1. Dress to impress! You only have one chance to make a first impression. We recommend at least a business casual look for any interview. This means a dress shirt, nice slacks and clean dress shoes. A blazer or suit jacket is a great addition as well. Never wear revealing clothing or excessive perfume/cologne.
2. Do your research about the company before your interview. This shows that you are not just looking for any job; you are serious about THIS job. Visit a location and also their website to learn about the company culture and what they are proud of. During your interview, you will be asked about your dining experience at their restaurant as well as why you want to work there.
3. Prepare questions to ask the interviewer. Having targeted questions demonstrates your focus on a future career with their company. Remember, you are interviewing them too.
4. Job interviews are your opportunity to sell your talents and skills. Don't be modest --but don't be egotistical either. You do not want to leave them feeling like you "know it all" and have nothing to learn. Your goal is to show the interviewer you are knowledgeable, capable, intelligent and adaptable.
5. Be personable as well as professional at all times. Be polite to everyone you come in contact with, even in the parking lot or on an elevator. You never know who will provide their opinion of you to the hiring manager after you leave.
6. Listen more, talk less! If you find you are talking for longer than 15 seconds at a time, you’re probably talking too much. Remember, the longer you talk, the greater the chance you may say something you regret. Also, never interrupt an interviewer. If it happens on accident, apologize and invite them to continue. It’s important to remember that most interviewers are not looking for someone to tell them what's wrong with their restaurant. They are seeking managers that can follow company policies, successfully develop others, create a positive experience for guests and increase profit. Use these concepts as a basis for creatively selling yourself as the best possible candidate for the job.
7. Arrive prepared. This means bringing two resume copies, note paper and a pen. You should know your social security number and previous employment information going back at least three jobs or 10 years. This includes company names, employment dates, supervisor names as well as a reason for leaving each position.
8. Follow instructions. Despite having a resume, most restaurants also require you to fill out an application (usually for legal reasons). Fill it out completely! Skipping sections can be viewed as lazy with a lack of commitment. Don’t just write “see resume” as it can sound arrogant.
9. Be aware of body language and reactions from both you and the recruiter. On your side, paying attention to subtle changes in the recruiter's body language can help adapt your next answers to highlight the skills they seem to like hearing about.
10. Remember that most questions are asked for a reason. Often the focus points of "People - Sales - Profit" and how your management skills can positively affect these areas of a restaurant's operation are a good basis for any answer. With all questions, take a moment to think before you answer.
11. Never speak poorly of a past employer. Put a positive spin on all situations. Recruiters know their competition and you will always come across as a true professional if a former employer has a poor reputation but you explain your reasons for leaving in a positive light.
12. Prior to leaving an interview, be sure to know how to spell all names of your interviewers. Send a thank you note as quickly as possible. This is not common anymore, so it does go a long way in demonstrating your professionalism, follow up and attention to detail.
13. Take notes about the interview while it’s fresh in your mind. This will help you remember the topics they liked best for you to expand on during your next interview. Recruiters often ask very similar questions.
14. Don't be a stalker! If you've already interviewed with a company and you were not chosen to move forward, we suggest that you not apply again for at least a year. If you repeatedly submit a resume in less than a year, you can leave a bad impression. If they felt you were a strong candidate for a future position, they will keep your resume and contact you when an appropriate opportunity arises. If you have not heard anything back within 10 days of your interview, it is appropriate to send an email asking if you are still under consideration. We recommend thanking them for the opportunity to interview, explain briefly why you feel you would be a good fit, and asking if you are still being considered.
15. Like all of us, recruiters change jobs and have long memories. You do not want to leave a negative impression by no-showing for an interview or lying on an application. You never know when or where you may run into them again. Be sure to call, text or cancel if you cannot make your appointment.
An important part about preparing for any interview includes practicing your answers to common questions and preparing some questions of your own. Below are some common interview questions to help you practice and prepare for your own upcoming interviews:
Common Interview Questions:
Questions You Can Prepare: