General Question

SoapChef's avatar

What is your best interview advice?

Asked by SoapChef (2961 points ) February 9th, 2009

I have an interview tomorrow for Executive Chef at an oceanfront resort. What should I be sure to say or do or NOT say or do?

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49 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

I have lots of interview advice. Here’s my best: show your enthusiasm.

Good luck!

davidshoukry's avatar

Obviously make sure that you know as much as you can about the organisation. Do NOT say anything negative about your current employer. Have a few questions to ask them. Show up looking immaculately smart.

SoapChef's avatar

Thanks for the advice.
@Jeruba Any more gems? I can do enthusiasm!
@davidshoukry I already have the Liz Claiborne suit, pressed and ready to impress.

davidshoukry's avatar

If you’re asked what your weaknesses are make sure you say something that can’t be perceived as an actual weakness!

Jeruba's avatar

Be prepared for questions that begin “Tell me about a time when you…”

Have answers for questions that begin “What is your worst…” and try to choose things that are actually to your credit (without being too obvious about it).

Don’t whine. Don’t criticize your former employer. Show a sense of humor, but don’t take chances with risky wisecracks.

Don’t tell them what you won’t do or don’t want to do. Do tell them what you will do.

Exhibit a “can-do” attitude.

Have a clear idea of your philosophy or approach to the work, whether it ever comes up in the interview or not. A coherent, wholistic concept in your mind will give you confidence and inspire their confidence in you. Be clear in your mind, too, about your sense of your relationship to superiors, subordinates, and clients. Know who you expect to be in relation to others.

Have some good questions for them.

Here’s my favorite last question: “Is there anything I should have asked you that I didn’t?” (As an interviewer, one my my favorite last questions is “What do you most want me to remember about you?”)

augustlan's avatar

My advice? Listen to Jeruba!

discover's avatar

Say: ->You are extremely interested in the job
->You see a career and would like to grow along with the organization
->Convey to them that you have the skills to meet or exceed their expectations

Do not:-> Criticize your former employer
->Give an impression that you are desperate for the job

tennesseejac's avatar

ASK FOR THE JOB

bythebay's avatar

Tell them how your creativity in the kitchen will ensure their diners leave pleased and wanting to return.

Tell them you can manage their busy kitchen with confidence.

Tell them you can turn out fantastic meals while keeping a mindful eye on their budget & expenses for the kitchen.

Just tell them your Soap Chef!

Best of luck, you’ll be fabulous!!

Vinifera7's avatar

I am terrible at interviews. Listen to Jeruba.

blondie411's avatar

The best thing for you to be is to be both knowledgeable about the position your applying for as well as a few points about the company. Be clear about your abilities and what you can bring to the mix to the position. The best thing for you is to be positive and very excited even though it is a very nerve racking time.

congrats to you for even getting an interview when times are tough, but I guess everyone has to eat!!

aprilsimnel's avatar

Remember that you’re interviewing them, too. Don’t go in there with the attitude of a supplicant.You have something they want and need. Do they have what you need and want?

At the moment of the interview, though the interviewer represents an entity, you’re both two people looking to make an exchange.

toolo's avatar

calmness, confidence, clarity, control your words

GAMBIT's avatar

Smile and be positive. Look the interviewer in the eye and if there is any part of the job that you have never done before say I am looking forward to learning it.

SoapChef's avatar

Thanks everyone. Some great advice here.
@blondie411 I am lucky to even have this interview!

Vinifera7's avatar

@aprilsimnel
That’s a great point. Even if the requirements for the position are posted before the interview, it’s important to hear from the hiring manager what the job entails and what is expected of you. This is especially important for skilled trades.

@GAMBIT
Isn’t it a little overly presumptuous to say that you’re “looking forward to learning it” if you haven’t been hired in yet?

GAMBIT's avatar

@Vinifera7 – I’ve been on interviews when they told me exactly what I would be doing. That is why I added that. When someone asks me can I do something I always reply yes if someone is willing to take the time and teach me.

Yes I can do the job and I am looking forward to learning new things. In an interview I never use a negative response for anything.

blondie411's avatar

@SoapChef I’ll keep my fingers crossed! I’m looking as well…my problem is i’ll get to the interview stage but then they’ll say “oh we’re in a hiring freeze” or “we’re not hiring for that position anymore” It is a very frustrating feat.

wundayatta's avatar

If you’re interviewing for executive chef, it seems to me that you should be prepared to provide them with an approach to the menu. You need to research the current attitude of the restaurant, but I assume you’ve done that already.

So, where do you want to take it? What will you do with the menu? Do they want you to continue the same menu, or will they allow you to do your thing? If you can do your thing, you’ll have to be able to describe it.

Just out of curiousity, what is your thing? How will it raise the profile of the restaurant and get in new customers? Also, what are your accomplishments in other restaurants? If appropriate, did reciepts go up because of work you did? If you were a sous-chef of some kind, did your work become well-praised by the customers?

Whatever, present your accomplishments in the past in business terms—what they are looking for, and present your plans and sell them as the answer to their dreams.

Also, see if they are people you can work with. Will they be meddlesome? Will they second-guess you all the time? Or will they let you have a free hand? Does their philosphy mesh with yours? Don’t take a job where you are going to have problems with this. You’ll be miserable. You might want to know the conditions under which the last exec chef left. That can help you know what your potential employers are like.

Be bold! Be brave! You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. Both sides have a vested interest in making sure you can work well together.

Jack79's avatar

One thing that has always worked for me: persuade yourself that you won’t get the job anyway. So what? There’s plenty of jobs out there, you don’t need those guys. But you agreed to have the interview, so it’s not nice to stand them up. So why not go and meet them?
Ok, so walk into the room, answer the questions politely, be yourself, but above all, be relaxed. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t get the job, and that’s not the end of the world, is it? Keep this in mind at all times, and you will do fine. I’ve always got any job I ever applied for, been voted for any position I ran for, and won over the crowd at any concert I ever had, thanks to this attitude.

Just to make it clear: I am not saying “be arrogant”. I am saying “don’t be tense”.

Judi's avatar

Be honest with yourself and the employer. The best interview I ever had I turned down the job. When we started discussing the details of the job I realized that although I would be able to do it and do it well I would be miserable, to much accounting and I perfer big picture stuff. The employer appreciated my honesty and I know that if that company ever had a job I really wanted it would be mine. I know that in these hard economic times its hard to look at it this way, but if it is the perfect fit your honesty will show through. Just don’t be afraid to ask questions.

bythebay's avatar

Make sure you tell them everbody lurves your cooking and your Fluther company!

Jeruba's avatar

@Jack79, honestly, nobody can afford to be that cavalier about a job in the U.S. right now, and everybody knows it. Too much bravado can sink you. Who wants to hire a facile liar? You have to be genuine without stinking of fear.

asmonet's avatar

Smile.

Jeruba's avatar

@SoapChef: after-action report?

SoapChef's avatar

To all you wonderful jellies who gave such great advice, a big thank you! I got the job! Yay!

Judi's avatar

YEAH!!!!

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, FABULOUS, @SoapChef! Yay, hurray, hurray!! Mind telling us in what general oceanfront area this resort might be located? (You don’t have to be too specific unless you want jellyfolk showing up to congratulate you in person and sample your best.)

asmonet's avatar

Congratulations!

SoapChef's avatar

Driftwood Shores in Florence Oregon. Beautiful place this is. I would love to spot you fellow jellies on the gorgeous beaches here. (not like those poor little unfortunate ones that wash in with the tides) FYI, I was reading that I get 50% off rooms, so if any of you are so inclined to visit this amazing part of the world. Let me know and I will hook you up. Thanks again all!

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yaaaaaay! for getting a new job!

wundayatta's avatar

What did you say in the interview? What do you think worked for you?

SoapChef's avatar

Daloon, I actually used your suggestions with the menus, (since I will have some freedom and control over such things) and did some sample ones which seemed to impress the GM a great deal. I also went in with a clear idea of how to increase sales by focusing on the locals and information about how I did that with my own bistro which I sold last August. I printed off some reviews and had them ready, which also seemed to impress him. I felt like I was in the zone, my thoughts were focused and clear. I also used tennesseejac’s suggestion of asking for the job. After selling myself, I explained that I had, had time to analyze the job since my first meeting and this interview and was convinced that I had much to contribute and then ‘asked’ for the job, It was a win. The thing that really clinched it, I believe was Jerubas suggestion, “Show your enthusiasm”. Thanks again everyone!

asmonet's avatar

Yay! We lurve you!
:D

I have some friends in Oregon and Washington state. I’ll suggest the area for their next vacation, they’re always looking for pretty places that aren’t college student traps. :)

SoapChef's avatar

@asmonet Are those pics of the beach at Driftwood Shores? Looks like it. The views from the restaurant are amazing. Instead of smoke breaks, I’ll be taking beach breaks.

augustlan's avatar

Congrats Soap!

Nimis's avatar

Yay for SoupChef!
(And congrats to Driftwood Shores!)

bythebay's avatar

Sooooooo happy for you. Here’s to a new chapter in the book of your life, and an exciting new opportunity. Cheers!

Judi's avatar

@SoapChef ; Driftwood Shores is still there? I spent many a happy childhood holiday there!

wundayatta's avatar

@SoapChef: what was your sense of your new employers? Do you think you’ll be able to work well with them?

SoapChef's avatar

@Judi No kidding? You should revisit!
@daloon The GM seems to be a very reasonable, capable and inspiring leader. The outgoing exec chef, had many, many good things to say about him. This was the major reason, I was so interested in this position. After being self employed for so long, I know I have to ‘learn’ to work for someone else again. I think his style of leadership will make this transition for me much more enjoyable!

Judi's avatar

@SoapChef; I’m sure someone who has run a successful business is a great asset. It’s hard to find people with an artistic flair who also have good business sense.
Usually when I am in Oregon I am busy with family, but maybe I should take mom over to Driftwood Shores for a weekend this summer. Ahhh, the Oregon coast,.... I’m sure it will be one of those smells that take me right back.

blondie411's avatar

Yay @SoapChef I wish I could go to Oregon, maybe I will only if you were to cook me some good yummys! I’m glad you got the job and everything worked out!

Now if only something good will happen over here…

SoapChef's avatar

@Judi If you do decide to bring Mom over, do let me know! You are so right on about the smells. Besides the astonishing beauty, the smells always brought me back here.
@blondie411 Thanks so much, would love to cook for fellow jellies! hmmm, left coast fluther convention? I will send good thoughts into the universe for your job prospects. Good things happen!

asmonet's avatar

@SoapChef: Sorry, I’ve been away, yes those are pictures of Driftwood. :)

essieness's avatar

I want to thank Jeruba for pointing me to this thread. I have a phone interview tomorrow for a position I really want. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the job market and I’m very excited and nervous. This is also a big step as it is a position in which a bachelor’s degree is “preferred”. I am less than a year from getting my degree, but I feel I’m qualified for the position. It would be a huge jump in salary for me and basically would put me back on track and out of the slump I’ve been in for the last year.

So, I’m glad I could read everyone’s advice here and I’m taking notes. Wish me luck!

augustlan's avatar

Good luck @essieness! Fingers crossed. :D

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