Job interviews; for some people they are a breeze, for others just the mention of the words can instil a deep-rooted fear. Interviewing for a role can make even the most confident person feel slightly nervous. It’s natural, you really want the job, and the next 45 minutes to an hour will determine whether you will be successful. Something that I always remind people, the interview is very much a two-way process, it is the candidates’ opportunity to evaluate if the employer is right for them, as much as the other way round.
Due to the pandemic, it is highly likely that you will complete at least one stage of your interview process via video interview, many people may never have been interviewed in this way and it requires slightly different thinking to prepare. It’s more than likely that following a video interview you’ll then be invited to a face-to-face meeting followed by a trial shift.
WHAT EMPLOYERS WANT
- A positive attitude
- A genuine interest in the business and a desire for the position
- Great communication skills
- High-performance standards in your previous roles
- Stable work history – be prepared to explain your reasons for leaving previous roles
Failure to prepare means that you are preparing to fail! The more information you are armed with the better the chances of your interview being positive. By simply reading this you are giving yourself a better chance of success!
Research – do as much as you can! Read the business’s website, online reviews, news articles and any additional information you can find. It’s also worth doing a little digging on your interviewer, you could use LinkedIn or simply google, to learn a bit about them, this will really help you to build rapport during the interview.
ZOOM TO SUCCESS
Over the past year, video conferencing platforms have become the norm for remote ‘face to face meetings’ both professionally and personally. While it doesn’t matter what you wear, or where you set up for your call in your house when you have a glass of wine with your friends, these things must be given thought when taking part in a professional video call and especially an interview. It’s worth considering:
Location – Choose a professional background to sit in front of. Make sure the lighting is right, not too bright or backlit, not too dark so you can’t be clearly seen. Communicate with your household prior to the call so they know to be mindful of noise. Pick a quiet space where you can close the door and will not be interrupted by someone else in your family or a stray pet!
Tech – Where possible use a laptop, computer or tablet rather than a mobile. Ensure you have a strong Wi-Fi signal, and your device is fully charged. Have a practice run on the platform (Zoom/Skype etc) beforehand with a friend, does it run smoothly and glitch-free? Silence your mobile phone and turn off all notifications on your device.
Personal – Dress appropriately, this doesn’t necessarily mean a suit, shirt and tie but smart attire which is ironed and clean is the bare minimum. Make sure you are well-groomed. Maintain your focus throughout. Look into the camera at all times. Sit up straight and use positive body language. Have a pen and paper ready to make notes.
DURING AN INTERVIEW
- Let the interviewer lead the conversation
- Try not to monopolise the meeting – let your interviewer talk
- Avoid overbearing, aggressive or egotistical behaviour
- Show confidence, poise, tact, maturity and courtesy
- Keep an attitude of ‘what I can do for the company’, not ‘what can the company do for me’
- Build a rapport, people hire those they feel comfortable with
- Be ready to stress your strengths that are relevant to the role
- Maintain a positive emphasis. Do not say “I can`t” or “I haven`t”. Instead, say, for example, “That sounds good, it is something I am sure I would be able to do.”
- Let them know why you are interested. Talk about what appeals to you about the company
- Do not discuss problems or criticise previous employers
CLOSING AN INTERVIEW
- You will often be asked if you have any questions, so make sure you have some prepared. There is nothing worse than saying “no” at this point. Some good examples would be to ask how you will be developed within your role, what training opportunities you will be given, what success looks like to them within the first 12 months or what opportunities for career progression exist within the business
- Enthusiasm is infectious. Let them know you are enthusiastic about the position by telling them
- Clarify what the next step is. When would the next interview be, who will you be hearing from etc?
- Ask them if there is anything else they wish to know about you
THE TRIAL SHIFT
Often the final stage of an interview within a kitchen or restaurant will be a work-based assessment or ‘trial shift’. This should really be your time to shine and do what you do best! Remember it is also it’s the perfect opportunity to see what the business is like to work for, is the culture for you, are the team well looked after and do they conduct themselves in a positive way? Trial shifts are usually half a day and are unpaid, but I have known them to be longer, 2 days and sometimes a 5-day week – I would expect anything longer than 1 day to be a paid trial.
- Turn up early with everything you need for the day. Check and double-check your travel plans and ensure you build in a buffer if you are driving or using public transport
- Introduce yourself to everyone you meet, be positive and smile at people you see throughout the shift
- Do not be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure about anything when you are there, it’s better to do this than make a mistake
- Talk to the other members of the team to get to know them and find out more about what it is like to work here
- Stay later than the prospective employer asks, maybe offer to help the team clean down or close.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful. If you’re looking for some specific advice in terms of interview preparation don’t hesitate to contact us via our website or social channels.
And good luck!