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How to Succeed in Hotel Management Job Interviews

How to Succeed in Hotel Management Job Interviews

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How to Succeed in Hotel Management Job Interviews

3/5 (8 ratings)
531 pages
5 hours
Jul 1, 2016


A Ready Resource for Job Aspirants

This book has been written considering the needs of students preparing for interviews both for industrial training and final placements. The book gives an overview of all the four major departments, namely, the front office, housekeeping, food production, and food and beverage service. The introduction dealing with general knowledge and personality development has been incorporated considering its importance for students.

• A complete guide for campus interview which includes group discussion, personal interview and soft skills
• Covers all the four major departments – Food Production, Food and Beverage Service, Front Office, and Housekeeping
• Subject-wise brief explanation of each topic followed by questions and answers
• Includes subjective as well as objective questions for campus interviews and examinations

PARTHO PRATIM SEAL is presently the Principal at National Institute of Management Science and Research Foundation – Institute of Hotel Management, Kolkata. He was earlier Assistant Professor, Durgapur Society of Management Science, Durgapur and Lecturer at Institute for International Management and Technology, Bengal.
Professor Seal has experience in Food Production department in various restaurants in New Delhi and in a multi speciality club at Kolkata. Chef and Chef Trainer by profession, his subjects of interest include Front Office, Food and Beverage Control and Hotel Information System. A post-graduate in Hotel Management and also Management, alumnus of IHM, Chennai, he has also authored a book – Computers in Hotels – Concepts and Application.
Jul 1, 2016

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How to Succeed in Hotel Management Job Interviews - Seal


An aspirant learner of hospitality chooses a career in hotel management hoping for a bright future in the field of hospitality. The hospitality industry has a dearth of quality manpower and is always in search of people. The various hotel management colleges, institutes, vocational institutions and even some universities, both in the government and private sector, offer hospitality courses at the intermediate, undergraduate, and post graduate level. Students are usually selected from these institutions through various recruitment programs held both on and off campus.

Students often have a problem when they have to prepare for campus interviews, as the latter involves a meticulous knowledge of their field of interest with both soft and hard skills. Individuals may be skilled but have problems in expressing themselves. Such students would be ignored in the interview process so it is necessary for all aspirants to have proficiency in language and the knowhow of expressing it.

Most of the books are prepared considering the various Indian syllabi and not for campus interviews, which require a brief but comprehensive knowledge about all the core subjects of hospitality as well as the basics of making it through an interview.

Utmost care has been taken to incorporate new trends and topics in the industry. Since the book incorporates a lot about hospitality some points may not have been considered as it is not a text book but a supplementary book for hospitality students facing interviews.

The book gives an overview of all the four major departments, namely, the front office, housekeeping, food production, and food and beverage service. The book has five sections, four for the core subjects and a section for overall personality development.

The core subject sections have been divided into chapters. The chapter begins with a brief introduction about the topic discussed and is followed by questions and answers. The questions and answers are broadly based on those asked in campus interviews, but could also be a guide for students preparing for their respective examinations as that perspective has also been considered while preparing the text. Students are usually nervous and tense just before an interview. Considering this, general questions and answers have been added to familiarise students with the pattern of questions asked. A simple but very effective exercise is also included to relax a candidate just before appearing for the interview.



Every individual has a particular body language which gives insights into their personality. Body language comprises gestures an individual expresses without even realizing it. An individual’s body language could be through their facial expression, eye contact, or any hand or body movement while communicating with others. Eyes play a major role in body language since they send important signals about an individual’s feelings to others. Proper eye contact indicates confidence during an interview and trust among peer groups and colleagues. Body language is an important soft skill which a person should be conscious about to be successful in his/her career. A leader should have strong body language which will complement his/her authoritative nature and reflect confidence.

When an interviewee enters the room the panel of interviewers or single interviewer observes the individual’s mannerisms and personality indicated by his/her body language. Since body language leads to the first impression of the prospective candidate a positive expression plays a major role in selection of the candidate.

Both positive as well as negative emotions of an individual are shown by body language. Some emotions may be constructive for a particular job, but not for all jobs. Some common emotions are listed below.


Slight aggression with a proper balance is suitable for the hospitality industry. This should not however be shown with a raised voice or aggressive body gestures, but with calmness and sincerity.


Nervousness is common for individuals facing an interview, but it also reflects lack of confidence. Nervousness is usually depicted by an unsteady voice or stammering, not making eye contact with the interviewer and maintaining a low profile.


This is a very important body language which creates an interest in the speaker/interviewer. The signs of attentive body language are steady eye contact with the speaker, inclination of the head, not interrupting when someone is speaking but waiting till the speaker has made his point.


Hospitality personnel should be relaxed and unfazed by any complex situation, and should not react to it. A relaxed individual will keep his head straight, chest upright, eyes calm and have a gentle smile.


A defensive individual will often have his arms folded, wandering eyes, and crossed legs. An individual is defensive of private or public criticism.

An individual will usually display different body language when facing a personal interview, in a group discussion or while having a video–call conference. The desired body language of an individual in different situations is given below.


A courteous attitude on entering the room, and a greeting to the interview panel.

Sitting down only when the interviewer gestures to do so.

Sitting upright with the back resting against the chair.

Eye contact with the interviewer asking the question/s.

Full concentration while listening to the question and replying with eye contact.

Group Discussion

Eye contact with all the group members.

Keen interest in all the comments made by each person in the group.

An authoritative voice and interesting content to control the group.

Video Conferencing

In the present scenario, video conferencing is emerging as the best mode of communication, as neither the interviewer nor the interviewee has to move to a different location. With the Skype and the Internet, video conferencing is becoming the most preferred way of conducting an interview. The points to be considered are as follows:

Eye contact with the camera at all times.

Proper voice modulation to add emphasis, but not many hand gestures.

Thus it is seen that body language plays an important role in understanding an individual during an interview. Many expressions may not actually convey an individual’s state of mind but may give a negative impression of the candidate.

Individuals, with the help of a simple video camcorder, can record their own body language and improve upon it gradually. Body language can also be observed by speaking in front of the mirror looking at various hand gestures and facial expressions. If an individual is conscious about the gestures made to the people around and feels that people are watching and interpreting them, then he will try to always have positive gestures.


A résumé is a short, point-form document that is given to employers to tell them about your work experience, education and skills. The résumé plays a vital role for an individual to be selected for a particular job. Every résumé is a one-of-a-kind marketing communication. It should be appropriate to your situation and do exactly what you want it to do. Very few résumés follow the principles that rouse the interest of prospective employers. A little extra effort can create a résumé that could make you stand out as a superior candidate for a job you are seeking. So, if you have tough competition, a well written résumé could lead you to be selected for an interview, over other candidates, with the same qualifications as you.

Research shows that only one interview is granted for every two hundred résumés received by the average employer. The résumé will be quickly scanned, rather than read. It means that the decision to interview a candidate is usually based on an overall first impression of the résumé, a quick screening that impresses the reader and convinces him of the candidate’s qualifications. As a result, the top half of the first page of your résumé will either cause the prospective employer to call you for the interview or reject you.

To write an effective résumé, you have to learn how to write powerfully but absolutely truthfully. It is the first impression you present to the recruiter. To create a favourable impression the résumé has to have your key attributes, and clearly mention the leadership qualities or technical skills which would give you an edge over competitors.

The résumé should focus on the employer’s needs, and the qualities that make a good candidate an exceptional one. If the résumé does not address the employer’s needs, he will not respond to the résumé. The résumé should convey to the prospective employer that you are a truly exceptional candidate.

The résumé of an individual applying for a position in the hospitality industry should list both hard skills (technical knowledge or culinary art, carving, flambéing or juggling) and soft skills (communication skills, handling guest complaints). Other than the soft skills and hard skills mentioned, an individual may also have leadership skills (conducting events or functions in college), team work (participation in team sports or events).

While writing a résumé the points to be considered are as follows:

Name with personal details

Career objectives


Educational qualifications

Industrial exposure (if any)




Name with Personal Details

The name should be clear and easy to read. It must include the full address, contact phone numbers, and an e-mail address that preferably incorporates one’s first and last name. The points to be avoided here are age, height, weight and a photograph.

Career Objectives in a Résumé

A career objective is briefly stated at the beginning of the résumé. The career objective should be realistic and achievable. It should mention the industry (hospitality), purpose and should be related with the organisation. The objective should immediately capture the interest of the employer and make him feel that the candidate is the best one for the job. The objective should be specific and to the point. It should have a specific title and list the qualities, abilities and achievements to show that the candidate is best suited for the specific job.

Body of the Résumé

The résumé should be clear and specific indicating an individual’s personality. It should be written in chronological order giving a detailed description of the job/s previously held by the individual or acquired skills of the individuals.


Education should start with the most recent, and work backwards from there. It may include the name of the school, the city or town where school/college was attended and the year when completed.

A list of certificates or diplomas received, including those for mini-courses like computer or software courses, first aid, bartending or any other training that might be useful in the job could also be included.

Skills and Experience

The résumé should highlight where you have worked previously, what you have learned, and how the skills and experience apply to the job. Emphasis should be laid on the abilities, skills, and experience that relate to the job, this could be paid or unpaid work, volunteer experience, and even hobbies. While listing work experience, include the location (city) and the dates you worked (month, year) for each job. Use action words to describe what you did in the positions you held.

Other Relevant Information

This may include job goals, the languages you speak, or any relevant achievements or awards. It may also include interests or activities which say positive things about you. The résumé should be concise, with the most important information at the beginning.


Depending on your work experience, the job applied for and personal preference, you may want to use a particular type of résumé. Below are three types of résumés to choose from.

Functional Résumé

A functional résumé focuses on marketing one’s positive skills to potential employers. Instead of focusing on previous work experience, a skills-focused résumé highlights the transferable skills gained from previous jobs, activities, experiences, or volunteer work. This style is most commonly used when there is a large gap in one’s employment history or if one has never worked before.

Chronological Résumé

A chronological résumé focuses on experience. Focus on work history is one of the more popular ways to structure a résumé. It shows employers all the work experience, focusing on positions held in the past, with the responsibilities and accomplishments. The goal is to give a comprehensive work history, organized by each job held.

Hybrid Résumé

A hybrid résumé is a combination of the above two. A hybrid résumé is also known as a combination résumé. It combines the elements of a functional and chronological résumé to create a résumé that focuses heavily on skills, but also includes dates, titles of previous jobs, along with essential information about the position.

This is a good résumé to use when you want to prioritize your skills and also demonstrate how your career has evolved.

Some important tips on writing a résumé are given below:

Adapt your résumé: Include information on your résumé associated with the job being applied for.

Make into part: If there is a lot of information, break it into separate sections with specific headings.

Use action words: Focus on your accomplishments.

Proofread: Never rely on spell check. Read it twice or thrice to confirm the matter.

Presentable: Make sure your résumé looks clean and organized. Use white, letter-sized paper (8.5 x 11 inch) and a font which is easy to read, like Times New Roman or Arial.

Be concise and specific: Try to keep the résumé as short as possible—ideally one page, or two pages at the maximum.

Be honest: Lying on a résumé should be strictly avoided. Many times people who lie on their applications end up losing their jobs when employers find out the truth.

Be professional: Remember, this is a business document, so do not include unnecessary adornments like flashy paper or a picture of yourself.

Give a covering letter: All résumés should have a covering letter which could also briefly explain one’s various achievements and could play an important role in the selection process.

A sample résumé of an individual applying for his first job is given below. The strengths have been highlighted by referring to assignments handled in college.

Curriculum Vitae

Praveen Tiwari

114 D, Beach Road




To excel in the Food and Beverage Service of an organization of repute, through sincerity, hard work, enthusiasm and dedication.


Pursued a 3 years Bachelor Degree in Hotel Management from IHM XYZ 2010–2013.

Senior School Certificate Examination, CBSE from SM Vidyalay in 2010 with 75% aggregate

Secondary School Education, CBSE from SM Vidyalay in 2008 with 73% aggregate


Completed 20 weeks Industrial Exposure Training from 12.10.11 to 28.02.12 in all operational departments, from the ABCD Hotel & Convention Centre.

Two months of vocational training at the Exotica Beach Resort.


Best trainee award for the month of January 2012 from the ABCD Hotel & Convention Centre.

Successfully participated in the state level bar tending competition (2010).

Runner up at intra college cocktail competition (2011).

Conducted ‘Theme Night’ on the college premises.


Operating System: Windows

MS-Office: Word, Excel, PowerPoint


English, Hindi and Bengali


Travelling, listening to music




I do hereby confirm that the information furnished above is true to the best of my knowledge.

Date :

Place: India


Specimen Signature

A résumé should have a covering letter accompanying it. The covering letter should be written in a formal manner with professional outlook and content. It should briefly explain the various accomplishments during one’s education and work and also highlight any prior experience.

A covering letter should be made prudently with the name, designation and address of the recipient and sender. An individual applicant should emphasise on qualities like diligence, willingness to adapt, which would create a positive interest in the employer. At times there may be many applications from candidates with similar qualifications for an attractive job. In this case an impressive covering letter could give an edge to the applicant. A covering letter should not be more than a single page. A sample of the matter that should be included in a covering letter is given below.

Your Address


Pin code





Pin code

Respected Sir/Madam,

In the first paragraph write about the position you are applying for and from where you have learnt about the job vacancy.

In the second paragraph specifically highlight the areas which make you a suitable candidate for the job by emphasizing on accomplishments which are mentioned in the curriculum vitae.

You can also share your experience/education/training which fit the requirements of the job and point out your motivation regarding that particular area in the industry and eagerness to succeed if given the opportunity.

Yours sincerely



Mitra, B.K., Personality Development and Soft Skills, First Edition, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 2011

Rai, U. and Rai, S.M., Business Communication, Ninth Edition, Himalaya Publishing House, Mumbai, 2010


The term soft skills is used to describe an individual’s non-technical skills and abilities. The important soft skills that one must possess in the hospitality industry are the ability to listen patiently to customers’ needs and be calm at the same time and have an analytical mind to determine what needs to be done at that very moment. Attributes such as being able to solve problems, working well in a team environment, and motivating others are the kind of characteristics that are usually grouped into this category.

Earlier, to be considered for a post in the hospitality industry one needed only to have the required technical skills which included the right academic qualifications and a hospitality degree. In the unique context of the hospitality industry, especially in front-line or front-of-the-house roles, soft skills are often the foundation of excellent customer service. Although most jobs in the hospitality industry involve some level of technical skill, many hiring managers in the field see the technical aspect of the job as being of secondary importance.

Technical skills can be taught, and although soft skills can often be improved, there is really no substitute for a candidate who has a natural flair for things like exemplary customer care, a team-oriented outlook, and effective communication skills. Though soft skills are an important ingredient of success in every aspect of hospitality, your skills will be on test depending on the area, e.g., in the front office the manner in which you greet a guest as soon as he/she arrives, how you help him/her with the initial formalities - all comprise the basic tenets of soft skills which have to be mastered. Other areas include how you shake hands, and a positive body language, both of which go a long way in reinforcing the fact that you are giving your guest undivided attention. In the food and beverage service soft skills include how you welcome the guests and make them feel comfortable. If the guests have visited the restaurant previously, remembering their names or likes and dislikes is crucial.

Even food production requires skills, how you garnish the salad, how you make the food look and smell better also come under the purview of soft skills.

Soft skills enhance a candidate’s ability to provide excellent customer service, display characteristics such as leadership, teamwork, conflict management, problem solving, creativity and communication skills, which are always going to play a major role in the hiring process.



A group consists of a number of processes or persons gathered or acting together. A Group Discussion (GD) is used to refer to an ‘oral communication process’ in which a small number of professionals meet to discuss a particular problem, topic, issue or situation among themselves as well as to exchange information, to analyse the situation and to attempt to arrive at a consensus on the said topic.

A group discussion followed by an interview is the usual procedure for campus interviews in hotel management for Management Trainee (MT) programs and other training programs across the country. A group discussion is a regular feature for recruitment as the industry is in the process of recruiting manpower on a large scale.


A debate is a formal planned argument on a particular problem in which two sides of the problem are carefully looked at with reasons and evidence. A debate usually follows a formal procedure and involves a decision by judges.

A discussion is a planned oral activity presented in public. It is focussed on one topic which is examined in depth under the direction of a discussion leader. The main purpose is to consider a problem, evaluate a proposed solution and arrive at the best possible solution. GDs train the student to function efficiently at their workplace. They help in effective presentation of one’s own ideas, ability to persuade and prudence to see reason, and help to develop:

Quick grasping power

Matured reaction to views expressed by others

Positive approach to issues and problems

Leadership qualities

Power of exposition

Analytical ability

Communication skills

Group behaviour


It helps the interviewer to know how the candidates communicate their ideas and discuss them effectively.

An individual might have good communication skills on a one-to-one basis, but might not be able to convey the same while they are in a group.

Some individuals may only wish to convey their own thoughts to the group and not listen to others. The latter is very important for managers and management graduates.

There are a number of points that are to be considered in a group discussion as given below.

Defining the Problem

During a group discussion, the problem to be discussed or resolved must be very clear. The problem must be as specific as possible, and a biased view of the issue must be avoided.

Analysing the Issue

After the issue has been defined the group first analyses the severity of the problem, then the scope and limitation of the problem, and finally the consequences and historical background if any.

Obtaining Information

A thorough understanding of the problem is essential to gather the information.


The purpose of the GD is to see how best one can contribute effectively to the group and align individual goals with the group’s goals.

Avoiding Interpersonal Conflicts

Participation in a GD means dealing with conflicts. In a group activity there are bound to be conflicting points of view. One should maintain proper etiquette and not get personal. It is fine to oppose points raised by other members but one should not get personal. Sometimes conflicts are desirable for the success of a group activity.

Keeping the Discussion on Track

Illogical arguments lead to gaps in reasoning in a GD. The following points are useful to keep the discussion on track:

Focus on the main objective of the GD

Adhere to the time-schedule

Summarize and clarify the points already presented

Draw attention of the group to the purpose of GD

Avoid illogical arguments

Leadership Skills

Leadership skills in a group discussion involve:

Initiating the discussion

Creating a congenial atmosphere

Promoting group interaction

Clarifying points, as and when required

Keeping the discussion on track and confined to the subject

Recording the specific information during the discussion for further action

Summarising the group’s progress at the end of the meeting

Tackling problems with confidence

Reducing interpersonal tensions

Talking with confidence


Adequate matter/Subject knowledge is essential: You should have appropriate and in-depth knowledge of the subject and be aware of the latest happenings, not just in India but around the world. This is a pre-requisite for a group discussion because it will allow you to steer the conversation in a given direction. At times memorizing certain data gives an added advantage.

One should be widely read: Being an avid reader helps in group discussions, as reading not only adds to your knowledge database, but enhances your vocabulary skills. In addition, reading over a period of time, helps in better understanding a particular subject/topic. You can read magazines which are rich in content and do some research which is beneficial in the long run.

One should be aware of topics which are often repeated: There are some topics which re-appear with some minute changes and minor variations. You should be aware of such topics and be prepared for the same. For example the issues of terrorism, gender inequality, poverty, liberalization and privatization, reservations in educational institutions, working hours in the hospitality sector, work culture in the hospitality industry are popular topics in a group discussion related to the hospitality industry. An in-depth knowledge of these topics will allow you to come up with some unique points along with dates.

Communication skills: You should be well versed

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  • (4/5)
    have a lot of info about everything but in a small quantity but anyway it's a good book to get knowledge about hotel management....