You’ve seen the hotel, restaurant or catering job you want, you’ve sent off your CV and you’ve got a first interview. So, what are the mistakes you need to avoid to ensure you clear this hurdle and get a second one?
Well, there’s a lot of advice out there, and you’ve probably heard the obvious ones about not turning up late and not looking scruffy.
You’ve probably even heard the horror stories of the interviewees who chewed gum throughout their interviews, or started munching on sandwiches. Or the ones with the odd questions (tip: never ask an interviewer if that’s their natural hair colour).
But what about the other interview mistakes that no one tells you about? Here are seven lesser-known errors to avoid.
1. Turning up too early
Being late is the classic interview mistake. However turning up too early can be almost as devastating to your chances. Your interviewers will need to find a place for you to wait, get you a drink, and so on. In a busy bar, restaurant or hotel this can be a potential imposition. So arrive ten minutes before your allotted time. Not later; not earlier.
2. Dressing too smartly
Turn up to an interview in ripped shorts, an old t-shirt and some flip-flops and you’ll probably find yourself back out the door before you know it. However, that doesn’t mean that you should turn up to every interview in a suit.
The key is to dress appropriately. For instance, in chef jobs you’re unlikely to wear a suit, so it’s quite likely that smart casual will be perfectly acceptable attire for the interview. However, if you're interviewing for a five-star hotel, smarter is probably better.
3. Staring unblinkingly at them
Eye contact is good. It allows people to make a connection with you, and we tend to trust people who make eye contact with us. However, excessive eye contact will make your interviewer uncomfortable.
In the same way, a firm handshake is a good idea, but don’t crush their hand. Also, while we tend to warm to people who smile, we are less enthusiastic about people who do so incessantly. You don't look friendly, you just look a bit mad.
4. Regurgitating their website
You’re keen to get this job. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a great job after all. So you’ve done your research: you’ve looked at their website, found out what they do and where they’re going. You can go into the interview armed with all the facts, ready to deal intelligently with any question they throw at you.
Don’t go and ruin all this hard work by trying too hard to demonstrate your new found knowledge. The people interviewing you know what their company does, its growth plans, and so on. They don’t need you telling them all about it. At best you’ll look desperate; at worst you’ll start boring them.
5. Giving too much information
In the same way, be careful not to talk too much. You should be doing most of the talking, but don’t waffle on with irrelevant detail, don’t talk so much they can’t get any questions in, and, whatever you do, don’t start criticising former employers or colleagues.
6. Being too relaxed
You want to be relaxed, calm and focused. You don’t, however, want to be so relaxed that you start calling the interviewer by a nickname, make inappropriate jokes, or start calling him or her ’mate‘. They’re not your mate; they’re your prospective boss.
7. Having too many questions
While it's a good idea to prepare some insightful questions about the job, the company and your possible future in it, you don’t want to start grilling the interviewer. Remember, also, that no interviewer is going to be impressed by someone who only asks about the pay, the benefits and the holiday allowance.
The good news is that many of the people you’re competing against for this job will make these mistakes. So, be calm, competent and friendly, and before you know it, you’ll be planning for your second interview.
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