Chef: How to prepare for an interview

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Chefs have a special mix of skill, personality, experience, motivation, passion, leadership and technique that rarely identifies itself clearly on a CV.

Which is why preparing for your upcoming interview is so important.

Recruiters aren’t there to test you, they’re there to help make the best hiring decision for the company and these steps could help you on the road to hospitality success.

1. Beware of your title

Some chefs love using titles, others not so much, but you don’t want to get it wrong.

Recruiters are more interested in the quality of the place you are working at, how long you have worked there, what your role is and how big your team is.

However, if you’re struggling to work out which title you should have, take a look at the list below. These are a list of traditional kitchen titles:

  • Culinary Director: Executive Chef with F&B responsibilities
  • Executive Chef: Responsible for a large operation with multiple restaurants and/or banqueting
  • Executive Sous Chef: 2nd to the Executive Chef
  • Head Chef/Chef de cuisine/Restaurant Executive Chef: In charge of one restaurants kitchen
  • Sous Chef: Responsible for a shift
  • Chef de Partie: In charge of a section
  • Demi Chef de Partie: Works in a section
  • Commis Chef: Entry level

2. Pictures are worth 1000 words

As an on trend Chef, you should be taking photos of your dishes and posting them to Instagram, Facebook etc. or if you can’t do it, someone in your kitchen should be.

When being interviewed, recruiters love to ask for a range of images of your favourite dishes from the last few years. This gives them an idea of your presentation skills and creativity.

Don’t use the excuse ‘oh I don’t have any’ or ‘my laptop blew up’ as this will send alarm bells ringing. Also, never send any photos that aren’t yours! With a few image searches, a recruiter can easily catch you out, and you don’t want that.

3. Know your motivation style

Most good chefs are well trained and understand kitchen management but recruiters want to know how you motivate your teams.

Before going into interview, it’s important to think about which type of management style you have.

Recruiters will look out for those Chefs who like to identify and develop talent on their team and can give examples of people they have helped throughout their career.

If you plan on going into interview claiming to use phrases such as ‘it’s my way or the highway’, you should think again. These are the type of people recruiters want to avoid.

4. Align your goals with the recruiter

The last thing you want to happen as a newly hired chef is to leave due to disappointment in the role after a few months.

During interview, recruiters commonly tell you the 3 most important things they expect from you during interview. But it’s important to remember to tell them the 3 most important things for the role for you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be work related, it could be things like the need to have a Sunday off to spend with family every once in a while.

If you can both agree on the 3 most important things both of you need from each other, you can greatly improve your chances of being successful.

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