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How to prepare for a hospitality interview

Posted by Andrea Aguilar on Jan 18, 2019 4:00:00 PM

You submitted your CV and instead of the automated, “we’ll keep your CV on file in case something opens up in the future” response, it’s an email about setting up a phone call, video chat, or face-to-face interview. Exciting! Now, you are one of many who are going to be interviewing for this role.

But how do you prepare for these interview scenarios? Should you treat them all the same?

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Whether your interview is conducted over the phone, video or face-to-face, how you conduct yourself is important. Each company has certain criteria and values they are looking for in a person so, unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that these interview tips will land you the role of a lifetime. However, by following these tips you will be much more desirable than those who don’t utilize them.


1. The phone interview

    1. If the interviewer says they will call at 3 pm, make sure you are 100% available at 3 pm. It’s understandable that things come up but if you don’t answer, you could seem flakey or worse, they might move forward with other people who did answer. Don’t miss the opportunity and be sure your schedule has allowed you time to take the phone call at the scheduled time.

    2. Also, it’s a good idea to be in a quiet or low noise space that has reception. There is nothing worse than the interviewer not being able to hear you because a plane or fire truck is passing by. Likewise, you don’t want your call to drop out when you are in the middle of telling a great story.

    3. Definitely express why you are interested in the position and more importantly what you think you will contribute to the company. This means you need to do your research beforehand so you aren’t giving general statements.

    4. Finally, be yourself and make sure you are utilizing this time to connect with the interviewer as a person. They can’t see you but they still want to gauge if you will fit in with the culture of the company. They also might be seeing if you are someone that they could imagine having a drink with because there’s nothing worse than having an employee that you can’t work with.

 Typsy online hospitality training and learning platform at typsy.com

2. The video chat interview
    1. As much as technology is amazing, it’s not flawless. It would be in your best interest to test your equipment prior to your interview. The last thing you’d want is to open up your laptop five minutes prior to the interview and realize it was installing a new software update that is going to take an hour to complete.

    2. In addition to testing your laptop, check the lighting, the laptop angle, and most importantly the wifi.

    3. Just like the phone interview, plan to be in a quiet place with no distractions.

    4. Have the video platform open 5-10 minutes prior to your scheduled time. Some interviewers will send a message prior to the chat in case they are running a bit behind or in case they need to get started a few minutes early.

    5. I can’t stress this enough - the video chat needs to be treated the same as face-to-face. Meaning, it’s a good idea to wear the appropriate clothing and make sure you are looking at the camera (not the screen) when you are talking. Do not have any other windows open or pop up sounds. Hospitality is all about human interaction and if you seem distracted by something else on your screen, it gives the vibe that you aren’t fully present.


3. The face-to-face interview

    1. During a phone and video chat, interviewers are a bit more forgiving if something technology wise does go wrong. However, in person, interviewers evaluate a lot more closely. You definitely want to prepare for this one.

    2. Have an outfit picked out that matches the standards of the workplace and position. Whether it’s front desk or dishwasher, the hiring manager will still notice how you present yourself.

    3. Being on time is another big factor. Arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the interview as this shows that you can be on time and are reliable.

    4. Even if you submitted your CV online, bring a copy or two with you. Be sure that the resume is presentable (not crunched up or folded).

    5. Eye contact is probably one of the most important things. It’s something that can be hard to do. However, if you keep eye contact with the person when they are speaking, not only does it show you are listening to what they are saying but it gives you a sense of confidence and trustworthiness.



These steps might seem very basic, however, I’ve interviewed quite a few people in the hospitality industry and I can tell you, people don’t treat hospitality interviews the same. Many think that anyone can get a job as a host, for example, so they simply don’t put in the extra effort. Taking care prior to your interview will definitely give you an advantage over others. With that said, wishing you the best of luck out there!

Find out how our online hospitality training platform, Typsy, can help you upskill and get career-ready. Join today and get the first 10 day's FREE!



Andrea Aguilar earned her master’s degree in International Hospitality, Event, and Tourism Management from Oxford Brookes University. She has since left to start her own hospitality business called Preshift Hospitality that focuses on employee engagement in the hospitality industry.


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Topics: Hospitality career tips, Hospitality staff