So you’re looking for a job and you landed an interview. Maybe it’s your first interview or maybe it’s your tenth. You will feel more confident going into the interview by following these 10 steps:
1. Do Your Research
Know something about the restaurant, bar and/or hotel prior to the interview. One question that employers often ask is, “what do you know about us?” If you don’t know anything about them, they may assume that you’re not really interested. Employers want candidates who want to work for them. Check out their website and social media pages. Maybe you’ve eaten at their restaurant before and enjoyed a particular dish – tell them that! Or perhaps you have experience in the type of cuisine that they serve. Find a common ground in the beginning, and you’re sure to gain some extra points.
2. Arrive on Time
On time means 10 minutes early – not 30 minutes early and definitely not 1 minute late. If you arrive late to the interview, employers will assume that you will be late to the job, and that never leaves a good impression. While it’s assumed that you’ll arrive early, don’t arrive TOO early, as employers schedule your interview around their availability. If you walk in early, they may feel rushed to meet with you. Wait in your car or hang out at a coffee shop until it’s time to walk in. Drive there in traffic the day before, just so you have an idea of how long it will take to get there and where to park.
3. Dress Appropriately
While it may be tempting to wear your whites, or jeans and a tee, please refrain. The rule of thumb is to dress in interview attire – in other words, dress to impress. Employers make an immediate impression of you within the first 30 seconds. When you dress your best, you feel your best as well. That confidence will exude the minute you walk through the door if you look and feel good about yourself.
4. Check Yourself
Or better yet, have someone else (spouse or friend) check you before you head out the door. Leave the cologne and/or perfume on the shelf – do not wear it to the interview. Nails should be short and clean. Hair should be neatly trimmed. This should go without saying, but there should be no smoke or alcohol smell on you whatsoever. Leave your sunglasses/hat in the car and last of all, ditch the gum.
5. Be Prepared to Stage
If you’re applying for a cook or chef job, you should arrive in regular interview attire, but come prepared to stage just in case. Have your chef coat and tool kit in your car ready to go.
6. Update Your Resume
There is nothing that screams, “not prepared” than to have a resume that is outdated, or worse yet, to not have a resume at all. You should also have a list of references with contact information, including former supervisors and co-workers who can vouch for your work performance and work ethic. Make it easy for them to hire you by coming to the interview with all of the necessary documents.
7. Know Your Strengths
One question that employers love to ask is, “why should we hire you?” Make sure you have an answer to this question before you go to an interview. Having a good work ethic, being passionate about your work, and being reliable are all solid characteristics that employers look for. What makes you stand out from the others? What do your former employers and co-workers say you are good at? Be sure to communicate that to the employer. The interview is your time to shine, but please check your ego at the door.
8. Ask Questions
Employers typically end the interview with, “do you have any questions for me?” This is your opportunity to show them that you’re interested by asking questions that they may not have answered in the interview. Asking them what they like most about working at that company is always a good thing to learn. Also finding out why the position is open can tell you about their turnover rate. If they say that someone just quit and that this is the 3rd line cook they’ve hired in 3 months, then that’s not a good sign. If they say that someone just got promoted, then that’s a good indicator that there is opportunity for growth. Remember that you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.
9. Close the Deal
This is a job interview, and you’re not the only candidate that they’ve met. If you want the job, ask for it. Let them know how much you enjoyed meeting them and that you would love to work for them. Find out what the next steps are. Perhaps they plan to have 2nd interviews, or maybe they are ready to make a decision by the end of the week. Either way, find out when you can follow up with them. If they have a business card, be sure to get that before you leave.
10. Send a Thank You
Why? Because no one does that anymore and it will make you stand out. It doesn’t matter if it’s an email or snail mail, sending them a thank you is the polite thing to do. It also gives you one more opportunity to express your interest in the job. Enthusiasm wins every time.