It will help you stand out from the crowd and can also help settle nerves. We’ve put together this list of helpful tips and tricks based on years of feedback from clients and candidates alike to help you prepare and ace your interview whether that be by telephone/skype, formal or informal face to face interview or working trial.
Some studies indicate that interviewers make up their minds about candidates in the first five minutes of the interview – and then spend the rest of the interview looking for things to confirm that decision.
So, what will employers actually be looking out for during your interview?
- Social skills: You should demonstrate that you’d be a pleasure to work with
- Professionalism: Your presentation must be sharp, efficient, and diplomatic
- Punctuality: Always arrive on time, even better would be 15 minutes early
- Reliability: You need to present yourself as genuine and earnest
- The Details Matter: From your outfit to your posture, everything is information
- Confidence: You should demonstrate you’re suitable for the job and/or able to handle the responsibilities or show you’re able to develop and push yourself until you are confident enough to fulfil the duties of the role. Do be yourself – you want to project an authentic and genuine demeanour
Because the process can be so brief, interviewers are also looking out carefully for the following:
- Your Appearance: Are you stylish, professional, and meticulous?
- Your Tact: Do you understand appropriate professional language and etiquette?
- Your Body Language: Are you someone who projects success and commands respect but not arrogance?
- Work Ethic: Are you someone who is a team player and a hard worker?
- Interest: Are you someone who shows genuine interest for the role and a passion for your chosen profession?
Preparation is the key to ensuring the above points are portrayed and will help you to be shine above other candidates
Your Taste Hospitality Consultant will have already sent you some information about the establishment including the website. Take your time to read thoroughly through the website (and group website if relevant) along with Google/press releases/Tripadvisor. This will give you a good overview of the company and style of the establishment and if you also take note of key details appropriate for your department, such as how many restaurants does the establishment have, what is the food style, how many bedrooms do they have (if any), is it a city or rural location. A good knowledge and understanding of the company will not only give you a better insight into the company but will also help you answer any questions you’re asked and show genuine enthusiasm for the role.
Use websites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Great British Chefs etc to find out more about who you are meeting. You could also use the above to research key people in the company such as the Exec/Head Chef, The Owner or General Manager.
Have three to five key selling points in mind, such as what makes you the best candidate for the position and be prepared to tell the interviewer why you want that job – including what interests you have and what abilities you possess. If an interviewer doesn’t think you’re interested in the job, he or she won’t give you an offer.
Don’t make the mistake of just sitting there waiting for the interviewer to ask you about that Nobel Prize you won. It’s your responsibility to make sure he walks away knowing your key selling points.
Dress appropriately for the company you are visiting, make eye contact, give a firm handshake, have good posture, speak clearly and look interested and engaging. Smile, from the moment you enter the building and meeting the reception team and during your interview.
Don’t slouch, use your mobile phone or look at your feet (you’d be surprised how many people do).
Come to the interview with some intelligent questions for the interviewer that demonstrate your knowledge of the company as well as your interest. Interviewers always ask if you have any questions. Try to avoid questions about salary, benefits or hours as you will have the opportunity to ask your consultant these sort of details after your interview and we can negotiate for you.
Instead try to use the focus on questions that show genuine interest for the company.
Every “how to interview” book has a list of a hundred or more “common interview questions.” (You might wonder just how long those interviews are if there are that many common questions!) So how do you prepare? Pick any list and think about which questions you’re most likely to encounter, given your age and position. Then prepare your answers so you won’t have to fumble for them during the actual interview. However don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know the answer to a question; it’s better than faking it.
No one likes a complainer, so don’t dwell on negative experiences during an interview. Even if the interviewer asks you point blank, “Why do you want to leave your current role” be honest of course but try to put a positive spin on it and don’t spend 15mins explaining why you don’t like your boss.
Examples of possible answers when asked that question:
- Wrong Example: The role is rubbish and I don’t like my boss; he makes me do stupid tasks and doesn’t teach me anything
- Correct Example: I have really enjoyed my time with this company and I have learnt a lot however I feel it’s time to move on, I feel unable to progress in the company and fulfil my potential, so I would like to join a company where I am valued as an employee and I can grow with the establishment and for my own personal development.
If you get to the end of an interview and think you’d really like that job, speak up! Tell the interviewer that you’d really like the job – that you were excited about it before the interview and are even more excited now, and that you’re convinced you’d like to work there and believe you would be a good fit.
If there are two equally good candidates at the end of the search – you and someone else – the interviewer will think you’re more likely to accept the offer, and thus may be more inclined to make an offer to you.
FINALLY – it is totally normal to be nervous for an interview and potential employers will be aware of this, often employers are also nervous as it’s their job to show you why you should want to work for their company to you as well. If you have any questions for your consultant or think you need any more information from them to help you prepare for your interview, just give us a shout, it’s what we are here for!
The Taste Team