Chefs are famous for being hot-headed, focused and disciplined. You might think that they don’t get nervous at interviews, but they do – just like the rest of us.
A chef interview is an interview with a difference. Each company or establishment will have its way of conducting their interviews, making the process slightly unpredictable. Some ask for a demonstration on the day; others don’t. Should you bring your chef whites, or go business casual?
The whole process can seem like a minefield, especially for a chef just starting out in the industry.
So, we have compiled this article of five easy steps you can take to ensure total confidence in your next chef interview.
1. Plan and Prepare
The best way to beat the interview nerves is to physically see the place where the interview will take place beforehand. If possible, go to the restaurant a few days early or give yourself enough time to check the area and place out before the meeting and get a coffee.
It would be best if you also used the time you have in the days leading up to the interview to prepare for what the interview will entail. You can use this time to ask if there is anything they would like you to bring – knives, whites, shoes etc. Most hiring managers will be transparent in interviews these days; they are not the rigid test-like situations they once were. Remember your hospitality recruiter can help you here too; they’ll know what the usual process involves.
Look at the company website, Facebook page and any other social media accounts they have. Many restaurants now have an Instagram page where they share photos of the food and sometimes the kitchen and back of house areas too. Having as much familiarity with the place as you can beforehand can reduce your nerves on the day.
2. Get Cooking
It can be easy for a chef to get caught up the menu at their current restaurant. Making the same dishes every night, you can fall into the trap of going onto autopilot when you step into the kitchen every night for service; especially if you have been in the same role for any length of time.
This can mean that cooking and experimenting with new foods can go out of the window.
It’s easy to get bored quite quickly, making the same dishes over and over; we understand.
To combat this, we suggest trying out any new dishes or ingredients you haven’t worked with for a while, get your creative juices flowing and get back into trying new things.
Often a restaurant looking for a new chef will want the chef to come up with alterations to the current food and beverage offerings, or sometimes even a whole new menu or cooking style. So, this is even more reason to make sure you aren’t stuck in a cooking rut.
3. Visualise For Success
When you really want the job you are being interviewed for the stress can build. As a Harvard Business Review report, shared that most people interviewed say that a job interview can be one of the most ‘overwhelmingly stressful experiences’, ever.
A new way of handling nerves that has gained popularity is to visualise yourself completing the task before it happens. I know it can sound odd, yet it works for every single successful athlete across the globe, which certainly means it’s worth considering if you are unsure check this resource from the telegraph which goes into this fascinating topic more.
Take 10 minutes to close your eyes and see yourself walking into the interview, sitting and talking with the interviewer, in a happy and relaxed manner, and walking out feeling like you did a great job. This idea might sound a little leftfield, and it works too!
4. Practice Makes Perfect
As a chef, you won’t need me to tell you the role is more hectic than most. At some point in time, I bet you have worked 16-hour days on rotation, making two days off in a row a distant dream?
Which means any spare time is utterly precious. Because of this, it can mean that time spent planning for a chef interview is less than it would be for many other skilled professions.
However, practising in real time for your interview is a great way to see how you react to questions and how comfortable you are in talking about yourself. Ask a close friend to act as a pretend interviewer and go through some standard questions.
Prepare a short paragraph about yourself for the always present question; ‘tell us a little bit about yourself?’.
When a restaurant is hiring a new chef, they are usually looking to take the restaurant in a new direction. The manager wants to see your personality and passion.
Interview nerves on the day can stunt your ability to express the true version of you; there is nothing more disappointing than leaving a job interview knowing you could have done a lot better.
Which leads me onto our final suggestion…..
5. Finally:Smile and Enjoy It!
Having an interview for a new role that you have aspired to is a positive experience, whatever the outcome.
In your planned paragraphs and answers, remember to include lots of positive thoughts and happy memories of being in the kitchen as this will naturally make you smile and relax.
No matter what anyone says, the hiring manager or restaurant owner, is looking for keen and happy new recruits. In other words, chefs that love what they do which comes across both verbally and in their body language too.
Remember enthusiasm counts.
Always remember that getting to the interview stage is proof that the restaurant is interested in you and your abilities and when you take action on the five suggestions we have given you today you will put yourself in the best position ever to hear that critical phrase… ‘we would like to offer you the role…..’.
These interview confidence tips can be used in your next chef interview. If you don’t have one lined up, send us your chef CV today and let us start looking for you.
At KSB Recruitment, we help find great chefs for roles across the whole of Birmingham, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire and Northamptonshire. To find out about our 1–hour response guarantee get in contact here or give us a call on 0121 702 1428.