Applying for jobs can be an exhausting task, especially since every employer has different application methods. But once you’ve been selected for an interview, it’s pretty safe to assume the following are key points to consider when preparing for your debut.
1. Be honest and authentic. While you may already have your first impressions about the restaurant for which you are applying, the interview is likely their first impression of you. Showcase your personality. Express to the interviewer why you think your personality would serve their team. Making commentary about how you connect with their culture speaks not only to your personality, but to the relationship you already have with their restaurant.
2. Dress better than “appropriate.” Even if the dress code for restaurant employees is casual, interview attire should always appear professional and clean. All restaurant jobs require a healthy hygiene, so keeping yourself well-groomed is a plus. Showing up to an interview the way you would show up to work may not always make the best impression.
3. Take your time and the interviewer’s time seriously. “Early is on time and on time is late.” Honor the busy and unpredictable nature of the restaurant industry by being predictable. Show up early to an interview. Don’t schedule an interview for a job you don’t want. Not only are you wasting the hiring party’s time, you’re wasting yours. If you accept a position prior to arriving to the interview, call and politely cancel. Just as you have worked hard to find a job, someone is searching diligently for someone well-qualified. Wish them luck on their search, too.
4. Do your research. What type of cuisine does the restaurant serve? What are they well known for around town? Show your interest in the job you have applied for by taking the initiative to learn more about the restaurant. Be informed about the menu by patronizing the restaurant beforehand. Get a feel for the flow and ambiance. As a customer, you have a great opportunity to speak with other employees and managers before the interview, which provides the freedom to make a more casual, and perhaps more confident, first impression.
5. Smile. Failing to express your excitement confidently can give employers reason to believe you are not a good fit. So, if you are truly eager to work somewhere, smile with confidence and warmth. If you are applying for a service-oriented job, it is especially important to smile. Show off your service skills by smiling and making eye contact!