By Gabriel Ibasco
We all know that F&B jobs are no easy feat – long hours and busy weekends are all part of the hustle and bustle.
Plus, it’s difficult to know what to expect when you’re applying for a job. What kind of questions will they ask me? How can I set myself apart from other interviewees?
I spoke to Karen Koh today, an HR expert at Ace Talent Consulting, to get some advice for standing out at interviews.
Tip #1: Do Your Research on the F&B Establishment
Of course, a big no-no is walking into that room with zero knowledge on the company you’re applying to. “Find out about the establishment – make sure you know what they’re selling,” Karen shares.
You don’t want to be that person who walks into McDonald’s asking about chicken rice.
Above all, you should read up on the company’s values and work culture and think about how they fit with your past experiences, whether they include working as a sous chef or helping out at the family hawker.
“It’s always good to have past experience in F&B service, so make sure you’re ready to talk about it during your interview,” Karen recommends.
Lia Liaros from Everyday Interview Tips also stresses the importance of being prepared, especially when you’re applying to work in a restaurant. Here are some of the tips she suggested:
- Visit the restaurant yourself
- Read online reviews of the restaurant and its menu
- Ask friends who have eaten there about their opinions
- Think carefully about how your experience can contribute to the restaurant
Tip #2: Be Willing To Take On The Potentially Long and Odd Hours
“If you don’t like working on Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays, then an F&B role probably isn’t for you,” Karen says.
Notice how everyone else gets to go out and have fun on weekends? Well, you can thank all the F&B personnel for that.
“The F&B sector is one where we serve the market during peak periods,” Karen shares. “Unless you’re applying for part-time, make sure you tell your interviewer that you’re willing to be flexible with your hours.”
Alison Doyle supports this tip in an article on The Balance, encouraging you to assure employers that you are more than willing to put in extra hours if needed.
This way, your employer is sure that you are willing to go the extra mile and it’s a huge tick for them when they’re considering whether you are the right person for the job.
Tip #3: Have The Technical Skills for the Job
You can talk all you want, but it’s the skills that you’ll have to show for. I asked Karen about some of the worst experiences she’s had working as an HR recruiter for F&B companies.
One problem she highlights is the lack of technical skills, especially for more specialised roles like baking and bartending.
“Many applicants are ready to say that they want [an F&B] job. But when you start asking about specific details, like how to make coffee, they start showing signs that they just don’t know how to do the job,” Karen says.
At the end of the day, she argues that these are the hard skills that really help employers select between applicants who are just “trying out F&B” and those who are really passionate about the job.
To give you a sneak peek into what tough questions might come your way, Alison from The Balance singled out 2 questions commonly asked in chef interviews:
- “How do you test the quality of your ingredients?”
- “Tell me about pairing wine and food.”
She emphasises how important it is to have the technical knowledge during F&B interviews so you should start preparing to answer these questions confidently.
If you’re panicking about your lack of expertise, don’t worry! I found a great online resource for you to help you brush up on the necessary skills.
Tip #4: Ask The Right Questions At The Right Time
Is it wrong to ask about salary during the interview?
Karen actually advises otherwise: “If you’re applying for part-time or junior-level positions, it’s okay to ask about benefits and remuneration in your interview.”
However, for full-time positions that often require multiple stages of interviews, asking “what’s in it for me?” too early can risk losing you the position.
“Normally, as a recruiter, we advise candidates not to ask during the first interview,” Karen says.
Amber Rolfe from Reed shares the same advice if you’re asking about remuneration: “…bringing up salary might be a better fit if there is a second interview as part of the hiring process”.
So to sum it up: ask about salary if you’re applying for part-time work, but hold off the question if it’s for a full-time role.
Related Content You Might Find Useful:
Part-Time F&B Interview: 6 Important Questions People Regret Not Asking
Tip #5: Most Importantly, Be Passionate about the F&B Industry!
Ultimately, it’s your passion that counts.
The most common question asked in any F&B interview is: “Why do you want to go into F&B?”
I know it’s tempting to come up with a complicated answer but, keep it real and simple.
“Companies like employees who give candid answers. Just tell them that you love food–that’s one of the best answers you can give,” Karen suggests.
Interviewers appreciate people who would enjoy the role they’re offering, so you should show them it’s something you want to do whether you get paid for it or not.
From Karen’s experience, I learned it’s actually rare nowadays to find applicants in this sector who are so willing to share their passion for the job. You will definitely stand out from the crowd if you show your enthusiasm!
Summary of How to Prepare for an F&B Job Interview:
We all know that F&B jobs can be highly intensive, so it’s difficult to know what to expect when it comes down to that job interview. I prepared a handy guide for you to that summarises the tips I shared above. Hit the button below to download it for free!
These general guidelines will steer you in the right direction. With enough preparation, you can forget about your nerves as you stroll into that interview room.
So good luck to you and I hope you’ll land your F&B job with the tips I shared above!
If you haven’t already applied for your F&B job, hit the button below to browse for jobs on Carousell!
Share this article with your family or friends that are also applying for jobs in the F&B industry to help them out now! Let me know in the comments section below if you need me to cover any topics around jobs in the future!
Related Content You Might Find Useful:
Part-Time Retail Interview: 7 Important Questions People Regret Not Asking
Part-Time Events Interview: 7 Important Questions People Regret Not Asking
Recap on the 5 tips we’ve learnt:
- Research on the establishment’s menu, reviews, values and work culture beforehand to see how you can use your experience to make a difference.
- Unless you’re applying for part-time work, be eager to take on long and flexible working hours.
- Especially for high-skill jobs like baking or bartending, be prepared to answer any technical questions.
- It’s OK to ask questions about salary and benefits, but only after you’ve made your enthusiasm for the job known.
- Make your passion for the job obvious and candid!