The internet is full of lists of interview mistakes. Most are generic, which is you are a manager in the hospitality industry, you already know is the ‘death knell’. Never go into a job interview and be vague, or over explain, and expect to leave the board room with your job.
- Review Your (Relevant) Qualifications – Briefly
How well do you know the job you are applying for? Maybe you majored in Restaurant Management, but if the job you are applying for requires someone to manage the staff then highlight your life coaching education, and your interpersonal skills. If you are applying for a back-office management position then talk about the software you’ve learned to use, book keeping practices, and purchasing experience.
- Tell Me About Your Experience?
Again, I want to see your sales skills. Can you focus on the experience that will help solve problems in my restaurant? But there is more to this than just hearing you talk. Of course, I will be assessing your communication skills. But, I am also assessing your ability to present ideas in the boardroom. If you didn’t prepare, thoroughly, for a job interview, then how can I believe that you will prepare thoroughly for a board meeting with the investors?
You know a job interviewer will ask this question. You know what the job entails. And, you have studied the company. If you haven’t taken the time to write this out, memorize the key points, and revise a few times to present a polished, point driven, presentation then you are not the Candidate I am looking for.
- Work with a Recruiter
I can tell who has prepared with professionals for a job, and who has used Google as their Career Coach. There is one part of the interview that always stumps the unprepared. ‘Ask for the job.’ A novice, or unqualified Hospitality Candidate may deal with this section of the interview by saying ‘Can I have this job?’ or ‘Do intend to hire me?’ As an interviewer I find this a little intrusive.
If you’ve worked with recruiters then I would expect to hear something similar to this. From what I’ve learned, I’m even more interested in this position. I’m ready to get started!. Or, I’m interested in joining your team. What are next steps?’
But even this isn’t polished. This still says that you worked with a recruiter, but more as a leach, or expecting the recruiter to babysit you. A recruiter will help a qualified candidate with these aspects of the interview, but I expect the candidate to take what they learn to a new level.
‘My research showed that this is a solid company. Your questions were in line with my personality and expectations. I feel good about the possibility of working here. Please, can you outline the next steps.’
- Don’t Be Vague
We mentioned this before. If I asked about a project don’t tell me it was a rebuild. Tell me the time frame, the size of your team, the software you used, who you answered to, budget, and most important the effect it had on the restaurant’s profit margin.
If I ask for experiences, then give details. Do not talk in passive voice. Mention people’s first names. Â Describe the environment in minute detail. ‘I was in charge of a redesign’ vs ‘I was head of a 3 person team, which hired 5 contractors to turn an outdate pub style restaurant into an ArcDeco 50’s hamburger joint. We finished in 3 months, and the project improved profits by 3% over a 15 month time span.’
- It’s All About Profit
This is the biggest interview mistake. If you are applying for a restaurant management position, and I interview you, then I want to hear one thing – profit. If you make it through the whole interview without talking about profits, or how your changes/projects decreased expenses, then you do not have the job. Owners and investors do not care whether you are a people person. They want to know how that will reduce turnover, employee training, and increase inhouse promotions, and how that decreased hiring costs.