In the next few posts we will cover a 5-part series on preparing for and attending job interviews.
Job interviews are known as one of the most challenging and stressful situations however with a little planning and preparation, (just like in creating that perfect meal or dining event) you can come out with flying colours and with the job you dreamed of!
Whether you are entering the hospitality industry as a new or inexperienced employee or applying for a position as a seasoned Executive Chef, it needn’t be a traumatic experience and it is all about being prepared, which in turn will help you to present confidently to the interviewers.
We will highlight the main topics below which will be covered in more detail over the next few posts:
- Pre-Application – part 1
- Curriculum Vitae – part 2
- Research – part 3
- Presentation – part 3
- Interview – part 4
- Notes/Achievements – part 5
- Follow up – part 5
In this post we will cover Pre-Application.
Pre-application is all about you and assessing yourself for your career path. This step is especially useful for those thinking about or have just started in the hospitality industry. This can be difficult for many as we all mark ourselves harder than those who mark us and some of us can also be too flippant about our talents and abilities whereby they are seen as great assets for a future employer.
This step is about being totally honest with yourself but also to set down in clear terms what you are really looking for and what work environment would suit your personality and career needs.
Some jobs you apply for, you will be fully skilled for that position yet, you may not get it – why? Because your personality may not fit in with the existing team, or that they may not be able to offer you the particular training or promotional opportunities that you are looking for. Be mindful, DO NOT TAKE THIS PERSONALLY! This is actually a really good thing as you can use that interview as great practise and know that you are closer to the job you really want and will have a match with!
The first step is to go through the following questions and answer them truthfully and honestly. It may be hard to start with, but you will learn a lot about your personality and career needs in the process! Once you have completed these, run these questions and your answers by a person or mentor whom you look up to and trust as a guide to make sure you have been fair to yourself. This will also help you with Step 2 in creating your Curriculum Vitae.
Refer to these when answering the questions below:
Soft Skills – These are the skills needed to work with others such as listening, collaboration, leading, communicating, teamwork etc.
Hard Skills – These are the technical skills to perform your job to an acceptable standard and speed.
Remember there are no right or wrong answers as this is just a pure assessment of you and your personality and skills.
- What were my highlights at school/University?
- Eg. Was I good at playing sport or performing in a team environment?
- What was I recognised for during my time at school – think of recurring recognition or themes such as being a good communicator, listener, team player etc.
- If I was a high performer at school what where the subjects I most liked? Why?
- If I wasn’t a high performer at school, what activities do I enjoy the most? Why?
- If I am moving into the Hospitality Industry, why do I want to do this? Is the reason purely for my personal desire to excel and to bring your passion to the industry? (If not, and you are doing this to prove a point or to please another person, please think again, this is not a good reason for longevity in this type of industry.)
- Do I like working in a team, or working on my own?
- Why do I want to change jobs?
- Would I be prepared to take less money if it means I am doing the job I love or prefer?
- What are my family commitments and how will they be affected by the type of job/location and time/s I work? Will my family support this?
- Do I want to travel far to my workplace?
- Would I be happy to re-locate for a job?
- Am I proactively seeking to develop myself and my skills?
- What do I consider my strengths? Soft and hard skills
- What do I consider my weaknesses? Soft and hard skills
- How successful have I been in each job I have had?
- How did I benefit from each job I’ve had, what did I learn?
- Did the business benefit from my employment with them?
- Which elements of each job did I enjoy?
- Which elements of each job did I dislike?
- Do I enjoy a more laid back or prefer a strict and tightly run environment?
- Do I mind if I am paid in cash or would I prefer a salary job? (be mindful as gaining a record of paid employment via salary can be helpful when applying for loans and starting up that dream restaurant in the future!)
- Have I ever been praised at work or for a job well done?
- How did I react and did I build on it?
- How did I react when criticised for an unsatisfactory task? How did I handle the feedback? Did I try to rectify it?
- Do I like change and am I stimulated by it?
- Is job security important to me?
- Would I prefer to work in short term jobs to build on my skills first?
- Are other people’s opinions important to me?
- What is my age? Is my age seen as a problem?
- If my age is considered to be a disadvantage how can I turn this into an advantage? (Many employers value experience!)
- Do I consider myself to be a happy and well rounded person?
Once you have completed the above questions, review them, ask yourself what you have discovered about your skills and personality. Present them to your mentor and have a good discussion to make sure you have been fair to yourself, have included all aspects and that you are clear on what type of work environment would suit you and your career needs.
You will then be ready to start on step 2, preparing your resume!