You only have one chance at a first impression!
Do your homework
Gain a good knowledge of the company. Look up their website or read their brochures. From this information, prepare at least two questions you will ask during the interview. Know the name and title of the person who will be conducting the interview. Where possible gain as much insight into their style before you get there.
Prepare answers for the most frequently asked interview questions, particularly those questions you may find difficult to answer.
Looking the Part
Think about the position you are applying for and dress appropriately. If you are applying for a position in a corporate hotel then you must wear your best suit and the shiniest shoes. If you don’t have one, borrow one.
If you are applying for a resort position then very smart casual may be more appropriate. Remember the more appropriately you dress the more opportunity you are giving the interviewer to visualise you in the position you are applying for. Your standard of dress and grooming is a good indicator of your attention to detail, pride and competitiveness.
Firm handshake and eye contact
No matter the gender, give a firm handshake and look your interviewer right in the eye. Do not attempt to crush his/her hand. Overdoing it can also give the wrong signals. If you avoid eye contact at the initial greeting, or at any time throughout the interview process, you are hurting your credibility. Good body language and eye contact are critical.
Honesty is the best policy
Be honest about your resume. If you try to fabricate your experience you will be caught and the interview will be over very quickly! Often employers rate personality, enthusiasm and motivation above work experience.
Be candid about your past work experience. If you had some issues with your work or the people around you, don’t be afraid to discuss them. As long as you don’t sound negative, most employers will appreciate your honesty and candour.
Prepare a list of questions to ask. Don’t be afraid to produce a written list as this shows the employer that you are well prepared and well organised. This is the best time to find out things like why the position has become available, how long the previous incumbent was employed for, who you would be reporting to, what training you will receive and what career opportunities will be offered to you.
Remember; you need this information so you can make an informed career decision.
Make sure you finish on a positive. Look the interviewer in the eye and say something like “Thank you for your time, I really hope I have the opportunity to work with you”.
Make sure you get the interviewer’s business card so you can send a quick follow up email or card. Surprisingly this is very rarely done and will definitely set you apart from your competition.
Make sure you tell your references in advance of the interview so they are not surprised when they receive a call.
The interview is over. You looked great, you were well prepared and asked the right questions, you were energetic and enthusiastic throughout the interview and your follow up card was a hit. You have managed to really impress your future employer but was that really you? It is vital that you portray yourself as the person you really are. You may be able to act through an interview but to act through your career is another story.
You want to receive offers based on the person you are, not the person you think they want. There has to be a good match and you need to feel good about the position. Before you accept an offer make sure the position and the company is going to offer you the opportunity to achieve your personal and professional goals. That, after all, is what finding a job is all about.