Author’s note: Alan Carniol helps job seekers feel calm as a cat in their interviews. His site Interview Success Formula teaches you how to conquer those "gotcha" interview questions that employers love to ask. Alan has been quoted and published in Forbes, US News and World Report, Mashable, Chicago Tribune, and dozens of others. Connect with Alan and Interview Success Formula on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook.
In the hospitality or hotel industry there are a wide variety of positions that need filling, including everything from housekeeping and guest services, to running the front desk and management. These kinds of jobs are perfect for job seekers who consider themselves people-persons, who like face-to-face contact and enjoy serving the public. In order to land these jobs, you will need to put your best foot forward during the interview. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare for your interview:
Smile big & win
Hotels are all about customer service and smiling throughout the day is a basic requirement. If this doesn't come naturally then this may not be the industry for you. Almost all hotel jobs involve putting on a happy face while meeting the demands of each and every guest. In the interview show how warm and friendly you are, and of course maintain a smile on your face. This has to come off as genuine because anything fake is simply "too gushy" and uncomfortable.
All hotels are not equal
If you're under the impression that all hotels are basically the same, you've been living under a rock. Personnel at New York City's Plaza Hotel have a totally different demeanor and attitude than hotel employees at, for instance, the Holiday Inn in Boise, Idaho. For any job interview you should try to look and dress your best. Before the interview, take a walk through of the hotel so you are familiar with how it looks, feels and the kinds of customers it serves.
Familiarize yourself with all sides of the business
It is very common in hospitality for employees at a hotel to assume more than one role. This is an environment where workers are expected to cover for one another or assist in other departments. One prominent hotel chain provides pre-interview guidelines for candidates that state that their interview will consist of questions "related to hotel operations and guest services to job history and teamwork." If you want a career in hospitality expect that you'll be trained on your own job and also expected to learn everyone else's.
Stay calm under stress - at all times!
Any position you hold in hospitality is going to involve stressful situations on a very regular basis. In your interview you must let the interviewer know that you expect to be faced with all kinds of situations – irate guests demanding immediate attention, coworkers leaving you in a lurch, and even babies being born in the lobby! You definitely want to give the impression that you are prepared for any and everything. Prepare stories ahead of time with a least one situation where you had to deal with a difficult person, how you handled it and what positive results came from your solution.
A positive outlook on life
While you're there, think about what the interviewer is looking for. He or she wants to hire someone positive and energetic, someone who will come to work every day in a good mood. They are surely looking for someone with a solid work ethic and a great attitude. Again, be ready with examples. Have a story of a time you went above and beyond to ensure a customer received the ultimate experience. Perhaps, put together a personal story of a time a friend came to you with a problem and you were able to help that friend. Just prepare yourself in advance to keep a bright smile on your face, and get ready to receive an offer.
Wishing you the best of luck!