Job interview tips for Chefs is something that is regularly asked by candidates coming to Three Q. Because there is generally a skills test along with the formal interview that candidates have to go through, it can be daunting to Chefs. However, Three Q have been helping to match job-seeking Chefs with Employers for years so we know a thing or two about job interviews. Any job interview can be a nervous time for candidates so we’ve put together our list of top tips in preparing for that Chefing job interview in confidence.
Before the interview
Preparation is key for a great interview. If you know that you’ve got everything ready to go before you have to go to the interview itself you will feel much more confident and it will come across to the interviewer.
- Visit the company website and social media pages to get a feel for the business and think of some questions. This will also help you for when the interviewer asks what you can bring to the business as a chef. Maybe you’ve noticed that you could do a better job at the presentation of the dish or even maybe they don’t have a great social media account that you could offer to help with.
- Plan your route to the interview. It may seem like a simple task to get to the location of the interview but don’t forget that you may get stuck in traffic in a certain area, or if you’re walking to the interview it may start to rain. Check bus times, cycle routes, book train tickets in advance, you don’t want to be stressed for the journey or turn up late to your interview.
- Prepare your clothes the night before. Chefs should look neat and tidy so check and double check that your clothes are clean and neatly iorned.
- Look at the existing menus. This is an important one. Have a look at the current menu belonging to the restaurant. Look at what you like and don’t like about it, think about new dishes that you would add if you worked there.
- Have the interviewers phone number saved. In such a digital era we tend not to save numbers that we can find on the internet. However have a number saved incase you get lost on the way or something happens which means you’ll be late or unable to make it to the interview. It’s always when we need to make an important call that you run out of data or can’t get internet signal.
- Aim to be there 10 minutes early. This will ensure that even if you are running a few minutes late or get lost, you should still make it on time.
During the interview:
- When the interviewer enters the room stand up and shake their hand. It may seem trivial but shaking someone is a great way to show that you are polite and professional.
- Have your mobile off and put away. Turn off your phone and place it in your handbag or pocket. You don’t want to distract yourself or the interview with a flashing or vibrating phone while you’re trying to have a conversation.
- Listen to everything the interviewer says and never interrupt them. Be polite and don’t interupt the interviewer. Remember to listen closely. Sometimes when we are nervous we might hear something slightly different to what the interviewer asks and you don’t want to go off on a tangent about something you weren’t asked about.
- Always say please and thank you if you are offered something like a class of water. It’s polite!
- If you are given a tour of the kitchen, walk alongside the interviewer, not on front and not behind. This will show them that you think of yourself as equal, not above or below them. It will also show them that you are listening to them while they talk.
- Don’t be too informal. Keep slang and abbreviations for more casual conversation- you’re not a CDP you’re a chef de partie, unless they use the former.
You don’t get away with not having to answer questions about your career in a chef interview so we suggest you think about the following questions and how you would answer them for the formal part of the interview.
- Why do you want the job?
- What has been your biggest achievement in cheffing?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How do you manage time during busy periods?
- What do you think you could add to our kitchen?
Some chef interviews require the potential candidate to showcase some of their skills in a “working interview”. They are usually in one of the following formats.
Ready Steady Cook: Sometimes an interviewer will give you some ingredients and ask you to cook something within a certain amount of time. Don’t panic! This is just a test of your creativity and skills and to see how well you can work under pressure with limited resources.
Trial: Some businesses will ask you to work a shift (or maybe half a one). Ask the staff questions if you are unsure of something and make sure that you become part of the team. The interviewer will often ask the other staff how you got on. Look interested and ask for jobs or to help out if you run out of things to do.
Menu: Some businesses will ask you to prepare a menu prior to the interview and cook it there. Ensure that the dishes on your menu fit into the theme of the restaurant- don’t cook enchiladas if you are interviewing for an Italian restaurant.
Trade test: This one is favoured by a lot of places. You might get asked to cook a classic or basic dish with your own twist. The purpose of this is test out your knowledge of how different foods work together and how they can be amended for modern tastes.
After the interview:
When you leave make sure you thank the people who have interviewed for their time and for asking to meet with you. They are giving you an opportunity to work so you should be polite and mannerly.
Follow these tips, and you’re sure to have a great interview. Remember to do lots of preparation before your interview and stay calm and mannerly towards the interviewer at all times. If you are currently looking for a job as a chef keep an eye on our listings that we are constantly updating with new job opportunities in the industry. If you are an employer and are wishing to advertise your job in our listings, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +353 1878 3335.