Interview Tips #1

We will be releasing a set of Interview Tips for Candidates to review. These tips will assist you during the interview process for hiring companies. We have found these to be very useful and provide proven results that candidates have been able to acquire their “dream” jobs using our very simple guidelines. Our first set of tips will be what our candidates have done PREVIOUS to going into their interview with their potential employers. Enjoy!

Before the Interview:

  1. Research
    Research the company and the job. Libraries, the Internet (including Hospitality Online), industry magazines, the local Visitor and Convention Bureau, and competing hotels and restaurants are all good sources. If you know who you will be interviewing with, try to find a short bio on that person.

    Always visit the location you will be working at before the interview to see how well they are managed, how clean they are, and if they are well maintained. Greet some employees to see how they respond (they don’t have to know who you are or that you are there for a job interview). If you are flying in for an interview always arrive a few hours before the interview so you can walk the property before your interview to at least see the public space. Your “walk through” will give you a flavor of the property and company and provide you a reference point during your interview. It will indicate whether cleanliness is really stressed, how well the physical facility is maintained, whether employees are in uniform, what the dress code appears to be, etc.
  2. Practice
    Practice your interview at least three times in front of a mirror at home with a critical audience. It is always best if you can find someone you know and can trust, who is currently in the position you are applying for. Pick their brains!If you can, find someone who is in the same position as the person who will be interviewing you. Ask them to do a mock interview with you. Make up a list of all the questions you think you will be asked. Have someone grill you on the questions with a third party sitting in to critique your answers and your body language. Dress for these mock interviews. You may or may not guess the questions you will be asked but you will be prepared. Odds are, most of the questions potential employers will ask, will be similar to the ones you have practiced.

    You will be probably be asked to give an overview of your background. Can you easily summarize it, within 2-5 minutes, showing your career progression and how each position helped prepare you for the position you are applying for? You will also probably be asked to identify your strengths and weaknesses…What are they and what steps are you taking to solidify your strengths and minimize/overcome your weaknesses? What do you feel are your most significant accomplishments and why? Why should you be considered for the position you are applying for? How have you made your current company better? What are the three most important things you do in your current job?

    What would make you more effective in your current job? What don’t you like about your current job?

    There are hundreds of questions you can prepare. Just stick with the basics. Your objective is to think about your upcoming interview in relation to your current career progression. If you accomplish that you will be way ahead of most of your peers.

    Questions to watch out for? Questions that start with HOW or WHY. Smart employers will often be more interested in how and why you did something rather than in what you did. Spend some time thinking about your current job. Why do you do what you do? How do you do it? How you could do it better? Review your accomplishments and be prepared to support your answers with facts and figures.  Keep your answers short, and don’t ramble on and on.
  3. Dress and Manner
    Determine your dress and manner. Figure out what you are going to wear to the interview and how you will act. Have your hair and nails neatly groomed and shoes shined. Women should avoid excessive make-up, gaudy jewelry, or a bunch of bracelets (or a charm bracelet) that makes noise every time you move, and minimize the number of earrings you wear. Men should have neatly trimmed beards or mustaches, and leave earrings at home. A job interview is not the time to express your individuality or a fashion statement.

    Your usual choice of clothing may be very tasteful, but if you arrive looking like you slept in your clothes odds are you will not get the job offer, even if your clothes have designer names. Will your interview be in an area of high humidity? Will the clothes you are going to wear to the interview stand up if your prospective employer asks you to take a tour of the property parking lot or kitchen?

    The purpose of the job interview is to present yourself in your best light. Play it safe! The objective of the job interview, from your perspective, is to get a job offer. Once you have the job offer you can decide whether your style fits in with their culture. Even if you decide five minutes into the interview that you don’t want the job you still want to get the job offer. You never know what doors this prospective employer might be able to open for you. Remember the old adage “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

    Interviewing over a meal? Eat conservatively. Avoid spaghetti and other foods that can spatter and spoil a shirt, blouse, or tie. Don’t smoke or drink alcoholic beverages while you are interviewing. You are still interviewing if you are staying overnight at a hotel. The prospective employer may be paying for your stay and may monitor your bill after you check out. Other employees will notice if you had drinks, even if you pay for them yourself. Some employers don’t mind a drink or two. It is just safer to avoid them during the interview process even if they tell you it is OK. Again, you are not likely to know the culture of the company you are interviewing with and potential employer tolerance of alcoholic beverages is not the same as acceptance. How do you feel about drug tests and submitting to a background investigation? Figure out your response before it comes up. Had a DWI? Several speeding tickets and a suspended license? If these things happened to you, even if it was years ago, be prepared to answer them.
  4. Questions
    Make a list of questions you would like to ask the prospective employer. Smart employers will ask HOW and WHY questions. Have some of your own. Avoid asking about salary and benefits during the first interview unless they make you a job offer on the spot.

    Good questions to ask? What are the three most important parts of this job? How do you measure success for each of them? How will your performance be measured and monitored the first three months? Why is this position vacant? How many people have held this job the last five years? What difficulties did they experience? How could they have been more successful? Why isn’t someone being promoted?

We will release our tips for during the interview next week, make sure to follow up! The steps above do help to prepare yourself for the interview so you walk in feeling confident, and like you did the most you could do before the interview, however if you don’t know how to perform, act, or what to say during the interview, you still won’t be at the top of your game!

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