?

JS: The students are taught the same principles as all Sodexo staff. We do the job first and foremost, and safety is the highest priority. They are trained in proper body mechanics, personal protective equipment (PPE) and tasks specific to the areas where work will be performed. If it is necessary to move slower to accomplish these tasks properly, then that is what needs to be done. This reinforces the philosophy of safety and doing things right the first time.

Students work in the internal store, stocking and organizing shelves of over 200 products with recycling functions. They also work in the custodial department. Jobs include sweeping, mopping, dusting and cleaning mirrors and stainless steel fixtures. All of these jobs require interaction with myself, the Sodexo staff and the client. At our site, we have a very diverse staff with people from many countries, so students gain experience communicating with many different types of people.

AA: Why is this important to you, and how does it exemplify Sodexo’s values?

JS: This type of program is very important to me because - in my career here and abroad - I have seen very limited programs to help people with disabilities. It is important to these kids to get a baseline so they not only feel good and confident in themselves but can also be productive members of society. By Sodexo and Colgate Palmolive allowing us to perform this service, it shows how much they are willing to invest in people and the community.

AA: What kind of results have you seen from the students?

JS: I have seen the students benefit by way of personal growth, pride, accomplishment, confidence and a willingness to learn and take on more responsibility. Many have gone on to enter college and gain permanent employment in the community.

AA: Any final words for our readers?

JS: I am putting out a challenge to all Sodexo sites to consider a program like this. The kids, community and staff, as well as the client, will benefit.

We all have skills, abilities and talents. Like Joseph, let’s make a pact to include and empower all persons in society to excel!

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Social Media + Networking = Career Moves

By Trish Freshwater, Senior Communications Manager for Talent Acquisition

When I first joined LinkedIn, it was a little known web site where a few of us "geeks" posted a brief resume and hoped to connect with former college classmates and maybe find a professional contact through the whole three degrees of separation theory. It was the first attempt to connect with others online outside of e-mail. And to us, the LinkedIn of 2004 was way cool. Until Facebook came along and showed us how we could really keep up with old friends …

Today, social media has many roles in our lives – not the least of which is creating our own personal-professional brand, and providing a platform to connect with professionals in our industries. But, if you’re not using social media in a meaningful way, you could actually hurt your chances of landing that great job you recently discovered.

Step 1: Build Your Brand
You. The image you want a prospective employer to have of you. Your brand. Do you know what it is? Do you know what it looks like? Collectively, all of your social media profiles create an image of you – but without proper care, you might be leaking too many details about your personal life into your professional image. So, take a few moments to decide what, exactly, you want your brand to look like.

Once you have a few ideas, you need to build your online brand accordingly and clean up some of your profiles. And, remember that LinkedIn profile you created back in 2004? In 2012 and again this year, the company updated its site and changed the layout of LinkedIn profiles – giving you far more opportunities to display your skills and experience. So, if you haven’t updated your profile in a while, you’ll want to follow these tips to help get you noticed.

Step 2: Network
Once you've established your brand, the next step to making your career move is networking. Social media provides numerous ways for you to follow and reach out to colleagues as well as professionals you've never met. But sometimes getting started is the tricky part.

Social networking requires you to be an active participant. To be noticed, you need to be proactive about joining and participating in LinkedIn groups, following and interacting with key people on Twitter and building professional relationships with those contacts. Social networking takes time and diligence.

Step 3: Search for Jobs
These days, many companies are posting jobs on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest. So, as you expand your job search from traditional job boards and company career sites, consider these tips on using social media to find a job – part 1, part 2 and part 3. This blog series offers even more suggestions on creating a consistent brand for yourself as well as tips for networking with company representatives.

Using social media to network and find your next job takes a good bit of work and tenacity. And even if you think you've followed all of the advice on how to do it, things may not always go as you plan. So, just in case, check this list of possible mistakes you could be making – and continue to build those relationships.

At the end of the day, social media is a relationship tool. It’s a way to meet, connect and get to know people in your industry. But remember, even the best of friendships you made on the playground as a child took a little bit of work to solidify. Good luck!

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Meet Dex, the newest member of the Sodexo family!

By Autumn Anderson, Employment Brand Sourcing Manager

Three weeks ago, we announced a contest on this blog asking you to help us name the mobile mascot for our Jobs app, which will be turning 3-years old in just a few months.

During the 10-day submission period, we received a variety of names playing off of the Sodexo name (Dex, Dexter, SoMoJo), a recommendation to honor Sodexo’s founder (Pierre) and even more creative ideas recognizing the mobile device itself (Moe B. Lee, Handy and more).

With all of the great submissions, the only way to choose was to let our community members vote for their favorite and make an argument for their case using the pros and cons section of the online voting tool.

So what was the final decision?

Without further ado, the winner of the Sodexo Careers mobile mascot naming contest is (drumroll please)…

Join us in congratulating @dij56 on his winning idea of Dex! We’re thrilled to finally have a name for our mascot (and to formally welcome him to the Sodexo family) and even more excited to have it come from one of our community members.

As the winner of the contest, Drew will not only be recognized on this blog and our social media channels, he will also be rewarded with a $50 gift card and go down forever in Sodexo Careers history.

Thank you to everyone who participated by submitting an idea, voting or sharing a link with your connections, and stay tuned for more opportunities to share your ideas with us in future contests and polls.

Don't have our mobile Jobs app? Download now!

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Building the Business: Sodexo Sales Professionals Are in It to Win It!

By Lisa Curry, Senior Recruiter -  Corporate Services Nationwide

This article first appeared in the November issue of C@reer Connections, Sodexo's monthly e-newsletter. Sign up today!

Do you have a passion for sales? Are you an experienced closer with the expertise of building the business? If you answered yes to these questions, then you may have a future with the Sodexo Sales Team.

At Sodexo, we understand that steady growth is important for our success. As such, we seek sales professionals to grow our business in areas such as Food Service, Facilities Management, Energy and Construction Management, Clinical Technology Management and Environmental Services/ Housekeeping in a wide variety of locations, such as hospitals, schools, businesses, government sites and more.

Kendley Davenport, Vice President of Sales in Sodexo's Education Market, details where we are today and provides insights about the ideal candidates we are seeking to join the Sales Team:

What is the sales function like at Sodexo?

Sales has evolved from just another support function within Sodexo to a fully integrated and leading component of our future. Sales is at the leading edge of our marketplace contact and is expected to drive innovation, understand client trends and issues, and develop solutions from our complete array of company resources. Being successful at sales and having a strong knowledge of our P&L structure allows sales professionals to grow in many directions with Sodexo.

How does the sales function support Sodexo operations?

The Sales Team has the ability to see and experience our competition on a regular basis and talk to prospects and competitor clients about the values they experience or expect. Sales professionals have a chance to uncover what's important and most valued. We are also in a position to collaborate on solutions that have a direct impact on the business metrics of our partners versus just providing them a service function.

What knowledge or experience should a candidate have to apply for a sales job?

I believe first we are looking for a person who can demonstrate that they understand and have some level of experience in the basic functions of selling: prospecting, sales plan development, gaining commitment and presenting ideas that influence outcomes. Candidates also should be experienced in selling conceptual service solutions to management as they meet with our clients and prospective clients. I personally also look for leadership qualities and learning agility. Currently, we are leaning towards folks who have some level of Facilities Management background either in selling or in operations in order to improve our overall capacity to grow this area.

What else may be helpful to someone considering a career in sales with Sodexo? 

Sodexo has a ton of resources to support sales executives in their opportunity to win accounts. We also have a self-perform model, meaning we do not rely on other outside partners/vendors to support our operations. Thus, we have everything under one roof, which is an advantage for our sales professionals.

Our sales professionals enjoy high-profile work, often at the C-suite level in our company and in our client environments, and are offered competitive compensation packages for their success. Additionally, Sodexo works in a team model which I describe as engaged independence. You have the benefits of working or leading a growth team of operations people, while still enjoying a level of independence in order to drive innovation and collaborate directly with clients to create winning solutions.

Do you have the drive to close sales deals? Visit to learn more about Sales careers at Sodexo and how you can join our award-winning team, where growth opportunities are endless!

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