12 tips for nailing a job interview
How to nail an interview in 12 easy steps
So, you’ve managed to bag an interview. Give yourself a big pat on the back! Trying to get your relevant experience, expertise and personality across in just a CV and cover letter is hard work, but you did it! Now it’s time for your first interview with the company, so it’s really your time to shine.
Here at Hotedin, we are experts in matching the right candidate to the right role and company in hospitality. Regardless of if your interview is in the hospitality sector, these tips will help you own the interview and hopefully come out with the job of your dreams!
Do your research
This is probably the most important thing you can do before your interview. Make sure you read over the job description thoroughly, taking note of any specific areas in which you excel in. The interviewer will want to feel that you want this role, so knowing what it entails is imperative to success.
Don’t just do your research on the role itself. Look into the company, too. Look at their values, business model and what their long term goals are. Having this kind of knowledge will make you stand out from other candidates.
You could even go a step further and check the company and hiring manager out on LinkedIn. Having a good knowledge of their background can only be a good thing and may give you something interesting to talk about when it comes to your interview.
Okay, it seems pretty obvious, we know. But make sure you take a long hard look at your talents, expertise and personality traits before you go into the interview. Try and think how these traits will make you a good candidate for the job. For example, are you naturally approachable and cheerful? Then you’d be great for the front of house job. Are you willing to learn and quick on your feet? You’d be a perfect commis chef!
We suggest writing down your top skills and characteristics and comparing them against the job description. Bringing these notes with you to the interview makes you look prepared and capable.
Make a good first impression
We’re all heard the line “first impressions are everything” and that is so true, especially when it comes to interviewing. You don’t have a long time to leave a lasting impression on the interviewer, so make sure the first couple of minutes count. In fact, statistics say that a first impression takes as little as seven seconds.
So how do you win someone over in seven seconds?! First of all, SMILE. We know how hard it is to put on a big grin when you’re feeling nervous, but as the saying goes, you’ve got to just grin and bear it. Doing that will set you in good stead for the rest of the interview.
Secondly, dress well. Even if you’re going for a job as a pot wash, it’s incredibly important to look presentable before your interview. You don’t have to hire an Armani suit or get an expensive haircut. Just make sure you look clean, well rested and happy to be there. A simple white shirt, black trousers and combed hair can make all the difference.
Thirdly, when the interview first greets you, be sure to look them in the eye and give a firm handshake. Oh, and don’t forget to smile!
It’s especially important to make a good first impression if you are applying for a role that involves communicating with customers; front of house, waitressing, hotel staff for example.
A lot of us struggle with this one and it’s not surprising. Selling yourself doesn’t often feel natural and many people are afraid of coming across as cocky. One thing you have to remember is this: being interviewed is all about singing your own praises. You want people to love you. You want them to think you’re the bee’s knees. Why? Because you want them to hire you! If there’s one time where you can truly brag about yourself it is in an interview. So take the opportunity to enjoy it.
Being confident can be hard work, especially if you’re having a rough day. We suggest following these steps to boost your confidence and have you feeling like a million bucks.
But not too early. Don’t turn up half an hour before your interview slot but don’t turn up on the dot either. We suggest arriving ten minutes early to show that you are keen, punctual and well organised.
If you are running late, make sure you phone the interviewer or your recruitment agency to let them know and make sure you have a valid reason for your tardiness.
Mind your manners
This should go without saying, but we’re gonna throw this in here anyway. Make sure you say please and thank you, not just to the interview but to any other staff that welcome you. Don’t chew gum. Don’t swear or blaspheme. Listen to people while they’re talking. Don’t pick your nose (seriously, don’t do this one). Another nice touch is to always thank the interviewer for their time and wish them a good day.
Take your time
No matter how much you prepare, it’s likely that the interviewer will ask you questions that will require a bit of thinking time. Don’t feel like you have to answer straight away. It is absolutely okay to deliberate over the answer a little to make sure you answer as best you can. The interviewer would prefer you to take a moment to reflect on your relevant experience over lying, guessing or simply not answering because you want to give a quick answer. You only get one shot so make sure it counts!
If you’re a bit worried about coming off as absent-minded, just confirm to the interviewer that you’re taking a bit of time to think about the answer. If you really cannot answer, be honest and tell them. You could even ask them for the answer so you know for future reference.
This interview isn’t just a chance for the hiring manager to find out about you, it’s also your chance to find out about them. It’s important to make sure that the role and company are right for you, so come prepared with five to ten questions to ask them.
If you’re really stumped on what questions to ask, here are a few of our own suggestions.
What does a typical day in the role look like?
What are the company’s long term goals?
How do you measure success in the role?
What career opportunities are there here?
What do you like about the company?
Who are your competitors?
Do a practise run
Doing a test run of the interview with a friend or family member is a great idea. Practising with yourself isn’t going to have the same effect. Ask someone who will be able to throw questions at you that you aren’t expecting. You are simply not going to expect every question the interviewer asks you so doing this gets you into the habit of taking your time to reflect and answer appropriately.
We suggest doing the practise run in a formal setting as you would do in a real interview. You might feel a bit silly to begin with, but it’s one of the best things you can do to prepare so try to take it seriously!
Plan, plan, plan
We aren’t going to tell you to stay up all night planning what to do, say and wear (in fact, on the contrary, we’d encourage you to get at least eight hours sleep) but we do suggest planning as much in advance as possible. That includes your outfit, your journey and what you’ll take with you. It’s never a bad idea to print out a copy of the job description, your CV, cover letter and any other supporting documents such as a portfolio or examples of your work.
You might be great at putting on an alter ego to hide your nerves but remember to let your true personality shine through. Remember, they wanna hire you for YOU. The real you. We’re not telling you to say any thought that pops into your head (we all have things that we think but don’t say) but make sure that you’re being authentic, real and honest. You’ll want to build up a rapport with the interviewer and you can only do that by being yourself.
Say thank you
This isn’t always necessary, but it’s nice to write a quick email after your interview to thank the interviewer for their time. We suggest doing it within two hours of your interview. This way, you will come across as keen and organised but also be kept fresh in the interviewer’s mind.
If you got your interview through a recruiter (such as Hotedin), send them an email asking them to pass on your thanks.
That’s it from us at Hotedin. We wish you all the best on your interview and if you are looking for a role in hospitality, check out our latest vacancies here. Please also feel free to get in touch or follow us at LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.
Also refer : Jooble