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interviewing for jobs

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I have had a few interviews over the past month or so and yesterday I had a second of 2 interviews with one of the upscale hotels in town. this one was conducted over the phone. I think the questions
were geared towards finding out more about my personality. I think a lot of the higher end hotel mgt. co. use this in their hireing process. one question that stands out in my memory is Are you a habitual smiler? I could have lied and said yes but I said no Im not. But im not a habitual frowner either.
has anybody else been throught his process,and if so what do you think of it. thanks Danno
post #2 of 27
I'm not sure I understand how a phone interview like that is good for them? Seems to me any smart person would know what answer their looking for. Are you a thief? No. Are you enthusiatic? Yes.

Seems like a good lier or someone who wants a job badly isn't going to loose playing shrink over the phone. Heck, I've met people who can lie to you eye to eye and they seem to believe every word they say.

My husband once interviewed at a job that made everyone take a test at a psy. office between the first and second interviews. My brother-in law worked there and he swears by this profiling they do to find who's a leader and who's not (so they really fit the job their applying for). He also says it's saved the company money in the long run...
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #3 of 27
Hi Danno - In the past two days, I've interviewed at two high end hotels in the city - and I'm on my way to a third, the highest of them all.
At the first hotel, I had to go through about an hour of 'behavioral' interviewing with HR. They asked if I smiled, cared about my appearance, could remember names. Don't they knkow that pastry chefs don't have to be sociable? ;) I think that your actual actions in the face to face were also being noted. And I know that 'what the heck does remembering names have to do with your ability to craft the perfect croissant?' was not the proper answer. But that interview got me sent to a second, working interview with the chef...

The second hotel asked me why I was changing careers, and did I know they didn't have parking for the staff? Badda bing, badd boom, and on to a working interview right then.
At least these guys are getting a bunch of free labor!

Having done interviewing when I was forced to do some HR, I think that interviews are more about protocol, and the interviewee's ability to respect that. You may never wear a suit, but wearing one to the interview shows you do protocol. And never, ever being negative, even if you left your last job because you were wounded by a disgruntled ex-worker! Put another way, the whole thing is phony and about sucking up. But you are speaking with a gatekeeper, not the people you will be working with/for - who will get a sense of the real you, and will see a fit or not.

Telephone screening, I think, is totally bogus. Only the tout d'ensemble can give you a sense of the person. Oh sure, I've called people for an interview where the phone was answered "what the **** do you want" and then turned syrupy when I mentioned a company name. And I got multiple interviews at the Harvard School of Public Health on the basis on one phone screening. But I stil think it's a bogus way to treat people!

Good luck. Let us know when you land a job :bounce: , and if it's what you thought!
Annie
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Annie
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post #4 of 27

what to wear?

What do you normally wear when applying for a kitchen position? Does it vary depending on whether you are applying for a chef position or cook position?

Those of you who do conduct interviews -- what do you think is appropriate for an interviewee to wear? I was always under the impression that business casual was the norm, but seriously I have no idea.

thanks

Dunk
post #5 of 27

all this spandex and not a thing to wear!

a suit unless the interview is a casual one with your friend who owns a bistro and wants you to take over for them while they go on vacation......

always wear an ensable, it looks good on you! a blazer or pressed shirt and trousers for men and women or skirt for women and scottish men ;)
try to look clean, shave and floss!

an interview, no matter how wacky, is your chance to get your foot in the door and shine! do your best!!!

ps if you are in kitchen whites at a show or benift, make sure it is your best jacket and pants and apron!!! bring your business cards always and always speak well of your employers past and present!

pss or pps
i just re read this post, i sound like such a mom but remember, mother knows best!!
bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


Professor Pastry Artswww.collin.edu
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post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
I agree with you M brown. although I havent worn a suit to every interview just the ones that are most important to me. all the rest I still wear a pair of dress pants and a tie. Some interviews are just practice for the upcomming more important ones. I did have a chance to meet with the chef before the phone interview and he asked me some questions, and one just threw me, How do you influence change into a culture? I went into some B S I cant even remember now. but when i think about the question now Im not sure one person can influence change into a culture what do all of you think about that.
here is another question for all you pastry chefs out there that are in charge of there own shop . would you be willing to take a pastry cook position (2nd or third under the pastry chef)if that was all that was available and a cut in salary by half? and if how do you think this would affect your attitude aver time. thanks Danno
post #7 of 27
We once had a lady show up in the grayest white shirt I ever saw, that had black rings around the cuffs and collar, she reeked of sweat and she actually wanted to apply for a line cook postition. :eek: (line cook = day/night cook at our place) Not the kind of person we wanted touching the food. The health dept would have had a field day with us just by looking at her.

My MIL doesnt necessarily care about potential employees showing up in a suit but looks for a neat, clean people with clean fingernails. She's really picky about the fingernails. She gives a short tour of the kitchen and asks questions.
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


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post #8 of 27
First impression is very strong. This might seem slallow but I size a person up by what they are wearing. They must be comfotable in the clothes what ever they may be. I would rather speak with someone in business casual who dresses that way normally then some one who drags out the suit for an interview. I shake hands to see the firmness of his or her hands, the texture of their skin. I look at nails and how they are groomed( tells a lot). I look at hair cuts, sox matching pants, skirts blouses or suits pressed, etc. I especially look to see if they are comforable in what they are wearing while I tour them. If a person has dressed to try to impress they usually won't be comforable. Tugging at this and arranging that. This is so shallow I know, and I have walked a few to the door right after the tour.
I had an opportunity to meet a basketball owner the other day. In attendance were lawyers,CPA, SUITS> Everyone was dressed to the T,I wore slacks, shirt and a foodie tie. We spent five minutes talking about my tie. And BS'd for 30 or so about the bakery bus. He could buy all the bakeries in the US and have a bunch left over. I believe he could tell I was comfortable. sorry ramble

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
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post #9 of 27

Hey Panni

If Im going on an interview I usually wear a pant suit with flats. Sorry I cant wear heels and I would look extremely stupid teeter tottering about. Pantyhose also gives me a rash. (Sorry Niko ;) ) So that is another reason I wear a pant suit. Im comfortable that way. I have a few custom made brooks brothers suits with silk shirts left over from my office days. So my question for Panni is:

What are your views on ladies wearing pant suits instead of skirts or dresses and no heels? Should I wear something else?
Jodi


I don't know about you but I think I need a nap.
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Jodi


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post #10 of 27
My father use to tell me you can never be too polite. With the competition you have for each position you better make sure you stand out... for good reasons.

Once the interview is over it's a good idea to send a thank you letter. It also gives you an opportunity to point out how well suited you are for the job. Mention your strong points, how much you liked the company and why, etc.
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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post #11 of 27
SC,
I would probably pick up on the wobble. If you look comforable in your pantsuit than its ok. Personally I'm not really into what people are wearing, its how they wear it. Thats just me though. Our last hire came to interview on one of her breaks from school, she was in whites. She informed me a lot of students wear their whites over reg clothes but she was not embarassed to wear her whites out, in fact she was really excited to have saved enough money for her new Clogs. She is really trying hard and is doing really well after a couple of months. She invisions herself as one of the top in the industry and I will be happy and sad when she moves on.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
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post #12 of 27
Panini,
What can you tell about a person by this? The reason I ask is that the use of gloves in the kitchen and a weekly manicure can make a hard-working person seem like they don't even work in a kitchen. My hands used to look a lot worse until I discovered gloves and manicures!
post #13 of 27
Yeah but what about all the chefs out there who are really only comfortable in their black and whites and a pair of jeans? Isn't that like 95% of us?

I haven't worn pantyhose in about 20 years. If I have a dress on it's a sun dress with sandels and that's not a interview look. Pant suits seem just fine to this female....oh, no blaring jewlery.

Once upon a time I would have written similar posts about how important looks are on an interview. I just don't feel that way any more unless your talking about dirty or gross, that's different. Reasonable tastes, clothes that fit, hair that's well kept. The hardest working people I've ever met always were the least fashionable, guess that just what I've seen? (But I'm not including head chefs in this they're executives and that's another story.)

My little experiences interviewing people is, I like people who are uncomfortable at interviews. To me it means they haven't been on a hundred of them and aren't bs-ers. It's natural to be uncomfortable in that situation, if their not...I don't think they've stayed anywhere very long and I'm not sure I believe their pat and perfect answers. I like honest stumblers, or maybe I'm one and know that it means little about the person they are inside and how hard they work or care.
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #14 of 27
Momo,
When I say nails and grooming, I'm really looking for keptness. I think that most people who keep their nails and hair groomed will usually keep a groomed work station. Ragged uncleaned nails and 8 weeks since their last haircut is a pretty good indication of ones work. I guess what I'm saying is that if a person manages their time enough to groom themselves on a regular basis I think it shows in their work. This is just my experience. I have hired both. It has always prooved out that the sloppy person usually works that way.
Believe me I'm not looking for the rugged hands. Call me a woose, but I use gloves when working with colors, use lots of lotion and get my nails done every 2 weeks. IMO the customer feels the same as I do about grooming. I see lots of my customers look at my hands, I'm not sure why? maybe my mug is to hard to look at!
Debord, I'm right with ya, I gave up wearing pantyhose years ago!:D

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
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Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
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post #15 of 27
Annie: "And never, ever being negative, even if you left your last job because you were wounded by a disgruntled ex-worker! Put another way, the whole thing is phony and about sucking up."

Im curious how one should answer then when asked why they left.

Here is my example

The truth: They hired me with the agreement that I would only work a certain amount of hours, I was clear when I started that I couldn't regularly work for many more. Well I was working about 75% more than we agreed on the average. I was barely able to keep my head above water and my work was beginning to suffer. I asked for help. If someone could have assisted me just one or 2 days a week but they refused so I left.

So, could someone tell me what I should say in an interview when they ask me why I left my last job? 'cause I dont have a clue.
post #16 of 27
I was asked that question once and answered truthfully by stating that I worked overtime and was told that I would not be paid, so I quit without notice due to breach of contract. (I was working for a law firm) All the interviewer said was "At least you are honest. Welcome aboard." Seems she was also the owner. :rolleyes:

From what I know from being a former recruiter. Sometimes they check into your answer and sometimes they don't. I guess Im a little brazen but I don't think I have anything to hide. Plus, I never could lie with a straight face. :D Is there really a right or wrong way to answer that question? I don't think so.
Jodi


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Jodi


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post #17 of 27
From my experience I usually go for the truth(looking people straight in the eye), just choose your words carefully. Eeeyore, I see nothing wrong with your answer.

First impressions do count, so dress well. Since I work in a catering co. where there dress code is quite casual, I've seen cooks come in in t-shirts and jeans for interviews or their chef coats. For myself, I choose to go to interviews in dress slacks(I'm female) or skirt with a dressy shirt and maybe a coat(depending on how hot it is. Low heels since I'm more comfortable in them.
post #18 of 27
I'm in an uncomfortable position while I'm looking for a new job in pastry. (and I wear nice polished low heels, a comfortable skirt, and a dressy jacket/sweater to interviews - just to keep up! Formal, but not sloppy or over dressed? I don't usually ever wear pants, but pantsuits are fine in this neck of the woods.)
My last job was as HR director for a start-up biotech company.
It's hard to say I left a start-up because of the stress or long hours, when I'm looking for a job in a pastry kitchen!

Teh old company asked me to deny Family Medical Leave time off for drs appointments to a woman diagnosed with probably terminal cancer. Let alone the ethics, this is illegal, and is one of the decisons that HR can be held PERSONALLY liable for, i.e. if she sued, my family could loose the house, etc. So I tell the interviewer that, tell them what I did to handle it.

Right now I think my old employer is giving me a bad reference, even though I know I handled the situation with professionalism, grace, and adequate notice - while others just walked out the door! So I'm going to find out for sure, and then pay a lawyer to send a letter telling them to stop it!

Every culinary application asks for the phone # of my previous employer. Should I just have a sheet of references to attach to the application?

Thanks -
Annie
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Annie
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post #19 of 27
Thread Starter 
ann Im int the same position as you almost. Im not getting a bad rap from a former employer. with all the resumes i have sent or given out i have a letter with all reliable, strong references.

a friend and a former executive chef that i worked under has been out of work for a few years, mainly because he wont just work for anybody or just anywhere. but he thinks he is also getting a bad reference from someone. I suggested to a mutual friend of ours the he could have a reliable friend pose as a potential employer to check all his references to snuf out the bad apple or apples. good luck

Danno
post #20 of 27
annie,
I'm not so sure I would not tell a potential employer of what you just stated and give them a heads up to a possible bad reference.The worst thing that could happen is for the potential employer asking for specific details just why your separation occured. Its not very hard to figure out if they are hiding something with vague or generic answers.

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post #21 of 27
Interesting topic....I think most of use leave jobs for all the same reasons...your not leaving because you had a better offer or a step up, if that was so you wouldn't be sitting there.

Don't you think any potenial employer really wonders about the answer we just gave...how truthful it is? "I left because I was happy there, yeah right...."

Actually specificly there seems to always be a list of reasons why we most people leave jobs, right? Which 'excuses' are the least harmful and which should we never tell?

I left because of a personality difference?
I left because the differences between the job description and the jobs realities?
I left because of the drive?
I left because it was a negative atmophere?
I left because I found out someone in a less demanding position was getting paid far more then I?
I left because of cultural differences or felt the atmophere allowed sexist dicriminations?

Are any of these o.k. to say? What do you hide at all costs?

Do you like written letters of recomendation? Or are they red flags to check deeper? how about copies of your employee reviews?
"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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"Bakers are born, not made. We are exacting people who delight in submitting ourselves to rules and formulas if it means achieving repeatable perfection", Rose Levy Beranbaum
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post #22 of 27
Danno sometimes you are asked strange questions to see how well you think on the fly. Try not to start the answer with an umm or err or well. Form the answer in your head and speak confidently. These questions are part of psych evals and they judge not so much what you say but how you say it. Hope this helps
Just Ducky!!!
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Just Ducky!!!
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post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 
thanks snake. Ya know some of the questions were so off the wall and didnt really have much to do with my practical experience, skills, physical ability or dependibility. then after answering some of these questions they want you to explain a situation in which you were in. for example if you were to walk into a room full of people, what would you do to cheer them up? and tha questins could not be repharased or intrerpreted. I guess i was a little nervous to begin with and comming up with examples within a second or two. Im sure I had a few Uhs and a few well lets see.
If anybody has interviewed with the Ritz, or 4 seasons within the last 10 years or so im sure you had the same deal.
If it doesnt happen Im sure it will be just as good for them as it will be for me. Nothing in this world happens by mistake.
Danno
post #24 of 27
Definitely thank you to Snakelady!

I just interviewed at the Seaport Hotel in Boston, and was asked questions like: What were your parents dreams for you? what favors have you done for your firends in the past month? I think the questions were to deal with whatever an appropriate level of openess the hotel was going for, but blegh. I think I will be better ready for them next time.

Is this mostly a hotel thing? Is there some secret HR conference, book,or handshake for hotels that has them passing around peudo-psych evaluations?
Annie
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Annie
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post #25 of 27
Annie,
My grand parents dream for my Father was never go into food service.NOT. My parents dream for me was never to go into food service.NOT. My dream for my son is never to take my business. I can only hope.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
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post #26 of 27
Thread Starter 

panini

panini I want on an interview today, it was a small independent, but do good food, from what i have heard, i have only been in town for a month or so. I must have been really spoiled at my last job, as far as space and the quality of equipment goes. not sure how to deal with that reality? to get to some of the points that you have made in this thread, I made sure to trim my nails and get my hair cut and dress to my comfort level. no you must know that im old enough and have been around just long enough that these tasks would have been taken care of reguardless. so when i met the executive chef I was taken at first he seemed so young 25 at most. throughout the 20 minute conversation the chef made eye contact with me for about a total of about 25 seconds. I founf that suspicious, then i remembering someone saying the they check the fingernails during an interview. now I didnt ask him to hold out his hands but i was able to glance down and notice that they were pretty long longer than the ones my wife has. then i had to look again to see if there was as much dirt under them as there was on his hands.
thanks for the pointers. Im getting ready for the big one on thurs. it the job i want afterall.
Danno
post #27 of 27
danno,
good luck Thurs. Be composed, relaxed and confident.
A lot here will probably disagree but I have to be honest with you, as far as I'm concerned hiring anyone is a crap shoot at best. I'm not a believer in profiling and I have been dead wrong on first impressions. One tip, if you do come upon someone like your young chef who probably dosn't have a lot of hiring experience, ask him his interests and why he likes working there. Befriend him, most young ecec. chef don't have a lot of time for friends. Be a good listener. Then once your on board, go after his job:D Just kidding I think.

Never! Live To Work!:::::::Work To Live!::Life Is Too Short!!
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