Conduct a quick Google search for “interview advice” and you’ll get hundreds of millions of hits (we know – we’ve done it!).

What food & beverage executive has time for that?!?

Don’t worry; you won’t need to clear your schedule to find the sound advice you need. We’ve done the leg work for you.

Today, Kinsa presents our best interview tips, specifically tailored to your executive food & beverage job search:

1. Prepare for an Online Interview

More and more, food & beverage organizations are using real-time technology to screen candidates and conduct initial interviews virtually. Use these tips to correctly set-up for and shine in your online interview:

  • Preparation is essential. Make sure you: download required software; test your webcam, microphone and lighting; choose an appropriate setting; and plan your wardrobe.
  • Change your computer settings. Adjust your screensaver and automatic hibernation settings. Close open programs, browser windows, instant messaging and scheduled scans so that your computer doesn’t lag.
  • Practice using the webcam. Unless you’re a broadcast journalist, you’re probably not used to looking directly into a camera. Eye contact is important, so practice via Skype with a friend to get used to looking into the lens and accommodating audio delays.

2. Conquer the Dreaded Panel Interview

Fielding questions from not one, but an entire team of interviewers is enough to put even the most stalwart candidate’s stomach in knots. Instead of letting anxiety consume you, develop a sound strategy for acing a food & beverage panel interview:

  • Do your homework. Make sure you understand the employer’s entire organization – not just your chosen specialty. If you know who will be interviewing you ahead of time, research those individuals so you understand their areas of expertise.
  • Accept questions one at a time. If an interviewer asks a follow-up question while you’re still answering the previous one, realize that this may be a stress test. Maintain your composure and incorporate the response to the follow-up question into your original answer. Once you’ve finished, ask both parties if you have addressed their concerns.
  • Expect at least one zinger. In a group setting, interviewers typically feel emboldened and may push the envelope more with their questions.  Develop an arsenal of three or four success stories you can rely on to answer a range of behavior-based questions.

3. Handle Difficult Phone Interview Questions with Ease

During a phone interview, you have just a few minutes to convince an interviewer that you’re worthy of a face-to-face meeting. Make sure you do everything possible to create a great first impression:

  • Keep your answers concise (less than two minutes). If a recruiter wants more information, he can ask for clarification.
  • Speak clearly and slowly. When you are nervous, you are more likely to speed up your rate of speech. Before you answer each question, take a moment to gather your thoughts. Slow your pace just a bit so you don’t trip over your words.
  • Convey your enthusiasm for the job. During the phone screening, state directly that you are looking forward to the opportunity to come in for an in-person interview.

 4. Adopt a “Less is More” Philosophy

In an interview situation, active listening is much more than just waiting for your turn to talk. It involves not only hearing the words that are said, but also fully comprehending what the interviewer is asking you to do. Use these tips to enhance your listening skills and perform better in your next interview:

  • Listen with your ears, eyes and brain. Communication experts say that only a fraction of the meaning of any conversation is in the actual words that are being said. To understand the interviewer’s true meaning, you must glean other nonverbal cues from his tone of voice, posture and facial expressions.
  • Confirm understanding. If the interviewer asks a complex or multi-part question, paraphrase what he’s asked to confirm your understanding before beginning your response. This will help ensure your response is both complete and accurate.
  • Answer the question that you’re asked. Pay attention to the nuances of the entire question, so that you accurately answer what’s asked. Avoid rambling answers that stray too far from the question posed. If the interviewer wants to know more about something, he will ask you to elaborate.

Ready to take the next step in your food & beverage career? Contact Kinsa’s experienced, specialized recruiters.

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