Careers Advice

Walk the line

Walking that line between what’s great in an interview and what’s likely to get you shoved out the door at the first opportunity can be tricky, so we’ve rounded up some of the worst interview offences to help you on your way.

Too late v too early

Being late for an interview is up there with the worst of the interview no-no mistakes – if you can’t get to an interview on time then what are the chances of you being reliable enough to get there on time, every time? However, being too early for an interview, particularly in the hospitality industry, can be just as annoying for prospective employers. Their time is precious; they might be getting the bar set up for service or handing over to their deputy or even doing their interview preparation too. We think 10 minutes early is just fine (but no later!).

Too scruffy v too smart

We are not in any way shape or form telling you to go to an interview in your trackies and a hoodie (although we have borne witness to this on more than one occasion). And it isn’t true that every interview requires you to be suited and booted. As ever, the middle ground and a touch of common sense are required. Think about the role and the venue you are interviewing for and dress accordingly. And we will repeat it just in case you missed it, no trackies no hoodies and no caps – ok?

Too quiet v too much talking

You need to be prepared (see article link). With the right preparation, you’ll have plenty to say so make sure you do just that; one word answers or shoulder shrugs will not demonstrate that you’re the friendly and approachable bar team member they’ve been searching for. But here comes the rub: talking too much is, well frankly, a bit irritating. Work hard at not waffling on and make sure they can ask their questions. Good preparation will ensure your answers are relevant, to the point and allow the interview to flow.

Too relaxed v too uptight

Nerves at an interview are natural and to some extent necessary but try to be in control of them. A little mindful breathing before you go in, asking an interviewer to repeat the question or taking a moment to think before answering are all valid ways of keeping the lid on the inevitable nerves. Conversely, you don’t want to be too laid back either. Over-familiarity – calling the interviewer mate, using slang – is unacceptable and potentially a very quick way to end the interview.

Too many questions v not interested

Preparing well-thought out, pertinent questions is a basic preparation requirement but not to the point that you turn the end of the interview into some kind of interrogation. Pick your questions carefully and make sure they’re not about something already covered in the interview. Also, just a word from the wise – don’t ask about holiday allowances and how to book time off, it is not a strong look. There are a few more absolute rules:

Switch your phone off – you will survive, honestly you will. Don’t ask about money or even for more money than the advert. Just no. Don’t crack jokes. This is not the time or the place to share just how much fun you are. Really, it isn’t.

Now, much of this is tongue in cheek, but it does go back to the basics of good, carefully thought out interview preparation. The interview is your chance to make an impression, just make sure it’s the right one.