Role Playing Your Interview Preparation: Learning Your Lines Will Make You A Hit
“All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare famously wrote. If you regard your hospitality job interview as a play, then rehearsing your lines beforehand will help ensure you play your part to maximum applause.
One of the worst mistakes you can make when stepping into a job interview is winging it. You may be tempted to rely on spontaneous answers, but flubbing your lines risks costing you the hospitality position.
“Learning your lines will make you a hit,” says Peter Shrive, a partner with Cambridge Management Planning. “Be aware of your best attributes and characteristics, put your best foot forward, and shine the spotlight on your achievements.”
Rehearsing your lines
So how do you get ready for your big “debut”? Here are some simple techniques to help you learn your lines:
1. Identify the top six anecdotes in your hospitality background. These are the lines in your personal and professional script that you should remember to insert at the appropriate times in your interview. Rehearse these lines without sounding too scripted or phony.
2. Write down your key lines ahead of time. “A technique that works really well in the job search is to take your letter replying to a posting and create two columns: one half is what the job description asks for, the other side is your qualifications, and you match them up,” Shrive recommends.
3. Visit the “theatre”. Always study the website of the hospitality operation first, then try to gain firsthand knowledge. If you’re applying to be a server, eat a meal at the restaurant. For a hotel front desk clerk position, visit the hotel and talk to other front desk clerks. For a sommelier position, study the restaurant’s wine list and talk to the wine steward if you can.
4. Make the mirror your friend. Choose a suitable interview outfit – one that’s appropriate to the hospitality job -- ahead of time and check your appearance in the mirror. Don’t forget to consider personal hygiene…anything to help you look and act the part for your interview.
5. Rehearse for different types of interviews. Not all interviews will follow the same script. Some, like the factual interview, will feature a set list of questions asking you to describe your hospitality experience, as detailed on your resume. Others will be completely unstructured, with an interviewer asking you, as an example, to talk about how you handled difficult situations.
Here is where you offer your top anecdotes:
-“Let me tell you about the time I was a server, and one morning 160 people turned up after a funeral and I was the only server on duty.”
-“I was working as the front desk clerk when we had a power outage just as a tour bus was arriving.”
- “I was a restaurant sommelier and two servers approached me at the same time with an order for the last bottle of a particular wine.”
-“I was a hotel valet whose client gave me his brand new, keyless car with the engine running. I parked the car in a lot of 400 cars. Let me tell you how I found the car without the electronic key fob.”
6. Consider videotaping your rehearsals. Work with someone off camera who can ask questions and conduct different types of mock interviews. Analyzing the tape will show you strengths and areas that need improvement.
7. Work with a professional coach. Getting the help of an expert can be useful, but remember, a coach is someone who has practiced for years, while you will have only an hour on the interview stage to make a lasting impression.
Now you’re ready. By learning your lines and rehearsing different types of interviews ahead of time, you’ll ensure the spotlight is on you!