Cooking Up The Best Chef Interview You’ve Ever Managed

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Going for a job interview is a nerve-wracking experience as an adult. You have to put yourself in front of someone for their judgement and appraisal of your skills, and hope that you’re good enough in their eyes to manage the role in front of you. Hospitality jobs are in high demand and there’s a good reason for it: it’s a fast-paced and many layered industry and it’s an exciting one! Hospitality also has a high-turnover for staff, given the rapid rate that people manage to move up each level depending on their career. The important thing to remember about your job interview is that it’s all about you. The people you’re interviewing with need to see you shine, but you’re also interviewing them as your employer. You could have the best resume in the world, but if your interview skills make you come off as someone who just doesn’t want to be in the room? Well, you’ve had it really!

In the event that you are going up for a higher position, such as head chef or maître d, you need to be well-prepared for your interview to be a difficult one. Jobs in a high position often mean pressurised interview stages and often more than one, involving a technical interview to test your skills as well. So, how can you nail your chef interview so that you’re the candidate shining above and beyond?

  • Never attend an interview in your chef’s whites. Women’s chef uniforms are smart, but the interview isn’t about your uniform and its straight edges, it’s about you and your skills. If you showed up in dirty whites, you’d get even more points deducted from you as a chef should never have dirty whites in the kitchen let alone outside of it! If you don’t have much of a choice due to the timing of the interview, at least keep a clean uniform and change into that first.
  • Chefs are supposed to have clean, short nails and if you show up to your job interview with dirty hands, painted nails or false nails, you’re immediately going to be turned down. Nails are an absolute breeding ground for bacteria and catching dirt, and long nails are the way to turn off your potential employer.
  • Appearance really does matter in interviews, and while it shouldn’t it’s something that should concern you. Leave the chef’s hat – and any other hat for that matter – at home. As a chef, you’re probably aware of how neatness is judged and having neat and tidy hairstyles can go a long way to showing your interviewer how concerned about your job you are.
  • Working in hospitality is highly stressful, and if you manage stress with a tipple of wine or two, make sure you don’t manage it right before the interview. Restaurant managers and head chefs have the noses of bloodhounds, and it’s totally unprofessional to arrive at an interview smelling of alcohol – regardless of the industry.
  • Talk as clearly as you possibly can when you are answering interview questions. Your possible employer wants to hear you be confident, assertive and able to articulate what you want, as all that is so important when working in a role such as sous chef.
  • One of the biggest tips you could work with in your interview is not to brag. There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance and if you’re busy bragging about your achievements rather than discussing them, you could put people off. You want interviewers to find you approachable and humble. Exude confidence without making out like you think you’re the best thing since sliced bread and butter pudding!
  • If you have to have a technical test during your interview, practice being as calm as possible. You want to do well on your technical and nerves can and do get the better of you in a pressured situation. You want to be able to show your interviewer that you can work well in a pressurised environment, not fall apart at the first hurdle!

Going for an interview doesn’t have to be a difficult experience; in fact, it’s the ticket to you having a better career prospect and potentially a better salary. You just have to make sure that you are someone who is ready for anything and can be confident and alert during the interview itself. Now is not the time to go into your shell, so get out there and knock them dead!

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