5 Pre-Job Interview Tips You Can't Afford To Ignore
Avoid missing five tips that will help you prepare for the job interview.
By Angela Rose for Hcareers.com
The hospitality industry offers a broad range of job opportunities from hotels and restaurants, but pursuing one can drive you crazy. Tangling with online application systems, sending out dozens of resumes, and waiting for the phone to ring is enough to make you lose your mind. Fortunately, it’s possible to retain your senses despite these challenges. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” so if you’ve previously tried and failed, consider these pre-job interview tips you can’t afford to ignore if you want to put an end to the madness.
1. Match the job requirements to your skills.
Hiring managers look for candidates who satisfy the requirements of the job, whether it’s as a front office supervisor or a food and beverage manager. If you’ve made it to the interview round of the screening process, he or she obviously thinks you have what it takes. However, standing out as the best candidate at this face-to-face meeting is important. Prepare to do so by carefully comparing the job description to your skills and experience. You’ll use your findings later.
For example, a recent posting for a cook at Embassy Suites Hotels specified that the successful candidate must “assist other departments wherever necessary and maintain good working relationships.” On a piece of paper, you would note the skills you have that enable you to satisfy the requirements. Then jot down possible stories from past jobs that illustrate them. Likewise, if you were to apply for a job in Canada as a front desk night manager at Bellstar Hotels & Resorts, you can include examples that prove you possess managerial skills that meet the job's requirements.
2. Communicate your selling points.
Once you’ve completed your analysis of the hospitality job description, review your notes to find your top selling points. These will be the three biggest reasons the hiring manager should select you as the best candidate. For example, Celebrity Cruises recently posted a job for a traveling chief housekeeper. If you’ve worked with multicultural teams, have developed housekeeping procedures, and have previous managerial experience at an upscale hotel or resort, you might be the ideal candidate. If you were to apply for job as a restaurant server at the Hyatt Regency in London, you can provide experiences you have had working with customers. While it’s important to answer the questions the interviewer asks, try to find ways to reiterate your selling points several times over the course of the conversation.
3. Formulate responses to frequently asked interview questions.
It may seem counterintuitive, but preparing answers to possible interview questions is the best way to ensure your responses don’t come across as robotic or rehearsed. Glassdoor’s list of the 50 most common interview questions is a great place to start. Develop replies to queries such as, “Why do you want to be a hostess at P.F. Changs?” or “Why should The Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Ontario, Canada hire you as a bellperson?” ahead of time and you can then focus on factors such as tone of voice, eye contact, and body language that also influence the hiring manager’s perception of you. Don’t forget to work in those illustrative stories you noted earlier.
4. Draft a few questions of your own.
At the end of the interview, it’s likely the hiring manager will ask if you have any questions. Respond with, “No, I think you’ve covered it,” or something similar, and he or she may decide you’re disengaged or lazy. This portion of the conversation is your opportunity to show him or her that you’ve done your research and want to understand what it takes to be a successful employee of his hotel or restaurant.
For example, consider questions such as:
• What characteristics do your best guest service agents possess?
• How does Celebrity Cruises in London measure the success of its cruise sales associates?
• I read that your hotel is planning to expand in the next year. How will that impact the bar staff?
• Do you have any concerns about my potential to succeed at Doubletree?
5. Stage a dress rehearsal.
Put on your interview outfit, grab a friend with a video camera, and rehearse the material you’ve prepared. Review the footage you collect and discuss ways to improve on your answers, facial expressions, body language, hand gestures, delivery, and appearance. Repeat the process until you’re able to present a confident, polished version of your best self. If you come across as anxious, overzealous, arrogant, bored, or unfriendly, even credentials from the most prestigious hospitality program may not be enough to ensure you land the job.
Are you ready to master your next interview? A few hours of preparation may be all that stands between you and your dream hotel or restaurant job. For more career development tips and tricks, visit Hcareers.
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About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends, and workplace issues for Hcareers.com.
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