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Posted at: Dec 5, 2018, 12:29 AM; last updated: Dec 5, 2018, 12:29 AM (IST)

The hospitality factor

The hospitality factor

Yogendra Agnihotri

Preparation, poise, humility and industry awareness are some pivotal qualities needed for getting through hospitality interviews.

As the adage goes, ‘Practice makes a man perfect’. The same holds true for interviews. A person only becomes adept at handling interviews after s/he has appeared for a few, at the very least. Nonetheless, for first-timers or relatively inexperienced candidates, some tips can help soothe the nervousness they experience. 

Do your homework

The first thing for a candidate is to do their homework. Basic knowledge about the industry and the company is imperative. Organisational research helps one understand the company culture and inherent philosophy.  

Before the appointed day, make a list of likely queries and put down balanced replies about one’s background, qualifications, past and present experience, career objectives, why one is seeking to leave the current job (if applicable), important accomplishments and challenges faced, etc. 

It’s essential to understand that hospitality revolves around service and ensuring guest satisfaction. A ready smile is indispensable in letting the interviewer know you realise the importance of smiling and are not unduly nervous. All the above involves the personal element. 

Team spirit

Then comes the team element. Depending on a person’s skills, s/he would be part of a specific team, be it the front desk, guest relations or any other department. Therefore, being able to function well as be part of a team is essential. Wherever the fitment and placement, hospitality employees need to exude courtesy and warmth while being aware of the etiquette when interacting with guests.  Additional skillsets needed are a friendly disposition, people management, interpersonal, analytical, organisational and problem-solving skills, including a yen for multitasking and delegating. 

Presentation, humility, honesty

Rehearse the scope of the job and what it entails in terms of skills, qualifications and experience. Check whether it’s possible to relate this job with one’s current sphere of work. Such holistic comprehension will enable a better idea of how to converge one’s answers with the queries made. 

Presentation and grooming play an extremely important role in hospitality jobs and interviews. Ensure that your resume is prim and proper, without grammatical errors and other typos. At first sight, the CV should look good, with select details highlighted in bold or italics. 

Guest Service Orientation is the most essential skill in hospitality, which requires humility and the service-with-a-smile outlook. Awareness about this should be projected as required while responding. Avoid a pompous attitude, which will convey an impression the candidate lacks requisite qualities for handling guests politely and tactfully, making the person unsuitable for a hospitality opening.  

 Always adhere to the principle: ‘Listen. Pause. Think. Respond’. It helps a candidate articulate his or her thoughts and knowledge with poise and precision. If these principles are followed diligently, there is every possibility of acing most hospitality interviews. 

Poise and preparation

Another important aspect is a calm, unflappable disposition, particularly in times of crisis or when facing guests who are very demanding, rude or even unreasonable. At all times, remember the dictum, 'Atithi Devo Bhava' or 'The guest is equivalent to God'. Once this precept has been imbibed, treating the guest like God is much easier. Candidates should know these key hospitality pointers in case they are asked about them during the interview. 

— The writer is Director, Human Resources South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group

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