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How to interview like a pro?

Are you seeking your first internship or job? Follow our tips on how to land a competitive job or internship and take the next step in your career.

How to mentally prepare for your interview by gathering knowledge?

Whether you have a week or a day to prepare for an interview, you will make the best impression if you demonstrate that you understand the mission and vision of the company, and how the role you are interviewing for fits with these objectives.

In the hospitality industry, we recommend focusing on key figures and specifics to the industry and company. For example, you should know how many rooms a hotel has, when peak season is, and how the hotel is ranked online.

Make sure you understand what the company is expecting from candidates applying for the position, then demonstrate company knowledge through your answers to common interview questions. You'll also need to be ready for common interview questions about your hospitality skills and experience.

Practice answering common interview questions and integrating what you've learned from your research to come across as a knowledgeable, well-qualified candidate.

To impress the committee, it's important to demonstrate your familiarity with the company and the position. Brainstorm questions directly related to the position, using your insider knowledge of the industry.

For example, a Food & Beverage management internship candidate might ask about cost to sales ratios.

If you know the name of your interviewer, look him/her up online. LinkedIn makes it easy to do this. (Just don't connect with the interviewer!) Think of questions to ask your interviewer about his or her career path. This shows you take interest in others, and sets you apart from other candidates who are only there to talk about the position.

When you are armed with several thoughtful in-depth questions that demonstrate your knowledge of the position and go past information easily found online, you will impress and be much more likely to land the position.

Physical preparation

It is not all in your head! 

When it comes to making a positive impression for a job interview, it is vital that you look the part. Men should be clean shaven and have well-pressed clean business clothing. Women should have clean, well-pressed business attire and wear light makeup.

In hospitality, suit and tie is typical for men; skirt or pants suit is typical for women. If the particular company has a more casual dress code, then you can adapt your outfit to that. However You only have one chance to make a good impression.

It is important to look well-rested and alert. Do not stay out late the night before an interview; take breakfast to raise your energy levels beforehand.

If you have a phone interview via Skype, take the precaution of cleaning up the environment around you. Room clutter such as furniture, fluorescent lighting, or distracting wall art could distract the interviewer from your answers.

Recruiters’ expectations

When you know what the recruiters expect to see in a strong candidate, you can position yourself in a good light and avoid making missteps that could derail your chances. In a guest-facing hospitality internship position, recruiters want to see that you are business oriented and display a strong customer service attitude. They want a candidate who is willing to learn, yet has the basic skills and genuine interest.

For an administrative internship or a first job for a young bachelor graduate,recruiters want to see creativity, interest, skills, professionalism, and good mastery of technical requirements.If you can demonstrate these strengths, plus show how you work well with teams or on complicated projects, you will impress the interview committee.

Rather than intimidate you, knowing expectations can bolster your confidence - or show you where to demonstrate that willingness to learn. 

Format and length

A short interview can mean either that the fit is great and the company is excited about you, or that they do not think there is a good match and are not seriously considering you. A long interview can mean that the interview is great, or that you are not speaking to your strengths and the recruiter is pushing for more information that could change his or her mind. It can be difficult, but try not to overthink interview length.

In terms of interview format for jobs in hospitality, expect a discussion where your interviewer will pose questions for you to answer. Sometimes, you may also be expected to take a quiz, language test, or other written exam.

Be ready for all options, and try your best to remain calm and composed during the entire interview.

Behavior: Look everyone in the eye, listen, and answer the question.

Always bring a copy of your resume and cover letter, just in case they're needed. If the committee wants to see any other documents, take them along on a USB key.

While you wait and during the interview, sit up straight with your hands on the table. Keep your feet on the ground and avoid twitching or shifting, as this can be distracting to interviewers. It can be hard when your are nervous but smile and remember to be yourself.

Hospitality recruiters often meet several candidates in a row. Always try to be engaging, while offering succinct explanations to the question. If you aren't sure what's being asked, it's alright to ask the interviewer to repeat the question.

Finally, always remember to ask a few questions when it's your turn to demonstrate your knowledge and interest.

What to highlight during your job interview?

Any recruiter will want to hear what makes you the best candidate for the position, so be prepared to explain in detail how your past experience can help you achieve the requirements of the position.

Demonstrate with specific examples that paint a picture. If your work history isn't very long, draw on extra-curricular or school activities that helped you developed particular skills required for the position.

Where you do not have a specific skill that is desired, highlight your open-mindedness and the fact that you are willing to learn on the job. Never make up an experience or quality if you do not have it. Stay humble and do not appear to believe you are the best, even if you have a naturally confident personality.

What you should know before the end of a job interview?

Learning what you should know by the end of the interview helps you ask all the right questions during the interview, and sets your expectations for what should happen next.

By the end of the interview, make sure that you understand (if you don't already know):

  • The position pre-requisites and requirements
  • The structure of the team/department where you will be working
  • What the work ambiance/culture is like
  • Why there is an open position? Is it a new position, or did someone leave?
  • When the committee plans to make a decision, or what the next steps are in the hiring process?

There are some things that should wait until a second round interview. Avoid asking about company benefits, vacation/days off, overtime pay, or salary until you receive a follow-up interview. Asking too soon sends the wrong message to the committee.