Regardless of whether you are a rookie or veteran at the interview game, it is important to review the basics periodically. And it is a game! The best players have fun at it, and succeed at a far higher rate than others. The best players have fun because they are prepared and confident. Confidence is a result of preparation. Helping you to be prepared is the purpose of this piece.
• Suits cleaned
• Shirts or blouses professionally starched
• Shoes shined, matching belt
• No fashion statements (strict business attire — nothing trendy, youthful, sexy, daring)
• Male shirt should be white or powder blue — NO pinstripes or dark colors
• Neckties can be colorful, but no political themes or flashing lights
• Female blouses should reflect conservative style
• Socks or hose required
• Lapel pins, tie tacks and cuff links should NOT denote any political, religious or humorous statements
• Ladies jewelry same as above
• Never carry a cell phone or pager with you into an interview
• Briefcase should be clean with no scuff marks. NOTE: If you have nothing but lunch to put in a briefcase, leave it at home. Carrying a briefcase does not help you, and can hurt.
• Ladies purses — same as above
• Arrive at interview site early — 5 to 10 minutes is perfect. No exceptions, no excuses
• Upon arrival at interview site be friendly, yet professional. Chances are the interviewer will be late, be patient and calm. Be observant of the surroundings and activities. Decline beverages, especially alcoholic beverages. Bring two resumes with you. Resumes must be honest and accurate. Any mis-statements or inaccuracies will make you ineligible. Any concerns with this should be discussed with your recruiter
• During interview, sit alertly, and maintain eye contact. Speak clearly and to the point. Keep to business subjects unless the interviewer leads elsewhere. If you do discuss personal matters, keep in mind that the interviewer is still evaluating you. Do you really want him/her to know what you are telling him/her• More people have talked their way out of a job offer than into it. Do not try to tell the interviewer what you think they want to hear. When in doubt, stick with the truth. Interviewers will take an opposing view from yours in order to test your resolve. They also will ask the same question in different forms to test your consistency.
• Yes, you must be politically correct. However, recruiters can smell a line of bull better than any others. Truth presented tactfully and sincerely will work. As the old saying goes, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Recruiters love honesty. Even if the issue is unpleasant, be honest.
• Remember, an interview is a two-way street. You should ask questions of the interviewer regarding their company. Find out if the Company is a place you would want to work and have success with. Interviewers expect questions; do not disappoint them.
• Listen to what the interviewer is saying. Hear what they say, not what you want to hear.
• The interviewer should always bring up money first. Try not to laugh, show surprise or dismay.
• The initial offer is just that, an offer. Recruiters generally have a range of salaries to offer. After all, business is business. Normally a recruiter will not expect an immediate response. As a rough rule, 24 hours to several days is the period of time that they expect a response. In terms of money amounts, realistic judgements are required. However, if you do not ask for more, you will not get it. On the other hand, be very realistic. The recruiter is still evaluating at this point.
• At the conclusion of the interview, shake the interviewers hand and thank him for his time. You can tell the person that you enjoyed the
conversation, but no more! Call your recruiter at your first opportunity.
1. GROOMING (not to be confused with appearance)
• Clean and neat — no excuses or exceptions. If you are not neatly groomed and clean, you will not be hired. Most interviewers are human, and will try to find out things about you to confirm their impressions of you. If you are sloppy or have grease under your fingernails, the interviewer will find your matching personality traits and decline to hire you.
• Hair is like clothing — no fashion statements. Be clean and neat. NOTE: Facial hair will limit your opportunities.
• Jewelry: Men — no earrings, Ladies — Keep business like, minimize number of rings, size of earrings, bracelet and necklace size and number. If you can hear your jewelry when you walk you have too much on. No hats — Men or Women.
• Fingernails: Men — cleaned and trimmed; Women — No fashion statements; none, clear or light colored polish.
• Answer questions honestly
• Be honest with your recruiter regarding any potential problems from past activities. It is a very rare person who has gone through life without any bumps. Your recruiter can give you guidance on how to minimize these, or may practice some damage control with the interviewer. We all leave paper trails, wherever we go. Credit histories, criminal records or prior job references all can, and frequently are, referenced.
• LEGAL ISSUES: Chances are that you will probably be asked questions by the interviewer that could be called discriminatory. Use your judgement regarding answering these. Legally you do not have to respond. You won’t be hired, but you don’t have to answer.
• DRUG TESTS: Are more and more common, any drug traces will result in no job offer.
• CREDIT REFERENCES: Can and are more frequently asked for. A couple of late pays are no big deal. However, consistent long-term problems, no pays, or credit abuse will be very negative. In any event do not lie about it.
• JOB REFERENCES: Be sure you know what your job references are going to say. They may be as honest as you, so check ahead. Let your references know to expect to be contacted. Generally, companies decline to give much in the way of references other than to confirm dates of employment. Some companies will contact your prior individual units directly, so inform them, too.
THE INTERVIEW: WHAT THEY MAY BE LOOKING FOR, AND WHY!
TEAMWORK: Working effectively with team/work group or those outside the formal line of authority (peers, senior managers) to accomplish organizational goals, taking actions that respect the needs and contributions of others. Make yourself responsible, without overstating. Be honest about responsibility while emphasizing responsibilities, leadership skills, team organization.
Q: Describe a recent team project and your responsibility for its success.
Q: Give me an example of a team decision that you were involved in recently. What did you do to help your team reach the decision?
Q: Can you describe a situation when you need to cooperate with others to solve a problem?
PLANNING/ORGANIZATION: Establishing a course of action for yourself, and others to accomplish a specific task. Proper planning, delegating, follow-up, procedures to monitor/maintain the success or accomplishment of specific tasks.
Q: In detail, explain how you prepare for daily opening/shifts.
Q: How do you organize your time, set priorities as a manager, while at work?
Q: Tell me about a plan that you developed and implemented to improve quality/cleanliness, controls, increase sales, reduce turnover, training/development. How did you develop, implement and monitor your plan? What were the results?
Q: How did you prepare for this interview?
Q: Has your time schedule ever been upset by unforeseen circumstances? Give me a recent example. What did you do?
Q: Describe your organizational skills? How have they helped you at work?
Q: Describe a situation in which you had to motivate yourself to complete a task. What were the results?
BUDGETING: Hands-on working knowledge of the P&L, how factors affect the P&L, business/street smart. This is their money, they want to make sure you know how to appropriately save/spend/make money.
Q: Have you been responsible for forecasting a budget? If so, how did you proceed in this process?
Q: Provide examples of how you controlled costs and improved efficiency.
Q: What are the major leverage points of the unit’s P&L?
MOTIVATION: Motivating individuals and self to accomplish fun, easy and difficult tasks. Helps to provide information about leadership, communication, enthusiasm, energy, level and attitude.
Q: What is your primary motivation for considering a job change…This company…This industry?
Q: Describe methods you have used to motivate a team, Give examples. Why?
Q: What motivates you to do a good job?
Q: What are you seeking, from this position that you are not receiving in your present position?
Q: What is most important to you regarding a company or position?
MANAGING PEOPLE: Offers insight into management style, conflict resolution, handling difficult situations, dealing with diversity, motivational skills.
Q: Have you ever dealt with a difficult employee? Describe how you handled the situation.
Q: Provide some examples of how you changed the behavior or performance of an employee.
COMMUNICATION: This is the key to success. You need to be able to speak/listen effectively. Effective communication assists in conflict resolution, handling/managing difficult employees, organizational skills and effectiveness.
Q: Give me an example of a time when you communicated something to a co-worker and they didn’t do it like you intended. What went wrong? How did you work through the miscommunication?
Q: Give me an example of a menu roll-out or team meeting you have conducted. How did you prepare and what feedback did you receive?
Q: How would one of your employees describe your communication style?
STAFFING/DEVELOPMENT: Ability to hire, retain, motivate and develop employees and in some instances yourself. Communication skills, people skills, reducing turnover in today’s market, this is a major factor in the success or failure of a business.
Q: What do you look for in hiring your employees? Why?
Q: How many crew members have you helped develop to become an Assistant Manager• What specifically do you do?
Q: What are the strengths and development needs of the Assistant Manager in your unit? How would/are you improving their development needs?
LEADERSHIP: Some people are natural born leaders, where others learn to be effective. Your experiences within the industry, along with outside sources, can express your leadership skills. conflict resolution, and team building.
Q: Do you have the ability to influence and motivate others to work more efficiently, both in teams and individually? Give some specific examples.
Q: Give some examples of how you have improved morale and productivity?
Q: Tell me about the toughest crew member you have had to motivate, what did you do?
ATTENTION TO DETAIL: Opportunity to show how efficient, effective your style of management is. Accomplishing tasks through concern for all-areas involved, no matter how small; concern for every aspect of the job/task at hand, accurately checking procedures and tasks.
Q: Describe things you do to control errors in your work.
Q: Explain the last time you found errors in your work. What caused those errors• How did you handle/remedy the situation?
GUEST SERVICE ORIENTATION: Developing guest relations, proactively. by making efforts to listen and understand the guest (Internal/external); anticipating and providing solutions to their needs, making guest satisfaction a high priority.
Q: Tell me about the most you’ve ever done to try to satisfy a particular guest.
Q: What skills or qualities are important to you for dealing effectively with guests, internal or external?
STRESS MANAGENENT: Maintaining strong stable performance under pressure and/or opposition. Relieving stress in an manner acceptable to the person, others and the organization.
Q: Every job has its stress, describe what has been the most stressful for you in your present position. Why? How did you react?
Q: Guests can be very challenging describe the most stressful interaction you have had with a guest(s).
Q: Have you ever been in an uncertain or ambiguous situation in your present or past work experience? How did you react? What did you do, if anything, to rectify the situation?
LAST NOTE: Recruiters are paid and make bonus on the number and quality of people they hire. They are literally betting their careers and credibility on you. How you appear, carry yourself, express yourself, how prepared you are, all have a bearing on how willing they will be to bet on you.
EHS Hospitality Group only represents credible, professional food service companies. These companies learned long ago that operating in an unprofessional and dishonest manner will cost them their best employees and guests. We believe in this same concept. Our clients have come to expect applicants with the highest standards of credibility and professionalism. You are the next in a long line. Good luck and best wishes.