The hospitality industry can appear to be perpetually hiring, and with the high turnover rate, that’s often the case. But just because an industry has plenty of opportunities doesn’t mean you can relax your standards. Just like any industry, competition is high, and you’ll need to bring your A-game to be considered.
Research is key to landing the right opportunity. Not only will your careful preparation allow you to apply for a job that matches your personal career aspirations, but it will also help to impress the interviewer with your detailed knowledge of the company.
Before you set off for the interview, make sure you’re prepared with knowledge of the following:
- Identify How Your Specific Background Fits Current Opportunities Identify which specific sectors are thriving, to help you make an informed decision about your next career move. A booming sector will be hiring significant numbers of employees. If you can show how your experience will fit, you’ll have a better chance of landing the job. Because of the overlapping nature of the hospitality industry in general, your experience may be transferable. For example, even though you might have a background in casinos, if cruises are currently popular you may be able to work on a cruise ship that has an onboard casino. Likewise, if casinos are thriving, an employee with a background in hotels can apply to a combined casino and hotel.
- Research the Company Mission and Goals You can’t just rely on a cursory internet search any more—that’s a bare minimum level of research and is standard these days. Focus on reviewing the company’s goals and objectives, which should be in its current operational plan. Review the mission statement and company values and identify the organization’s main competitors. Identify current trends in the hospitality industry as a whole and identify what the company is doing to address these issues.
- Consider the Culture Visit the company before you interview, if possible. This won’t just get you familiar with the location—essential to prevent you becoming flustered on the drive to the interview—it will also help you to determine if this is a place you can see yourself working. Don’t forget that the pre-interview process isn’t just for the organization to see if you’re right for them—it’s also your chance to make sure this is the right opportunity for you. If you’re considering a hotel, for example, check if the décor and style is somewhere you would like to stay; if the food is what you like to eat and if the customer service makes you feel welcomed. If the business exemplifies what you are looking for in your ideal hotel, then you can be sure you’ll be proud of the services you offer and can fully embrace the principles of the organization once you get the job.
- Use Your Network It’s one thing to prepare for questions you might be asked or develop handouts to showcase your work and experience. But you can take your interview to another level if you use your network of contacts to help prepare for the interview. Try to talk to company insiders to find out about current achievements the company is working on, or the pet projects of your interview panel—then prepare your responses accordingly.
If nothing else, your advance preparation will help you overcome your nerves, safe in the knowledge that you have an answer tailored to the company’s specific situation—and that in itself will help you stand out from the competition.