First steps: How to handle your first interview


So you filled in all those application forms and have now received the call for that all-important job interview. It’s your first ever interview and you have no clue where to start. Firstly, do not panic. We have all been there at one point and your CV has proven that you obviously are a worthy candidate. You just need to jump this final hurdle.

Research is key

Before your interview, it is important to fully research the company and the job vacancy. If you turn up clueless, this will simply annoy a potential employer and suggest that you are lazy. Find out what the company’s history is, its various brands, any competitors in the field, how it is situated in the wider market and if anything has hit the news headlines recently. By showing that you know your stuff, your interest and wider commitment to hospitality recruitment will be revealed in the interview.

It may even be worth going undercover as a customer to find out what the business entails. Whether it is at a bar, restaurant or hotel, by being a customer on-site, you can find out what will be expected of you as a future employee. Try and pay particular attention to the level of service, the appearance of staff and how well maintained the venue is. This will allow you to then let the interviewer know of the business’ strengths and weaknesses. This is not slating the company but just offering constructive criticism, which will set you apart from the others.

The night before

Ensure that everything is ready so you are not running around in the morning before your interview. Ensure that all your clothes are clean and ironed, pack a lunch, and print off any directions to the interview site. Have a final read through all the notes you have made and then you’re ready. By this point, you should stop worrying and take your mind off things. The last thing you want to do is be stressing over it and not getting a decent night’s sleep. Whether it is a nice bath or a cinema trip with your friends, do anything to relax.

Dazzle them

Always give yourself an extra half hour when estimating how long it will take to get there. This will accommodate for any delays or you getting lost. The worst that will happen by doing this is that you will turn up early, then you can find a coffee spot nearby.

Be sure you have turned up looking smart and conservative, although with some hospitality jobs, such as chefs, you may be able to turn up slightly more casual. Stains, food in your teeth and cigarette breath will not go down well, so check these finishing touches before you enter the interview room.

The next step? Well, dazzle them of course. On paper, you are obviously what they are looking for, so don’t be nervous and just have a chat with them about your interests and experience. It won’t be long until your ‘first interview’ is a hazy memory.