A quick study of fear and anxiety reveals that four of the top adult human fears
are tests, rejection, failure, and meeting new people. It is easy to see why many fear interviewing even more than death. An interview combines all four: It is a test that requires meeting new people in which you may be rejected if you fail to be considered a fit.
You can overcome this anxiety by application of these five principles:
Know Your Fear
I love the acronym for FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real. This assures me that, aside from tangible in-my-face danger, any fear I have is an emotion of my own
creation. It is make-believe, and I have the power to condition my mind to process information without converting it to fear.
If you fear “interviewing,” you may only fear one aspect of the interview process but because of that fear, you cast a dark cloud on the entire process. For instance, you may really like to meet new people but fear rejection. If so, seek counsel and work to overcome that one fear so that it does not create anxiety for the entire interview process.
True professionals are constantly overcoming weaknesses because as you push yourself to higher levels of leadership you are also constantly stepping into the unknown.
Know Your Career
You must invest several hours in preparation for an interview
. The odds are against you if you go in cold. You are expected to be an expert on the interview subject matter: you.
Spend time reviewing your own résumé. That’s right. You have to work to bring all that data from the recesses of your long-term memory back into your short-term memory for easy recall. You need the ability to use that information when asked about past positions or when challenged with a situational question.
If you commit the time to do this, you will be able to easily recall your experience and successfully answer questions by giving vivid examples of your accomplishments. When you can quantify your response, you really hit it out of the ball park. Example:
Q: As General Manager with Hotel Corporation, how effective was your team?
A: Very effective. In two years we grew revenues by 40% and realized $1 Million in profits, a turn around from a $250K loss when we took over. The first year was a real challenge, because our biggest battle was ourselves. We had to change the negative culture in the rooms division, kitchens, and in administration. Also at that two-year mark, we had reduced our turnover rate by 50% and our customer feedback scores were in the 90’s. Once the whole staff bought into the values that we set by example and they realized that we really cared about them, they took the hotel and restaurants to a higher level of excellence.
Know Your Goals
This is a huge HR hot button. If you don’t know where you are going, how are you going to get there? You have to have a genuine answer when asked your two-, five-, ten-, and ultimate career goals.
Most companies like to see a steadily-progressive career
. It is functional for both employers and employees that employees master a skill set and leadership level before either a lateral move to gain a broader scope, or advancement to the next level. Your vision for your career should be steadily-progressive, with your ultimate goal at a high performance level such as global vice president of convention sales, corporate executive chef, or vice president of food and beverage.
Take the time to think through your vision. Write it down. Read it and ponder it. If you don’t, you will not be ready for the very important question that comes next: “Why is that your goal?”
Know Your Strengths & Weaknesses
When asked about your strengths and weaknesses (a.k.a. “opportunities” or “areas of improvement”), do not use clichés like “I’m a people person,” “I am detail-oriented,” “I work too hard,” or “I can’t help it; I’m a perfectionist.” They’re smokescreens and everyone knows it. It is a common human trait to avoid acknowledging and facing our weaknesses.
When I interview candidates who can’t think of any weaknesses, it is evident that they are not introspective. They are not working on themselves, leading themselves, and self-awareness is a major consideration in making the jump to multiunit and executive leadership. You cannot have strengths without also having weaknesses. There are many ways to objectively determine what they are, such as your recent performance reviews, feedback from a mentor or manager, behavioral surveys and assessment tools.
Everyone has them. Achievement-oriented hotel sales pros often lack focus. World-changing culinary innovators usually can’t stand the “paperwork” side of the business. Charismatic, visionary CEO’s tend to seem cold and blunt to their direct reports. Most dependable, long-tenured hospitality managers tend to be a little paranoid and reluctant to take risks.
Embrace your big-picture strengths and weaknesses so that you can have a genuine and substantial conversation about them. Substantiate your strengths with examples of how your strengths are used to achieve success. Discuss your weaknesses with candor and cite the ways you are working to improve
Know Your Interviewer
“What do you know about us?” is the question one of my clients asked to open every interview. If the candidate could not describe the company’s scope of business, different concepts and regions in which they operate, it was a very short interview. You don’t have to be an expert, but if you don’t know general information about the company and why you are interviewing with them, you’re wasting your time and theirs.
Take the time to research the company, unit, management structure, corporate leadership, environmental responsibility, financial performance, mission, values, menus, critical reviews. Know their niche-specific performance metrics such as ADR, RevPAR, PPA, AUV, or average turn. You will be spending a great deal of time with them if you’re hired. You’re going to want to know what makes them tick.
If you would like additional resources or to discuss a specific aspect of interviewing, click “Leave a Comment” below and we can dialogue about your specific issue. You can eliminate your fear of interviewing. Like anything worthwhile, you have to work at it. That work may just lead you to reach higher heights than you have ever dreamed possible!
Written by Joseph D'Alessandro, President of Strategic Hospitality Search