Want to nail the interview? – READ THIS.
Here are some top tips for a successful interview.
We have 20 years experience of setting up interviews, receiving feedback and shaping this advice. To you the candidate, some of it may be bread and butter, but we would suggest having a good read anyway.
This is your time to shine. The client likes your cv and has invited you to see what you are made of, so go for it.
Candidates who have even the slimmest chance of getting their dream job, once progressed to the interview stage, now have an opportunity to succeed and show a potential employer really how good they are.
So grasp it. Approach the interview process with both hands and embrace the experience!
The interview really is YOUR chance to shine.
Do everything in your power to prove you are the right candidate.
In this guide, we are going to talk through a few simple steps that may increase your chances of getting the job. This guide is free, but only for candidates who apply for a job through Twelvve Hotel Recruitment and it’s not published on our website for everyone.
Preparation – the basics
Research – the bit before
Main event – the interview
The clincher – seal the deal
So what makes us so qualified to give you this advice.
“Personally I have been giving candidates this type of advice for quite a number of years. Every time a candidate goes for an interview and each piece of feedback I have ever received from a client has helped me understand what really works at the dreaded interview stage” – Lee, Director of Twelvve.
This is the easy bit. And really doesn’t take a lot of effort.
Dress smart with absolutely no exceptions. Appearance is everything. A candidate recently asked me if he should have a shave as he usually sports stubble. I suggested on this occasion maybe a shave would be a good idea. He didn’t, and after the interview the client was questioning his standards = no shave, no standards. Perception is everything.
Every decision you make should be about what impression you are giving the client. If it helps, think of it as a first date.
Put on your best suit. Clean and polish your shoes. Wash your hair. Clean your nails. Shave, wash, spray. Cover your tattoos, take out your piercings (even that one in your tongue). Are you looking and feeling good? If not get back in the bathroom.
Get to the interview on time. There is no exception for being late. Leave early. Do a practice run. If the journey usually takes 30 minutes then give yourself an hour.
My personal experience – Are you good enough? THEN PROVE IT.
Research research research. This is the silent trick that impresses clients. Imagine this. A candidate goes for an interview and the interviewer asks “what do you know about our hotel”, the potential employees face goes blank. Now imagine the opposite. The candidate knows about the hotel’s history, owners, reviews, cliental, ethos, mission statement, competitors, target customers, challenges, opportunities and so on. The result is the polar opposite. At this stage, you can either blow a client away or leave them feeling ‘meh’.
Make a difference. Be different to the 2 people they saw before you. Spend 30 minutes walking around the hotel pre interview. How much do you want this job? I know candidates that have been offered a job because the client was blown away by how much research the candidate had done before hand.
When researching, a handy hint is to look at the reviews on Trip advisor. I know we all have mixed opinions about Trip advisor but it will help get a feel from the customers perspective.
As well as researching the hotel, look at the brand. I.e if I was going for an interview at Holiday Inn Liverpool, I would suggest doing some reaching on the brand – ‘Holiday Inn’ as well as the hotel specifics.
Add a personal touch to your research. It’s all well and good finding facts out about the hotel or the brand but what conclusion does this lead to? – go the interview with ideas on what you would do. Example being, if the hotel had negative feedback about the reception service and your were being interviewed for a Reception Managers job, you know that your conversation has to be around quality standards and service and what methods you would introduce to the hotel to help improve the this troublesome area.
THE MAIN EVENT
Ok so the day is here. Get yourself in the right frame of mind. Are you going to think about “what, if and maybe” ? or keep a positive mind and ‘I’m getting this job, its mine and i’m going to prove it’.
Timing – as we discussed earlier, arrive 30 minutes early. Any more would seem strange and you will have the client questioning if you got the interview time wrong. Any less will have you cutting it too fine.
Build rapport with the receptionist of whoever you meet at the front desk. As you can see from the quote below it really does help build a positive picture of you as a person.
“Whenever I interview someone I always ask our receptionist what they think of the potential candidate. Candidates seem more relaxed whilst sitting in reception and lower their barriers. Thus giving a more honest reflection on their manner. This opinion always contributes towards my final decision’” – Thoughts of a General Manager – 4 star hotel Leeds.
Handshakes are king! – Limp handshakes give an impression of weakness and a lack of confidence. Be firm, confident and make eye contact with your interviewer. You don’t have to break the interviewers wrist however , just be firm and confident.
Throughout the interview take your time to answer questions. Be thorough and clear. If you don’t understand a question it’s ok to ask them to repeat.
Ensure that you take time to look at your notes. If you are unsure, pause, take time to collect your thoughts and breathe.
Most of all smile. Enjoy the experience. Be serious enough, but not too much. A smile can go a very long way to making you interviewer relax and enjoy your presence. Remember it is an experience for you both and you want to enjoy the time spent with your poential new employer as well as proving your skills and experience.
COMPETENCY BASED QUESTIONS, WHAT DO THEY REALLY MEAN?
Examples of your past.
Here’s an example QUESTION – Tell me a time when you delivered excellent service to one of your guests?
ANSWER: When I worked at Crowne Plaza as a Reception Supervisor there was an occasion when my manager was on holiday and we had a very angry guest. He had a problem with the noise from the room next door. He was a business man and he had an extremely important meeting the next day. I took time to listen to is complaint, understood that he had a meeting to attend and tried to resolve his issue.
We agreed to complement his breakfast and offered a discount for his next stay. The customer was really happy and he left the hotel satisfied and promised to return in 2 weeks. I will make sure I keep a note of his name and allocate him a quiet room next time.
Give a good solid example. Set the scene, explain the problem and what you did above and beyond the normal level of service you would expect, and then finish up by explaining to the client the outcome.
Most interviews will have some competency based questions so make sure you have some examples to give.
You could always try the STAR method –
> SITUATION – Explain the situation you were in at the time
> TASK – Describe what you were trying to achieve
> ACTIONS – Talk about the actions you took to achieve the task
> RESULT – Explain the outcome
Finally at the end of the interview you will be asked the usual questions;
Notice period – make sure you know this. ‘Erming’ and scratching your head will leave the client thinking you are unprepared
Salary – have a clear idea in your head what you want. Keep within the brackets of the base salary. If a role is advertised between £20-22k please, please please don’t ask for £26k. The role is advertised within that bracket for a reason. Yes you may be worth it, and if you do feel the need to ask for more, then make sure you do a very good job in convincing the client why you are worth it.
Questions – If you have covered everything that you wanted to ask, don’t make a question up for the sake of it. Clients can see straight through that. If you genuinely do have a question, make sure you ask it. This may of been something you discussed in the interview you were not 100% sure about – it’s still ok to re-check at the end of the interview.
So the interview is drawing to a close and you feel confident that you have had a good discussion with the client. The next part takes a bit of confidence and self belief but we think it makes a big difference.
WHY HIRE YOU?
Finish the interview with a closing statement. Each of us feel comfortable with different words, but something along the lines of –
“Jim, I would just like to say it’s been a pleasure meeting with you. After speaking with you today I feel even more excited about the prospect of working with you and the hotel. I really hope I have done enough to convince you I would be a very good fit for the business. If you have any questions or concerns after todays interview I would be happy to come back in to see you”
We are not asking you to beg here. It’s simply a desire for the job. Yes experience, fit and lots of other dynamics come into making a decision but I can categorically say that candidates that show desire for a job and a hunger to get that role, really do have a very good chance of being successful at interviews.
Finally on behalf of the team at Twelvve Hotel Recruitment we would like to wish you the very best with your interview and if you do have any questions about the role, hotel, client or anything else please feel free to give us a call.
We are here to help you get that dream job.
The team at Twelvve Hotel Recruitment.