Sometimes the hardest part of a new job in the restaurant industry is getting past the interview. There are many different themes and atmospheres that differentiate one restaurant from another, such as an upscale 5 star restaurant vs. your neighborhood bar and grill, which sometimes causes your typical waiter interview to vary in attitude and requirements. By following a few basic waiter interview tips, you can maneuver your way through a job interview at any type of eating establishment with little difficulty.
Compose a Résumé
A good résumé shows professionalism.
Though a résumé is not always required for obtaining a waiter position, it does add to making a good impression in the eyes of your potential employer. Many upscale, fine dining establishments will ask that you present a résumé at your interview that outlines your skills and professional background. In some instances, more casual eateries, such as bar and grills or sports pubs, may not request a résumé, but having a well-composed résumé and cover letter will give the impression that you are organized, responsible and serious about pursuing your job or career goals.
Neat and Thorough Application
Thoroughly complete the application.
Whether you are submitting a résumé or not, an important part of your interview process, and sometimes part of getting the interview, is filling out the job application. Be sure to fill in every required section completely. Leaving empty sections may imply a lack of conscientiousness that will reflect in your work. Also print clearly and legibly to ensure that your information is accurately conveyed to your interviewer. As a waiter or waitress, you may be require to submit handwritten orders to chefs, cooks and staff members, so good penmanship is something that employers may be looking for in your application. Make sure all dates, contact names and phone numbers are accurate when filling out an application. Taking along a "cheat-sheet" often helps.
Being certified in sanitation or alcohol awareness helps.
If you have any special certifications, you will surely want to mention them during your interview. Most restaurant owners and managers prefer employees who take a serious interest in the good of the establishment, maintain the highest possible standards of service and voluntarily educate themselves on industry procedures. If you have any certification in sanitation procedures, alcohol awareness or have attended any classes relating to the food industry, presenting documentation to your potential employer may help you get your application closer to the top of the stack. If you do not have any specific training or certification but have significant time to attend classes prior to your interview, taking online classes to gain certification in alcohol awareness or another service industry-related course may help you get a foot in the door compared with other applicants.
Dress professionally even for a casual establishment.
Keep in mind that you only have one chance to make a first impression, and your appearance will have much to do with the impression you make. Because they are in direct contact with guests and represent the establishment as a whole, waiters are expected to be neat and clean in appearance at all times, including the interview process. Wear clean, pressed, business casual clothes no matter what scale of restaurant you are applying to. Be sure your nails and hands are clean and free of excessive jewelry, and be sure hair is neatly trimmed, or swept back and secured if you have longer hair. Unless you are applying at an eatery that is clearly in acceptance of body modification, keep any tattoos or body piercings concealed at all times. Basically, look neat, clean and professional.
Smile and be friendly.
The way you carry yourself during an interview is crucial to your success at landing the job. Confidence is an attractive trait to potential employers. It shows that you believe in your capabilities to succeed. Overconfidence, on the other hand, may come across as cocky and could be detrimental to your goal. Let your interviewer know that you are the right person for the job without implying that you're "the best ever." Above all, being friendly, outgoing and courteous is most important. This is what will be expected of you when serving customers, and showing that you are personable and friendly will get you much further with your interviewer than being shy and reserved.
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