My Job: Corina Mack, restaurant recruiter


Corina Mack owns the Minneapolis office of Patrice and Associates, a hospitality and restaurant recruiting firm.

Corina Mack worked as a server in restaurants from the age of 19. “I’m a very social person,” she said. “I love talking and interacting. When you’re working in a restaurant, there’s always a celebration, and you always get to be part of that. You feel like you’re part of someone else’s celebration.”

Mack earned a degree from University of Wisconsin/Stout in Hospitality and Tourism with an emphasis on restaurant management. She was a manager at Figlio for four years before going back to school for a Masters Degree in Hospitality and Tourism with an emphasis on restaurant management.

“I didn’t want to work until 2 a.m. for the rest of my life,” she said. “I always wanted to get a Masters Degree. When I was looking at the masters I realized I love social interaction, I loved interviewing, hiring, training, coaching.”

As she was finishing the degree, she called a friend who was a recruiting manager at D’Amico to request an informational interview. “She’d gotten a promotion that day!” Mack said. “She said, ‘Come in, let’s talk.” Mack joined D’Amico & Partners for four years as a recruiting and training manager. “It was a really great opportunity.”

In her current role, Mack said, “I work with salaried managers. We look for a minimum of two years of experience, but I’m open to talking to anyone. If someone said, ‘I’m interested but I don’t have the two years,’ I’d help them find ways to build their résumé.”

Mack said that in the Twin Cities, where unemployment is low, recruiters serve both employers and prospective employees. “When labor is tight, more companies are having hard time finding talent. I can find a candidate who is a passive job seeker. I cold call, I connect on LinkedIn,” she said. “In a tight labor market, employees are working and they don’t have time to look for a job. I can do the legwork.”

What’s the best part of recruiting?

I feel like it’s putting the pieces of the puzzle together. You have to go out there and find the missing piece. There’s a little bit of the hunter. You’re making a great impact on the person’s life as well as the company’s. If you have good people working for you, you’re going to grow. I’ve had people tell me, “This job changed my life.” You really do make an impactful difference.

What’s the benefit of working with a recruiter?

I know the best companies out there so they don’t have to sift through the openings. I get them right through to the hiring manager versus getting caught in minutiae of hundreds of applicants.

What are the trends in restaurant careers?

The jobs that are easier fill are the ones with a lot of benefits – a dining discount, always having two days off in a row, opportunities to be promoted from within. Those jobs always get a better response.

What does it take to be successful in restaurant management?

When you get someone who’s just a ray of sunshine coming through, that’s a great manager. That’s someone who can engage people across the corporate ladder. You need a positive attitude – you can’t have a bad day. If you’re having a personal issue, you have to leave that at the door. It’s like a stage presence.

Photo Credit: Tom Witta

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