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15 Tips to Ace Your Hospitality Job Interview

Do you have an upcoming interview in the hospitality industry? Are you nervous that you won't know what to say during the interview? Read these tips!

Read these 15 tips to improve your chances of getting a job in the hospitality industry.

  1. Scout the Job: Instead of seeing the workplace for the first time minutes before your interview, visit the organization in advance if possible. Observe the work environment and get a feel of the workplace. Bring a notebook or laptop and start writing a pros and cons list. Is the establishment a friendly workplace? Do employees seem to get along? How does the furniture look? New or old? Being at a place for a little while will help you determine if you will be happy or not working there.
  2. Scheduling the Interview: Most interviewers will ask you to choose the time of the interview. Our best advice is to never schedule an interview right before or after lunch or in the late afternoon. If you schedule an interview right before lunch, they will be focused on their upcoming break. If you schedule right after their lunch, the interviewer may be tired or not ready for an interview. Late afternoon interviews are similar. The interviewer may focus more on going home for the day. Your job is to give the best impression of yourself without any distractions. The best time for interviews will be around 9 a.m. or between 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  3. Write a Checklist: Before rushing out the door to the interview, write a checklist the night before and see if you have these materials: a resume to give to the interviewer, samples of your previous work, business cards and a notebook to write notes if needed. If your previous sample work is too large to be printed, bring a flash drive or your laptop to show the interviewer your work.
  4. Do Your Research: Don't go into a interview without understanding what the company does or what their mission is. Employers like it when you do your research about the company. It shows that you want to know more about the company and what they strive to do. As an added bonus, it'll give you and the interviewer a topic to talk about during the interview.
  5. Dress the Part: Always have an idea of what to wear to the interview in advance. You want to impress your employer by showing them you are ready for the job. Dressing in business attire will get you that first great impression.
  6. Be On Time: Just as you don't want your time to be wasted, employers don't want to lose their time waiting around. Arrive 15 to 20 minutes early to an interview. If you arrived earlier than that, wait in your car and go over some talking points. Employers will like to see that you're early for the job and not running late.
  7. Be Prepared, Don't Stutter: Employers will ask you questions like "What do you think are your weaknesses?" or "Tell me some of your strengths and how would you apply it here?" Be prepared to answer those and industry-related questions. 
  8. Body Language: This is an important portion of the interview. Don't want slouching over while talking, have your hands around your face, or put your feet up in the chair. Sit up straight and have your hands crossed on your lap. During the interview always keep in mind your body language, you might be slouching and you won't even know it!
  9. Listen, Don't Interrupt:  As the interviewer is asking you questions, don't interrupt them. Be an attentive listener and only speak when it's appropriate. Remember to also go back to some talking points they had made because it'll show them that you have been listening.
  10. Avoid These Words:  During the interview you want to avoid two words in your sentences: "umm" and "like." If you have ever taken a public speaking course, these words will hurt you during the interview. Before the interview, practice with a friend or family member. Make sure they let you know when you use those two words. Another good practice is talking to yourself in the mirror and try to catch yourself using these two words. Practice makes perfect!
  11. Act Natural: Don't be someone you are not. Be yourself in professional mode during the interview. Employers want to know what type of person you are. Smile and laugh when appropriate and be polite!
  12. Stay In Character: During the interview, you may be given a tour of the office. Give off a good impression by saying "hello" or "have a great day!" as you meet employees around the office. You'll leave a good impression.
  13. Say Thank You: Once you have arrived back home, send an email to the person who interviewed you. In the email say "thank you for taking time to meet with me today." Hospitality is an industry that heavily relies on customer service.
  14. Do A Follow-Up: Send an email to the person who interviewed you about a week or two after your interview if you have not heard from them. In the email you want to remind them who you are, thank them again for meeting with them and bring up some interesting talking points that you two talked about during the interview. Politely ask if they have come to a decision. If you haven't got an email back from them within a few days, go the extra mile and call them.
  15. Review: If you didn't get the job, don't be afraid to ask the employer about your performance during the interview. They won't bite, but they will give you criticism on your interviewing skills. Use that criticism to enhance your interviewing skills and see what areas you need to improve. The more you improve on your interview the skills, the better chance you'll have landing that next job!