"Hi, can I work for you?"
With those six words, Kevin Matuszak, 25, began his public quest to work for Applebee's, the popular restaurant chain. The Philadelphia native posted the comment on the company's Facebook page on November 26. When a member of the Applebee's social media team told him to check if his local restaurant was hiring, Matuszak boldly responded, "I want to work for corporate in marketing."
Matuszak graduated from Temple University in 2010 with a B.A. in advertising. He has work experience in media sales and account management, and currently serves as an account manager at CBS Radio in Philadelphia.
His initial thread has received more than 400 likes and 300 comments. Friends, family and strangers from all over have contributed to the conversation. The comments are overwhelmingly encouraging, and Applebee's has been a constant presence in the discussion.
After some back and forth, those at the helm of the restaurant giant's social media presence proposed that the spokesman-hopeful make a video to express his sincerity. Using the hashtag #HireKevin, Matuszak and his supporters responded by creating four.
Applebee's reposted and retweeted Matuszak's official campaign video detailing his desire to be the face of the brand. (The Applebee's Facebook page has more than 3.5 million Likes and their twitter account has more than 52,100 followers.) Since Applebee's posted the campaign video on Facebook, it has received more than 800 Likes.
I interviewed Matuszak through email about #HireKevin and his aspirations to work for the company.
Kathleen Garvin: Why did you pursue Applebee's?
Kevin Matuszak: Applebee's needs a face and I want to be it. It's as simple as that.
Why did you go about it the way you did?
The whole "Hi, can I work for you?" approach is typically how I approach everything in life. I kind of just ask to see if I can get what I want and if it's a no, well then I'll still try anyway. Why beat around the bush? I work in sales; 98 percent of my life (including my dating life) is rejection.
Have you heard from corporate at all, aside from Facebook and Twitter?
Yes, I have heard from corporate. Nothing has been discussed in terms of employment though. They just said the campaign video was awesome. Right now I think the best way to put it, in my opinion, is that we're like two teenagers in high school who are flirting with each other, but afraid to fully engage. I'm putting the full court press on and Applebee's is into it, but when it comes to making the move we are both shy.
Are you surprised by Applebee's and others' support of your project?
I'm completely surprised as to how this went viral. It's pretty amazing, haha. People from all over the country and different parts of the world have become supporters of this movement. That little "Hi, can I work for you?" question has led to two campaign songs (here and here) and now a campaign video (above). People are just contributing through social media anyway they can and it's great.
The way that Applebee's embraced this whole thing has been awesome too. It really shows their personality and willingness to listen to their consumers. When they posted my campaign video on their Facebook wall and tweeted it out -- my jaw dropped. This whole thing has been so fun and, who knows, maybe I'll be their spokesman soon?
What do you think? Should Applebee's #HireKevin?