As your interview for a hospitality position quickly approaches, you may feel as though you are prepared for anything. You know what it is you want from your career, who you are as a person, and what your strengths and weaknesses are.
While confidence is an excellent trait to have, don’t get too comfortable just yet. Take a look at the interview tips we’ve listed below.
Failure to be adequately prepared has derailed more than one promising interview, and because the hospitality industry is a demanding one, hiring managers want to feel assured that you are more than capable of handling the position.
1. Conduct a Pre-Interview Visit
Conduct a pre-interview visit to your prospective employer. If possible, visit the establishment you will be interviewing with before the interview and take a close look around at what you see. How do the employees interact with one another?
What is the décor like? Does the facility seem to operate smoothly? Doing a previsit will give you a sense of whether or not this is a business you will be happy working at.
2. Don’t Schedule Your Interview During Lunchtime
During your interview, you want to maximize the impression you make on your interviewer; therefore, avoid scheduling your interview before, during, or immediately after lunch. Before lunch, your interviewer may be too hungry to concentrate on what you’re saying. Immediately after lunch, he or she may be in a food coma.
3. Before Your Interview
Before your interview, make contact with your prospective employer to understand what the dress code is while being interviewed. If in doubt, dress smartly.
4. Prepare a Checklist
Prepare a checklist before you set off for your interview. At a minimum, you should have with you your resume, the email/letter inviting you to attend the interview, examples of your work, and a list of questions you would like to ask your interviewer.
5. Act like You Are Cramming for a Test
Read everything you can about the establishment’s owners, their amenities and investments, expansion plans, etc. Being familiar with what is important to them will provide you with a sense of what the owners wish to accomplish through their business.
6. Get Familiar with Key Terms
Night auditor, doorman, and concierge are just a small handful of the positions available at bigger hotels and eating establishments.
Prepare by learning what each of these positions should be doing compared to what they are actually doing at the hotel. Are there certain tasks that could be improved or combined?
7. Make Sure You Look the Part
This refers back to tip number one. You only have a few seconds to make a first impression. Hospitality managers often deal with high end business executives and salesperson, so it will be important to wear what they will frequently be wearing around the hotel.
Designing the right costume will take research and time, but if you want the part, then you need to look it.
8. Always Be on Time
Be on time! Better yet, arrive to your interview 15 to 20 minutes early.
9. Research Hospitality Related Questions
Research hospitality related questions that are commonly asked during interviews. A quick internet search will provide you with dozens of examples. Your goal is to craft concise, but detailed responses that focus on your specific accomplishments and goals.
Prepare for the “What is your greatest weakness?” question. Regardless of what industry you work in, this question always seems to come up in interviews. Remember, the goal here is not to spout off a canned answer, but to demonstrate to your prospective employer how you overcome your weakness.
11. Put Your Interviewer at Ease
Most interviewers do not want to be at the interview any more than the interviewee does. Smile and relax. Managers often won’t remember who had the best resume, but they will remember the applicants who made them smile.
12. Be Conscious of Your Body Language
In a similar fashion, be aware of your body language during your interview. Maintaining eye contact and smiling at appropriate times are important. Additionally, you need to make a conscious effort to vary the speed and tone of your voice throughout the interview.
13. Be an Attentive Listener
Attempt to look interested in what your interviewer is saying. Encourage your interviewer to talk, and do not interrupt them.
Refer back to previous points he or she has mentioned in order to demonstrate that you are listening, and always ask questions about the employer’s needs, so you can clarify what their expectations of the job holder are.
14. Try Not to Talk
Try not to talk for more than 2-3 minutes at a time. On paper, this might sound like a long time, but if you try it out, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it passes. You don’t want to bore your interviewer to death, and you want to encourage he or she to talk as well.
15. Ask Insightful Questions
Multiple studies have demonstrated that interviewers make a judgement about a prospective employee’s interest in the position by whether or not he or she asks questions during the interview. The smart job seeker will prepare these questions a few days in advance.
16. Be Yourself
This advice might sound overly simplistic, but it is important. The hospitality industry is all about dealing with hundreds of people on a daily basis, and a prospective employer is going to want to see your true personality. Be passionate and embrace who you are.
17. Keep the Charm Going
Of course, you are going to be on your best behavior when dealing with your interviewer, but don’t turn off the charm after you leave their office.
From the valet to the front desk person, keep up your cheerful and pleasant persona until you are off the property. After all, there is a very real chance that these people will become your future coworkers or employees, and you want to get off to a good start.
18. Don’t Forget the All-Important Thank You Note
The hospitality industry tends to be traditional, and the fast dying art of thanking is still very much appreciated.
Even if your chances of getting the job you want are slim, send a thank you note as quickly as you can. Most hotels tend to be closely connected, and a positive impression can go a long way in securing the position you want – even if it is with another company.
19. Follow up with the interviewer.
If, after two weeks from the date of your interview, you still have not heard anything from the business you interviewed with, make a follow-up inquiry.
20. Review Your Performance During the Interview
If you are receiving zero job offers, take a good hard look at your interview performance. Do not be afraid to request feedback from the hiring managers you have spoken with and ask them how they think you can improve.
Once you’ve received such feedback, you can modify your technique and do much better at your next interview.