HR Series II – Time to Be You

Show Time! In my previous post, I left you with the task of scrutinizing your CV.

Did it stand the reality check? Have you asked someone totally neutral and ignorant about your curriculum to assess it? Hopefully you did, since it would not be fair to you, or the interviewer to find out during the interview that there is a gap between what you are trying to portray and what you can actually offer.

Also we talked about offline and online consistency. Time to show you at your best. Again, the ‘workspace’ has extended so far, that your very first email and CV is already one foot inside the door. And just with this one foot, you are potentially building a relationship with your employer.

Glion hotel management school hospitality sector interview tips

Interview tips for jobs in the hospitality sector – don’t forget to look the part!

However, I have to admit that a recent experience left me baffled about the employer; he seemed to refuse any ‘connection’, which had me a little unsettled during the meeting, and angry thereafter! Were these his tactics? Strategy? I’ve no idea. On the other hand, I have also just had the opposite experience with the interview that got me my current role; the interview already highlighted what my role was to become.

So now, you’re getting ready, brushed your teeth, and have put your best and shiniest armor on … bear in mind that it has to be comfortable AND appropriate for the circumstances (conservative suit and tie, or extravagant?) Consider also your hairstyle, your scent and your handshake; this gives a lot away (good AND bad). The devil IS in the detail.

Then you should also seek a comfortable schedule. Do you really fancy running around like a headless chicken and in a pretty state (not!) in front of your interviewer(s)? You should also consider your mood on the day and prior to your meeting; I missed the third round of interviews at lunchtime once, because of a disastrous meeting with builders in the morning!

Which leads me on to the issue of timing, on the day. If you are not an early bird, negotiate an alternative time when you would be at your best.
And last, but not least, don’t forget who you are, the value you are about to add to the company, but also the value they could add to you. It is a two-way partnership, isn’t it?

So, let me share some of the (crazy or scary!) things we read or hear:
– “I can’t really say but …”, when I clearly informed the applicant he would need to research that screening question.
– “I have no weaknesses.” I found him a major one instantly: not knowing his weaknesses!
– “I didn’t have time to prepare.” Yes! Truly heard a couple of times … now, just imagine my response!
– “I’ll do some six months with you and I’ll go for higher hospitality.” No comment
– “creativity is for the girls,” when we were interviewing for clearly a creative role
– “I can’t stay still, I always need to be doing something,” just to respond later on, that in the past six months “I’ve got familiar with day-time TV.”

Thus, whether you tick some (or all) of the boxes here, I thought I’d put a short list of essentials for you. Please do add your own.

My interview check list:
o Research about the organisation and conduct a Strength- Weakness- Opportunities- Threat analysis
o Research the role and subsequent ones (your career plan)
o Research the interviewer(s)
o I know my development needs and have them in mind
o I know what my best achievements are and have them in mind
o I have clear examples, figures, measurements
o I know my strengths and weaknesses / I have done my own SWOT
o I can summarise myself in one word
o I know how people see me or would speak about me (family, friends, fellow students / colleagues, lecturer / manager)
o I keep up-to-date through reputable sources of information (GLION’s library, Cornell’s reports, …)
o I have a list of questions I would like to be asked in the interview, and I know the answers
o I have sharpened my pencil AND my emotional intelligence, because I’ll need to adjust to the pace and style of the interviewer(s)
o … then I feel comfortable bringing in my notes, and taking more during the interview
Now, very important point: the ‘thank you’ note.

Guess what the proportion is of candidates sending a little note after a meeting with us? Hu? Very little, and as a wild estimate I would say: barely 10%! And this is across all positions, from front liners to … Guest Relations Managers (yes, even them!), and other managers. Some will tell you, ‘wait for a week’ … I’d say, see for yourselves BUT we love a short smart note quickly after meeting people; it does help to close the encounter and form a better idea about candidates.
Personally, I sometimes send it straight after the interview, on my way back home. Otherwise in the evening, from home. Then I take this opportunity to respond to questions that I couldn’t properly answer during the interview, or to add extra hints that help me sell myself.
And now, are you ready for Twitter?

I’ve just tweeted a recruiter; obviously, I knew him already. And I will tweet him afterwards, when I get an interview with him.
Conclusion: Be prepared – Be comfortable – Don’t overpromise (don’t tell stories) – Deliver – Be yourself

I can’t wait to read your stories … because recruiters are also another interesting number!


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