With hundreds of books on the subject, and countless online articles and videos, today's hospitality candidates are pretty savvy when it comes to job interviews. All the more reason to take an unconventional approach, one that may catch candidates off guard to reveal strengths and weaknesses ordinary techniques may fail to uncover.
Waiting Room Revelations. Give your receptionist a heads up that job candidates will be coming to meet you. Have your receptionist note the subtle behaviors that may reveal clues to the candidate's personality. Excessive fidgeting, papers spilling out of briefcase, constant cell phone use, rudeness and impatience toward the receptionist—all are "tells" that may give you added insights into the interviewee.
Probing Questions. Ask the candidate about their most negative and positive experience in helping customers. They should remember one or the other and be prepared to answer follow-up questions.
The Customer Courtesy Test. Arrange to have the initial meeting in an area where customers enter. Before you arrive to interview the candidate, observe how they treat customers—do they open doors, help with heavy bags, etc? You could even have an employee pose as a customer who needs help and see how the candidate reacts. As a follow up, you might invite the candidate to breakfast and—before you arrive—see how they behave toward the servers who you intentionally instruct to arrive late with their order.
If you're a hospitality candidate reading this, take note, for these techniques could be used to evaluate you.
For an added perspective, check out this video:
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Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of published articles on health/fitness, "green" issues, TV/film entertainment, restaurant reviews and many other topics. As a former Andy/Belding/One Show ad agency copywriter, he also writes web content, ads, brochures, sales letters, mailers and scripts for national B2B and B2C clients.