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MEET CARL CHAPMAN, Confessions of a Restaurant Recruiter

Posted on November 28, 2006
Filed Under Blogging For Talent, Interviews, Recruitment Industry | 14 Comments

by Dave Mendoza, Strategic Tools & Sourcing Management Consultant and JobMachine, Inc. Partner.

As a Roman Catholic, I’ve entered many a confessional booth and never recalled answering to a restaurant recruiter. In my latest manifestation, as recruiter, sourcer, consultant, I never had the opportunity to shake the hand of a restaurant recruiter. As a recruitment blogger however I have had the blessing of answering the phone, emails and developing a friendship with an emerging presence in the blogosphere, Carl Chapman, author of “Confessions of a Restaurant Recruiter” and Principle of CEC Search based out of Atlanta.

Passionate about a good game of golf, digital photography, and poker, Carl gets animated most when discussing his family. His wife of 21.5 years, (Carl asked, “Could we put a PayPal donation button in the article to raise money for her sainthood application?”) his Dean’s list daughter, and enterprising son. Carl is passionate about life in general. When I say Carl loves puppies and sunny days with a cool breeze, it’s a well warranted metaphor for his constant ‘pat on the back’ disposition whose good moods are infectious. And speaking of puppies, Carl wants …another …. A Rottweiler puppy no less, he has deemed ‘the best dog in the world’ for a Restaurant recruiter. In short, Carl Chapman is a professional that restaurant industry leaders respect for quality hires, integrity and ‘can do’ spirit, and a friend with rising visibility in the recruitment industry overall.

Carl’s journey to the wild jungles of the recruitment industry was an evolution over 20 years, 12 of them in Operations. It started with coffee, video games, and slices of pizza. From territory salesman for an office coffee service, to owning an arcade, to working for the number one family restaurant chain in America then number one pizza chain in the World, Carl developed a SW/HW turnkey Point of Sale applications for the delivery industry into a nationally recognized company which would soon beat IBM and displace them as the recommended vendor for the 4th largest pizza company in the world. Carl eventually took a left turn and ultimately found his calling recruiting at an MRI shop. Carl immersed himself into a distinct niche he excels at and it has to do with food and the places we go to for relaxation and memorable edibles. He developed his own recruiting firm, which caters to a multi-billion dollar restaurant industry. Ever hear of a restaurant recruiter? Not many huh? This guy is smart enough to recognize a niche when he sees one. “For more details, Read Carl’s “so-how-did-you-think-i-got-to-be-a-recruiter.”

Carl catches Blog Fever … a dormant virus that slowly immersed into his curiosity, imagination and ultimately into a daily passion.

Carl didn’t immediately jump into the blogosphere. He got his feet wet at a two day presentation at a regional meeting to listen to Danny Cahill, Hobson & Associates, inc. Cahill evangelized blogging as the ‘next big thing’ and as “… one of the most important things that you could do for your business.” Carl’s interest was peaked, but more of a musing, the kind you have when you take a long drive and think about what lies ahead on the horizon of getting situated in your own business development. After about a year in the trenches, without a burning bush moment, Carl saw personal branding as the next step and a natural marketing opportunity. He started with a corporate website, but it was too static for jazzy Carl … and much less personal for his extroverted personality. Carl needed a conversational piece to enhance his public personae. Echoes of Danny Cahill’s praise for blogging fit into the equation to provide a public face for his business. This was the origin of Carl’s endeavor to build a platform to “help candidates understand what recruiters really do and how to work with them more successfully.” Carl’s confessional booth went online soon after and the rest is brief yet an established and laudable history to date.

The CEC Search site is built upon a sharp template with corporate offerings as the home page, in addition to tabs directing traffic to his blog, and one of the most user friendly click through menus I’ve witnessed thus far on the recruitment blogosphere. Carl’s site is different in that it provides ideal user functionality with talent traffic magnets such as niche Restaurant Jobs, a Resume intake system, a User Forum, an “About Us” button and … a blog button that directs his audience with topical musings on the latest industry trends and heavy on issues pertaining to a “Candidate’s Bill of Rights.” (It’s a passion for Carl)

Carl is blogging to help fill in the blanks and provide a source of information that wouldn’t be possible on a typical corporate site. Part of that goal has been accomplished by building a users forum to enhance a sense of community within his talent niche. As in all things, he is succeeding.

I personally congratulated Carl on the set-up, and quite honestly took personal gratification in discussing the evolution of some of the features I envisioned prior to reviewing his site. He has implemented the fundamentals for an effective corporate careers hybrid of resume intake, job features and relationship enhancement with a niche audience. … but that isn’t enough for Carl. It’s all about “the Niche.” He has come to an impasse, with the realization that a blog, corporate website, and a users’ forum cannot provide for all the needs of his niche industry. To address the “Niche Issue,” and effectively answer it, he is going to be launching a project to satisfy, a yet to be announced, “huge need” within the restaurant talent universe. Inquiring minds await.

Carl looks in the mirror and sees someone who must do his part to change the face of recruiting so that it is a more trusted profession. It’s what allows him to look at himself with clear conscience and conveyed in his ability to foster quick friendships and above all, relationships. His mantra is familiar, yet personal, “While I can’t change the attitude of everyone about all recruiters, I can change it one person at a time with the people who come in contact with me.”

Carl has been around long enough to reflect on pre-Recruitment 2.0 days, let alone Web 1.0. He bids farewell gratefully for the bygones of mailing or faxing resumes, contracts, Typewriters – (yeah he’s an ‘elder’) and getting phone numbers from phone books instead from data sources..

A Blogger’s Observations: The Education of Carl Chapman

A. So tell us Carl, what are your common frustrations as a recruiter?

1. Companies that don’t provide feedback and don’t communicate in a timely fashion.
2. Candidates who lie about their backgrounds
3. Companies who can’t look at the “whole package” of a candidate and make allowances for the fact the people are human… which forces candidates to lie about their backgrounds. It’s a vicious circle.

Carl wants a world where hiring officials would think about the twists and turns that their own careers have taken while evaluating talent … especially true in the restaurant industry, one characterized by high turnover, often due to companies going out of business through no fault of candidates being considered. Sounds eerily familiar to the Dot Com aftermath, doesn’t it? Who would have known restaurant executives and internet CTO’s bitch about the same challenges. I just learned something.

B. A ‘Dialing Machine’ to ‘Old & New School’ Networking

Ask Carl what bold new observations he has made en route amid his blogging adventures, and he will tell you it’s been an education. He’s done a lot more reading about the recruitment industry as a whole, and about new platforms, methodologies, and new technologies he would not likely have been privy before he entered the recruitment blogosphere. He found his fingers adept and within reach to instant knowledge transfer and immersion. Carl does recognize however that he needs to readjust his love affair with the phone, the self-described “dialing machine” that he is, and reaffirm the imperative need for networking …. Digitally. I think I can help him with that problem, to the tune of “Six Degrees form Dave.” When he mentioned that he “Really hasn’t built all that large a personal or business network,” I remind him that he is in the people business, – one I know he is a natural to conquer.

Carl had the prior misgivings shared by the best of us, the kinder and gentler of the unpretentious folk we gravitate to in this business. He had to readjust his misconceived assumptions that networking was merely about “Using People.” Carl defines himself as a “Giver not a taker.”… so he found it hard to ask colleagues for their help, when he much rather offer his own. Carl has learned on his own, and with a little nudge from his friends, that these qualities and misgivings make him a perfect role model for recruitment 2.0 which Barbara Ling described the environment best, “Today’s Internet focuses heavily upon *the human interaction aspect.” I am mentally checking my mental list for Carl …..Barbara adds, “Web 2.0 model centers around harnessing the *collective* intelligence of its users. It *engages* the active participation of its users.” You can do all the above, while keeping true to your ideals and benefiting others all the same, for myself personally, – I learned about the “Passing it forward” in motion by none other than the wise sage Gerry Crispen and that other mentor of mine. …

C. Is food sexy?

I’ll take this opportunity to be a little irrelevant. Carl has never been one of those guys that thought food was sexy…with the exception of Nine 1/2 Weeks. Rumor has it that Kim Basinger influenced him to develop his own brand of nachos and to learn about the multi purpose applications of egg yolk. Carl and Mrs. Chapman give a belated thank you to Kim.

D. Carl Makes Ears Ring: Props

Carl wanted to take this opportunity in the limelight to say thank you to a close friend, a perennial million dollar biller who inspired him – Nancy Grimes of Grimes Legal ( Carl is providing consulting services on her on her Internet strategy. (Carl can multi-task quite diligently) Nancy has billed over $20 MM in her career. What pre tal is so special about Nancy besides being an effective recruiter and business woman? Carl simply likes the fact that she is both real and genuine. That sentiment speaks volumes about what makes Carl tick. It’s about the core attributes in human relationships that plays a regular inner song against his ear, reminding him to be humble in matters pertaining to both friendships and business.

Carl wants to be world famous in the restaurant business. I’d like to help him, I think he’s the type deserving of attention.

Carl was once concerned that he had neglected his own career by not building networks with his fellow colleagues. Having looked at my checklist, according to Barbara Ling’s definitions, Carl you are well along your way towards fulfilling your own personal Web 2.0. Whether you like to admit it or not, you have “engaged” the recruitment blogosphere. Familiar face to that you are, you give and you don’t take, and you have certainly provided a unique brand of folksy “human interaction” that has been sorely lacking in our circles.

If you want to savor a fine cuisine of home spun, gourmet blogging, then dine daily at “Confessions of a Restaurant Recruiter.”

Carl, you have made it to the big table and there are many yet to be served. Thank you for doing your part in keeping us well fed with your insights. We expect great things from you.

NOTES: If you would like to connect with Carl Chapman directly to discuss his blog, his recruitment services, or to interview him for a post/article, you can reach him directly at (770) 447-6471 in Atlanta.

You’ll find physician jobs at


14 Responses to “MEET CARL CHAPMAN, Confessions of a Restaurant Recruiter”

  1. Restaurant Recruiter on November 28th, 2006 6:01 pm

    Can you see me blushing? Good thing my webcam is off. I can scarcely say that I deserve so many words and certainly not so nicely written praise. Thank you Dave. I will try to live up to the hype.

  2. Jason Alba on November 28th, 2006 6:23 pm

    I have been following Carl’s blog since he first posted on (his press release with the bad URL – nice trick to get extra notice :P)

    Since that first post I’ve considered Carl an excellent mentor and, perhaps more important, friend. He is about as real and genuine as it gets, and I’ve appreciated learning from him.

  3. The Edge on November 28th, 2006 8:00 pm

    If you really want to have fun with Carl, roll out your best joke, call him, and listen to him laugh in his high pitched cackle that is sure to endear him to dogs and bats across America.

    Really…last we spoke, we started talking about something funny that got me going on such a stream-of-consciousness flow that all dogs within a 50 yard radius of my cell phone were drawn to this “laugh siren” that came from the Restaurant Recruiter himself. It really was embarrassing.

    What I can’t joke about is Carl as a business person and talent scout. If you’re in his space, call him and absorb.

    Then tell a joke or two.

  4. Liz Strauss on November 28th, 2006 8:39 pm

    Carl is a genuine person. He’s the real deal. I’m proud to know him. Thanks for giving us more of his story. 🙂

  5. Sharon Gray on November 28th, 2006 10:06 pm

    Great story. Keep up the great work!

  6. The Recruiting Animal on November 29th, 2006 10:47 am

    Carl Chapman…

    The Executive Restaurant Recruiter. Carl Chapman deserves love. How do I know? Dave Mendoza emailed to tell me so. (That’s Bull Doza for those of you who don’t recognize his real name). And why is Carl so loveable? Here’s what I learned from Dave. 1…

  7. Learn More about Carl Chapman » Confessions of an Executive Restaurant Recruiter on November 29th, 2006 3:47 pm

    […] Yesterday, Dave Mendoza of SixDegressfromDave fame, published an article that was lengthy and well, all together too flattering. It is worth a read if you’d like to get to know more about me and why I blog. […]

  8. New page added - MEDIA » Confessions of an Executive Restaurant Recruiter on November 30th, 2006 1:06 pm

    […] A quick heads up, we’ve added a new page to the blog – MEDIA which is the page that will chronicle other sites that carry stories about us and recognition that our blog receives. The first story is from Dave Mendoza of SixDegreesfromDave. Check it out (if you haven’t already.) […]

  9. Roma Ahuja on December 1st, 2006 11:41 am

    A great post! To be Niched is the greatest challenge!

  10. I Guess It’s True » Confessions of an Executive Restaurant Recruiter on December 1st, 2006 4:29 pm

    […] Dave Mendoza said in his article on me, that my wife and I looked young for our age. It must be true. Today at lunch I got carded when purchasing a Heiniken. I have a witness – none other than Shally Steckerl (great guy) of fame. He was carded also, but I can attest that I have a few years on him. […]

  11. Internet Blog Tag - I’m It. » Confessions of an Executive Restaurant Recruiter on December 20th, 2006 3:37 pm

    […] Dave Mendoza – Internet marketing expert, cybersleuth, and networking king. Dave is so busy writing about others on his blog (including me) that he doesn’t have much time to tell us his story. […]

  12. Seems like not much is going on, kinda of in a funk » Confessions of an Executive Restaurant Recruiter on February 13th, 2007 1:13 pm

    […] I’ve been working my tail off. Launched a new site recently [check out Recruiting-USA that is a portal and a web services site for recruiters], working on a big development project with some off shore programmers [can’t tell you much about it, but I will say that Dave Mendoza mention it in his story on me back in November.] […]

  13. 10 Essential Plug-ins for WordPress Version 2.1 - Optimal Title : on March 29th, 2007 11:44 am

    […] One of the keys to SEO is that keyword phrases that consist of multiple words are ranked differently than keywords that are single words. Most of the search engines (even though all of the algorithms are secret) give more weight to the words the closer they are to the beginning of a phrase. What that means is that if you have a phrase like "what i did on my summer vacation in England" it won’t rank nearly as well for summer vacations in England as the phrase "England summer vacation – what we did." With that bit of knowledge in mind (that keywords in the beginning of a web pages, titles, and phrases are weighted more heavily the closer they are to the beginning of the page) lets examine a very common problem experienced by WordPress users, the bad title syndrome. My good friend Dave Mendoza has a very widely read and linked to blog – Six Degrees from Dave. His blog is a fantastic review of recruiting strategies and explores the movers & shakers and thought leaders in the online recruiting industry. If you notice the title displayed in your browser when you view one of Dave’s articles (try this one about our founder) you will notice that is always "Six Degrees From Dave – Recruitment Blog Networking for Passive Candidates – Dave Mendoza" regardless of the content of the article. That means that every article and page on his blog is ONLY listed with that title so he gets no search engine credit for having titles that are relevant to the subject of the page. As great as his blog is, and as well indexed as it is, he could do much better (search engine ranking wise) if he used the Optimal Title plug in. […]

  14. Carl’s got a brand new bag - Interview on Demand » Confessions of an Executive Restaurant Recruiter on December 28th, 2007 1:06 pm

    […] Mendoza – a fantastic networker, he helped launch my online presence.  Dave has a wonderful blog that gives back immeasurably to the recruiting community.  He […]