Four Interview Basics That Give You An Edge

Four Interview Basics That Give You An Edge

Many job applicants are losing sight of some basic interviewing skills, and it’s not just recruiters who are noticing. Here are just four basics that will give you an edge over your competition.

Arrive Early, Unflustered

Several years back I had a candidate who had an interview scheduled during a Chicago blizzard. It took him two hours to get to the property and he arrived five minutes late. He was immediately rejected and it was not because he was late. He was soaking wet. This client had grace for the few minutes of tardiness because of the blizzard, but the candidate’s failure to remember an umbrella or outerwear was a signal that he would not anticipate the storms of a high volume restaurant. Can you blame her?

You have to prepare for anything that will spring up, giving yourself plenty of time and options. You have only one chance to make a first impression, so arrive ten minutes early in appropriate professional attire. Interview time means “game on.” No matter what happened last night or this morning, you are having a great day, you have a great smile, and you are excited to interview.

Basic Preparation and Due Respect

When we are passionate about something, researching that subject is not a chore but a blessing. If you are passionate about a potential employer, you will extensively research the company. This is critical, because employers need to see that candidates care enough to learn about them before the interview. Be ready to professionally answer questions like “What do you know about us?” and “What about our company appeals to you” and “Why do you see yourself as a culture fit with our company?”

Remember some of the basics of politeness. When someone enters a room, stand up and offer your hand to shake. Say “please” and “thank you.” Wait patiently and keep your phone turned off, even when waiting.

Show That You Want The Job

We have had clients report back on interviews saying, “She looks the part. She answered the questions well. But…I couldn’t tell if she wants the job.” Employers are looking for passion and desire in you. They want candidates to get excited when discussing the position and challenges of the job. If you have a “low key” personality, you will want to work on this because hospitality requires passion, and employers are looking for that sparkle in your eye.

Call me Old School, but here’s a tip that will ensure you leave a lasting impression: After the interview, when you are being escorted out, look your interviewer square in the eye and say, “Ms./Mr. (Name), I want this job. I look forward to our next meeting.” It’s simple but profound. When your interviewer thinks back on your interview, they will remember it and they will have no doubt that you want the position.

Follow Up and Follow Through

Within 24 hours, send a snail mail thank you note. Keep it brief, use your best penmanship, and don’t use a thank you note to keep “selling” yourself. Simply express your thanks for the interviewer taking their time to meet with you. If you interviewed with more than one person, send a thank you card to every person who interviewed you.

Make follow-up calls to the interviewer to demonstrate your desire for the position. Be tactful and mannerly, and be prepared to hear, “We’ll be making a decision in the next week and getting back to candidates.” How many calls you make and the frequency of the calls you will have to discern based upon the interviewer, but you need to make at least two to show your determination.

There are many more interview tips and techniques in our Advisory Center. Do you have stories to share from your interview experience? Share on our Facebook Page, and Like us while you’re there!


SHS practices THE CRAFT OF CURATING TALENT.  SHS’s mission is to transform excellence-driven companies that deliver a high degree of service in food and beverage verticals such as restaurants, hotels, manufacturers, and distributors.  The Illinois-based agency provides expert talent-acquisition for businesses nationwide.  They empower leaders to achieve higher levels of success by solving cultural challenges such as recruiting exceptional talent; defining organizational purpose; improving employee retention, engagement, and performance; implementing impactful communication practices; and much more.  SHS artfully helps you develop a more aligned work environment, resulting in increased profitability and amplified innovation.  To find out more, visit

Joseph D’Alessandro

About Joseph D’Alessandro

Joseph spent 15 years in leadership positions in hospitality operations before becoming a full-time executive recruiter in 2000. Joseph founded SHS in 2002 and has grown the business from a one-person outfit to a full team of dedicated experts.


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