Questions To Ask Or Avoid In The Job Interview
Are you prepared to ace your next hotel or restaurant interview? Do you know how to handle yourself when interviewing for a resort job or a stint on a cruise ship? If not, you're just spinning your wheels.
Prepping for that hospitality interview.
No one likes job interviews. You feel like you're under the spotlight being grilled like a tuna steak. But it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, it shouldn't be that way. Whether it's a hospitality interview, restaurant interview, hotel or food service interview, you can prepare yourself.
Start by learning as much as you can about the company offering the job. The world wide web will provide some help since most resorts, hotels and restaurants have some kind of web site so do a little research to find out what you can about your potential employer.
Review the job posting carefully to see if you have the necessary credentials. If you just graduated from culinary school, chances are you're looking for an entry-level position to pick up some real-world experience. On the other hand, if you've been a line cook for the past five years, that kitchen manager job may be the ideal "next step up the ladder." In other words, make sure you fit the job and the job fits you, your education, training and skills.
Scope out the place if it's nearby. Drive by to see if it's an A-list eatery or the local shrimp shack (Home of the Bottomless Shrimp Bowl). Obviously, the A-list restaurant will require more kitchen skills than the shrimp shack—a good thing to know going in to that interview.
The food and hospitality industry is a pretty tight-knit group so, chances are, you might know someone who already works at the resort, hotel or restaurant where you intend to apply for a job. Contact good ol' Fred to see if it's a good place to work.
Finally, prepare a list of questions you want answered during the interview.
Ask questions. lots of them.
An interview isn't a one-way street where you're on the hot seat answering all of the questions. An interview, especially in the food and hospitality industry, is your opportunity to determine if this is a job YOU want. It's a give-and-take so feel free to ask questions of the interviewer. It shows you're prepared, knowledgeable and involved.
Let the interviewer control the interview. Wait until you've heard the job description and duties. In fact, let the interviewer explain the job in detail. Many of your questions may be answered before you even ask them.
Now, there are questions that are acceptable and some best left unasked. Know which is which.
Questions to ask during a hospitality interview.
Obviously, you want to know all about the job, responsibilities, management structure and so on. Here are some good questions to ask during that initial interview:
- What would my daily responsibilities include?
- Who would be my manager? (your boss)
- What hours would I be expected to work?
- Is there an opportunity for overtime work? (always good)
- Why did the last person leave the position? (If the gig is horrible, you want to know now!)
- Does the hotel, resort or restaurant have a policy of promoting from within? (Important to know if you're growing a career.)
Questions to avoid during hospitality interview.
The key, here, is to avoid sounding like you're only interested in what the job can do for you rather than what you can do for the employer. So, at least during that first interview, avoid questions that seem too "me" oriented:
- How much do I get paid? Also, how often do I get paid? (Interview death.)
- When is my first vacation? (They'll show you the door if you ask this one!)
- How many vacation days do I get? (Same with sick days. Don't ask during your first interview)
- Do you provide uniforms? (Who cares? You'll find out before you accept the position so don't sweat the small stuff during the first interview.)
Here's the bottom line when it comes to hospitality and food service job interviews: Don't think of the interview as an interrogation; think of it as a give-and-take session in which you ask some questions, you answer some questions. The point, for both you and the interviewer, is to determine if this is a good fit of your skills and the job needs. It's not personal.
Hospitality jobs, hotel, restaurant and resort jobs, food service gigs—these service sector jobs are growing quickly and skilled, trained people are needed. Now! So walk into that interview with confidence, a smile and a list of questions you want answered. You'll feel less nervous, you'll appear better prepared—and that will set you apart from the competition.