You’ve just been invited to your first interview in the restaurant business , and you have exactly 48 hours to prepare. So it’s time to start thinking about what you’ll wear, how you’ll get to your destination, and the key points you’d like to make clear to your potential employers. While you’re assembling a list of must-have’s and must-do’s, keep some of these counterproductive behaviors in mind as well. There’s a right way and a wrong way to handle an interview in the restaurant business, and simple mistakes like these can stand between you and the job you need.
Don’t Tank Your Restaurant Interview with these Clumsy Moves
There are plenty of ways to ace an interview, but researching what not to do could be just as helpful:
- Don’t insult your employers, their business, or this job. This may seem obvious, but it’s surprisingly common for restaurant employees to approach this industry with a too-cool-to-care attitude. Check yourself. If you’re projecting a vibe that says “I’m only waiting on tables because I was laid off from my real job,” or “I’m bartending now, but I’m destined for more important things in the future,” stop and think. If you were running a business and making important hiring decisions, would you be impressed by a candidate who gives off this message?
- Don’t be late. In fact, show up five minutes early. Timeliness matters in every business, but in the restaurant business, hiring managers often use punctuality as a key method of separating the promising, serious employees from those in the category above.
- Don’t be a blank slate when it comes to food. You may not be a Paris-trained, five-star chef, but if you know something about cooking, let it show. If you can tell the difference between dicing and cubing, or between carbonera and puttanesca, it won’t hurt to expand a little, show some curiosity, and provide detail about what you know and how you learned it.
- Don’t neglect your appearance. Hiring managers depend a great deal on intuition and trust, and success in this business requires close attention to detail, cleanliness, and presentation. Good food is food that’s been handled safely, and great food is food that’s been treated with extreme respect and presented as a work of art. It may not seem obvious, but your clothes, shoes, hair, facial hair, and posture all say something about how you’re likely to handle meals and treat guests.
- Don’t be too cold or closed off. It’s a good idea to give your employers a sense of how you’ll behave around customers and patrons, and if you make people feel relaxed, welcome, and taken care of, then you’ll help your employers make money. Use your smile. Be warm and open. And of course, don’t neglect one of the staples of all successful interviews: Direct, comfortable eye contact.
Practice Your Interview Beforehand
Why go into an interview cold when you can try a few practice sessions beforehand to iron out the kinks? Before the big day arrives, check out LiveCareer and read up on the best ways to conduct an interview. Run through sample questions with a trusted friend, and while you’re at it, try some career tests to make sure you have the skills and aptitudes that spell success in this challenging industry.