It’s quite common for many caterers, restauranteurs and hoteliers to use phone interviews as a way of initially screening chefs. In most respects a chef job interview over the phone should be treated by all parties, but especially by the chef, the same way they would a standard chef job interview. Therefore in most ways the same best practice and interview tips apply. A term often used for phone interviews is a “phone job screen.” It’s difficult to know from where this term first emanated but it’s in such common usage, at least in recruitment, that it’s worth clarifying terms early on. “Phone screen” sounds like an entirely different concept to a “phone interview” but it isn’t. Don’t make the mistake of taking this term to refer to something either less or more formal than a job interview. Everything counts.
Before the Phone Job Interview
In a tight chef jobs market it’s all too easy for employers to dismiss the idea of hiring a chef interviewee on the basis of haphazard or poor performance in a “phone job screen.” That’s why you need to make sure you take every reasonable step to make sure you’re in a position to perform to the best of your ability. To help you we’ll outline some key considerations for you to factor in to your interview preparations. These points are specific to phone interviews so be sure to see our general interview tips section because almost everything there applies equally to phone interviews. Our advice here is additional to everything you’ve read there, not a substitute.
Who Phones Whom and When?
Make sure this is clear ahead of time. If you’re dealing with an agent they should establish this for you in advance. If they don’t then there’s greater scope for a misunderstanding. If they don’t raise this issue with you, then you need to make sure you raise it with them. Likewise both parties need to be clear about time. The appointment will be either at a predefined and precise time e.g. 4pm, or within a “time window” e.g. 2pm to 3pm. Either way be punctual. A time window doesn’t mean that you need to be available for part of the window, it means you need to be available within the specified times.
Ensure Phone Quality
There’s an element of the the blatantly obvious about this one but we wouldn’t mention it if, in practice, poor call quality isn’t often a determining quality in how an interview goes. If you’re going to use your mobile phone make sure it’s performing well. Decide in advance where you’ll be for the interview and choose a spot with flawless reception and no ambient noise.
Have Your CV to Hand
Before the appointed time make sure you have a copy of your Chef CV with you by the phone. Attempting to do this from memory is a recipe for a poor interview. Chances are that the interviewer will have a copy in front of them, by neglecting to have one of your own you’ll lose your bearings easily and in the process you’ll lose much of your ability to exert any control over the situation.
Have your Questions and Narrative Ready
Assuming you’ve read our advice in the main interview tips section you’ll know the importance of good research. If you’ve done this then sort yourself a “crib sheet” with all the questions you have for the interviewer. This isn’t, in most situations, the best moment to press about money or conditions, so save those questions for later. It is though a very good time to have some good questions about the business ready. Remember you’re in this to get a job offer but it’s not a given that you’ll want to work in every business you interview for, so take the opportunity to discover if this place could be a good career fit for you. If the entire interview is about you and your credentials then that signals low value to a potential employer. Make sure you use the opportunity to communicate that the quality of the business matters as much to you as your qualities as a chef matter to your potential employer.
Dress for Success
Some interview advice seems all too obvious even though experience has taught us that it’s anything but. Then again, some interview advice seems, on the face of it, simply absurd. This might seem it belongs to the latter category because on a phone interview you can’t see anyone. The fact is that on a phone interview your appearance is immaterial to the interviewer. It’s not though immaterial to you. Whether or not we’re clean, groomed and well dressed effects our mood and our mood determines the quality of our experience in any given moment. You’re going to be in a job interview and as “given moments’ go that’s an important one, so look the part to feel the part.
Yup, your posture counts. If you’re using a hands free or a mobile phone then you’re free to do some pacing while in the interview. This improves alertness. If you’re going to be sitting down at any point then avoid low easy chairs. Where possible sit at a desk or upright at a table. Physiology effects psychology which effects how well you’ll come across over the phone.
Chef Job Search, CV Preparation & Interview Techniques Program
For those of you determined to leave nothing to chance career wise we can arrange a one on one session with a career advice professional. While Job search and career coaching programs are often offered by major firms as part of a redundancy package access to this type of expertise is often hard to find for the rest of us, especially chefs. That’s not to say it isn’t equally useful, it is, moreover it can be extremely confidence building. If you’d like to discover more then please head on over to the appropriate section.
To learn more about TOPCHEFS and to obtain full and up-todate information on the wide choice of jobs we have on offer call us on (01) 633 4053. In the business of managing your career, it’s the only number you’ll ever need.