From small mom-and-pop shops to large international hotel chains, the hospitality industry stretches far and wide. With that comes also a variety of personalities from all walks of life ready to serve, cook, pour, welcome and care for others. And yet this industry is singularly focused on creating a curated experience for guests to enjoy themselves and to keep them coming back. This focus can (and should) also be applied to the job application process, during interviews and trails, online and offline communication, onboarding and training, and well into ongoing interactions with colleagues and guests. 

Your interactions, personal and employer brands, will have lasting impressions; make them memorable in a positive way. In short, professionalism is always a good idea. Here are simple ways to maintain your professionalism whether you are hiring for a position or looking for a job. 

Be Prepared

  • Interviewee: Take the time to review your own resume as well as doing your research about the company. Coming ready with questions of your own will show your interest and that you are serious about the job. Dress the part, bring your tools and whatever you need to put your best foot forward. If you are going in for a trail and are unsure what to bring, ask in advance to clarify. It’s better to ask than to show up unprepared.

  • Interviewer: Check your schedule to make sure you don’t have conflicts and that you’ve had a chance to review the candidate’s resume. Have additional information regarding the role, responsibilities and compensation on hand. Keep a list of your evaluation criteria so that you are able to cover your bases during the interview without having to rely on memory alone. Being organized can save you time and make it easier to coordinate with other team members when needed.

Be Punctual

  • Interviewee: Arrive 15 minutes before your interview is scheduled. If you anticipate being late, let them know ahead of time. For video interviews, be sure you’re in a quiet place with no distractions. Have your earphones ready and join the meeting 5 minutes in advance to make sure you don’t have any technical difficulties. If you need to cancel, let them know as far in advance as possible. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when it comes to punctuality is "five minutes early is on time; on time is late; late is unacceptable" (source: Forbes).

  • Interviewer: Interview by example; being on time sets the expectation for candidates that punctuality is an important piece of your company culture. It also shows that you respect and value their time. If you need to cancel or reschedule, let them know as far in advance as possible.


Be Responsive

  • Interviewee: If asked to provide additional information (e.g., references, schedule preferences, etc.), follow up in a timely manner. When setting up interviews and trails, confirm quickly and include any questions you may have. Sending a ‘thank you’ email after your interview can also go a long way and help you stand out from the crowd.

  • Interviewer: Respond to all applicants. Create templates and empower your team to help for efficiency. Follow up to close the loop if you have said you will and/or if you have to change the time of an interview or cancel. Send details about next steps, if warranted. Even if you do not plan to move forward with an applicant, a simple email letting them know you have decided to move in a different direction is often appreciated.


Keep Communication Formal

  • Interviewee: Choose your words carefully. Avoid using slang and/or abbreviations in your interview and email correspondence. Let your personality shine through, while also keeping in mind that this communication is often the first interaction you will have with a potential employer.

  • Interviewer: When you are interviewing (in-person, online, or on the phone) or drafting an email, be intentional and direct with your words. Avoid using slang and/or abbreviations. When sharing details about job openings and answering questions, be as transparent as you are able to be. Setting expectations may decrease no-shows and be a time-saving strategy.