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View our job application tips

Need some job application tips for a new job in the hospitality and catering industry? We got you! Our professionals at Start in the Hospitality & Catering Industry have a strong background in HR and the hospitality and catering industry. That is why we give you the best job application tips, with a focus on this specific sector. Your preparation is virtually complete with our tips, online courses and templates. Ready to get started? Here come our tips.

Job application tips for the hospitality and catering industry

1. Get to know the business
First of all, it is important that you find out more about the business you are submitting a job application to. What does the business look like, how many people work there, who is their target group and what do they do exactly? Remember to look at their website and other online platforms. Companies assume that you would do this and that you are interested in it. If they should learn that you have not done this, you are immediately two steps behind.

2. Prepare for the interview
Before the job interview, you should always prepare yourself for any questions. That way, you won’t be at a loss for words when faced with a tough question. It shows not only that you are well prepared, but also that you are confident and that you dare to be honest. Questions that you should not neglect in your preparation include:

  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • What are your good and bad qualities?
  • What do you have to offer the business?
  • What would you do if a customer is not satisfied or creates a scene? - How do you deal with hygiene?
  • What do you do if you find yourself in a conflict with a colleague?
  • Are you a team player or do you prefer to work alone?
  • What role do you play in a team?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years?
  • What would you like to change in the business?

    3. List your own requirements
    A job application is not only a moment for the employer to see if you fit in, it is also an important moment for you. You have to see if the business is a good fit for you as well. Therefore, make a list of the requirements you want the business to meet beforehand. This includes working hours, salary, responsibilities and training that may be required. If you have not given this any thought beforehand, you may be overwhelmed. Imagine: the employer offers you a salary, but you have not yet decided on the minimum amount you want. Then you would not know whether to react enthusiastically or not. It is important that you come up with reasoning points immediately, in case you need to convince the employer of your demands. Why do you deserve training and how would that be beneficial for the business? And why do you deserve a higher salary? You will notice that you are in a stronger position during the job interview.

    4. Write down your own questions
    We can imagine that, in addition to answering questions, you also have questions for your future employer. Write these questions down and ask them during the job interview. It is not a problem to pick up a note or a paper. In fact, it looks even neater than a phone. It shows that you are prepared, structured and you know what you want. Furthermore, you will immediately become more knowledgeable and know what to expect at the business. This includes dress code, working hours and ‘unwritten’ rules. The salary is usually discussed in a second interview, but that does not mean that you cannot ask about it earlier. Feel this out for yourself. You will find out if the business is a good fit for you and you can better prepare yourself for the first working day. Examples of questions you can ask:
  • What work will I be doing?
  • What does an average working day look like? - How is the working atmosphere?
  • Who will I be working with?
  • What responsibilities will I have?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • What times will I work?
  • How many days’ holiday do I have?
  • Do I get a travel allowance?
  • Are there any growth opportunities?
  • Can I follow training internally?
  • What will my contract include?
  • What are the next steps after this interview?

    5. View the offer
    When you go for an interview with a hospitality and catering business, it is useful to know what is on offer. What dishes are on the menu and what do you think of them? What are their specialties and do they have a new dish, for example? But also: do they work with surprise menus? If you have experience in the kitchen or in service, you will certainly score points for discussing that.

    6. Present yourself neatly
    This goes without saying for any job interview, but in the hospitality and catering industry it is even more important. Make sure you are dressed appropriately and pay attention to your personal hygiene. During a job interview, many employers pay close attention to nails and shoes, as they speak volumes about your personal hygiene and grooming habits. It is not for nothing that they say the shoes make the man! When you work with food and people, make sure everything is in good order. Wear decent clothes and shoes, make sure that you smell good and that your hair is well groomed. These points are really a must for a job interview in the hospitality and catering industry.

    7. Be on time
    It is worth repeating: be on time! By this we mean at least 15 minutes early. Do not plan your trip at the minute, but allow yourself some leeway. After all, you don’t know whether you will need some extra time to find the right location. Allow some extra time for getting lost or any traffic jams and delays along the way. The first impression is the most important one!

    8. Give specific examples
    Are you highly structured, can you lead a team or are you a real team player? Then give specific examples of why you say so. After all, everyone can think of some good qualities or has a different definition of ‘good’. Specific examples make your story more credible and give your employer a clearer picture of your working methods and character. See two examples below:

  • I am very structured. At the previous business, I came up with the idea of writing down everyone’s tasks for the day on a chalkboard. This way everyone knew what was expected of them for day and who was responsible for what.
  • I am a real leader. During my studies, I took the lead in every project and at my previous employer, I was promoted to manager. I held this position for two years and always got good feedback.

    That concludes the job application tips for the hospitality and catering industry! Hopefully it was of some use to you. We wish you good luck with your job interview and remember to use our templates, which will help you along the job application process. Good luck!