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Come Prepared and Ace Your Next Hospitality Industry Job Interview

So, you’ve obtained your TAM® Card and Health Card, you’ve gone scouting for a job, and now you’ve got an interview lined up… What’s next? Searching for hospitality industry jobs in a down economy can be challenging and stressful too. It’s important to remember that landing an interview is only the first step; now you have to impress hiring managers with your winning personality, great attitude and industry know-how. Are you prepared to put your best foot forward and land your dream job?

A great way to prepare for your interview is to think about common questions that are likely to be asked, and how you’ll respond. Think of it like a practice test. Wouldn’t you want to review what’s going to be on your quiz before you sit down to take it? Hospitality Job Site features a great article with common questions that hiring managers like to ask job candidates in the hospitality and nightlife industry. You can read the article titled, “Common Interview Questions,” and use that as a starting point for your preparations. Still feel like you’re not quite ready? Consider asking a friend to give you a mock interview. You can practice answering questions and gain helpful feedback about your answers and your demeanor.

When you get to your interview remember to:

  1. Arrive on time. Allow yourself extra time to get to the interview just in case, and be prepared to fill out a formal application once you arrive. By arriving a few minutes early, you’ll be ready to meet with a hiring manager at the scheduled time, and won’t keep them waiting while you finish paperwork.
  2. Be confident. Smile and sit up straight. Be sure to project a positive attitude.
  3. Thank the interviewer for their time. Be sure you leave on the same positive note you came in on.

You should now be well on your way to acing your next interview. For more tips to making the most of your job search, check out our blog post, “You’re Hired! Landing a Job in the Hospitality Industry.”

What tips have you received for making a great impression in an interview?

Resources

Health Cards – Southern Nevada Health District

Common Interview Questions – Hospitality Job Site

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

 

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Lights, Camera, Action! Reality TV Puts the Focus on Las Vegas

Couch potatoes everywhere agree. It seems like you can’t flip the channel these days without landing on programs featuring the great city of Las Vegas. This city has so much to offer: amazing shows, great bars and restaurants, world class gambling, and it’s all being broadcast for the world to see.

Have you noticed the variety of programs that have been filming in town recently? There’s MTV’s Real World, E!’s Holly’s World, and even the Billboard Music Awards recently aired from the MGM Grand. It doesn’t stop there; maybe you recently caught Las Vegas locals like MGM President and COO Scott Sibella on CBS’s Undercover Boss, or chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Alex Stratta competing on Top Chef Masters. Reality TV continues to dominate the ratings, and its bringing additional awareness to all of the great things happening around town and in the nightlife industry. This isn’t a trend that’s going away. As reported by the Las Vegas Sun, Chef Carla Pellegrino recently invited cameras into the kitchen at her restaurant Bacio at the Tropicana to film for an upcoming series about her life.

It’s clear that TV viewers are intrigued by life in the dining and hospitality industry. Have you thought about what it would be like to be featured on a reality TV program? A casting call is out for Spike TV’s, “Bar Rescue,” which offers up the opportunity for hospitality professionals to get their fifteen minutes of fame.

Arguments could be made about whether these programs showcase our city in a positive or negative light. Are you happy with the Las Vegas ‘brand ambassadors’ being featured on these programs? What about with the way the city and its residents are portrayed? We think that for every doofus making waves, there are a dozen other individuals promoting the amazing dining and nightlife options, and the friendly locals. With that being said… lights, camera, and action! We can’t wait to see what comes next.

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Visit TAM® of Nevada on YouTube

Here at TAM® of Nevada, we try to stay on top of what’s happening in the hospitality and beverage service industry, and also all of the great things happening in Las Vegas. You can read more about how we stay connected with industry professionals and alcohol education students by reading our blog, “Want to Stay Up-to-Date on Alcohol Awareness? Join Us Socially!

Have you visited TAM® of Nevada’s YouTube channel yet? We often hear from our peers that they not only learned a lot from their alcohol awareness training, they enjoy the additional tips, tricks, news and videos we share socially. Just starting out as a bartender or server in Las Vegas? Sometimes the best way to learn how to do something new is by watching others. Be sure to check out our YouTube channel to see some of our favorite videos from several sources showcasing tutorials on how to make popular alcoholic drinks, bartending tips and tricks, nightlife industry news and more. Want a sneak preview? Check out this quick video from Imbibe Magazine showing the differences in shaking vs. stirring cocktails. You can watch this video and many others by visiting our YouTube channel here.

How do you like to stay connected to companies and brands important to you? What type of content would you like to see from TAM® of Nevada in the future?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Tweet While You Eat? Some Restaurants are Encouraging Patrons to Get Involved

It’s considered rude to talk on your cell phone at the dinner table, but in an increasingly tech-savvy world and competitive dining industry, restaurants are breaking their own rules. Samantha Murphy of Tech News Daily explored some of the newest technology trends popping up in restaurants in her article, “Restaurants Offer iPads® & Tweets with Eats.” Some restaurants are looking for new ways to appeal to consumers and reach the largest audience possible – asking patrons to get more involved in the dining out experience by sharing their experience on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and FourSquare, or ordering or viewing menus on tablet devices such as the iPad® is a new way to do that. We here at TAM® of Nevada really enjoyed this article and are interested to see if, and how, this technology will continue to grow, especially in the Las Vegas area. In fact, we encourage OUR students to connect with us on Twitter and tweet about their class experiences too!

Of course as with any new technology, iPad menus and ordering also run the risk of becoming a passing fad. For another opinion on this new movement, check our Michael Austin’s article for the Chicago Sun-Times, “Pour Man: iPad wine lists let your fingers do the ordering.” Do you think moving away from paper menus and into iPads is going to go the way of the Betamax, or is there a chance this will catch on and become mainstream? Only time will tell.

Have you seen these types of programs in use anywhere yet? What do you think about allowing customers to order off of iPads: great idea or doomed to fail once the first drink is spilled on a device?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Feel Like You’re Stuck in a Pressure Cooker? Managing Stress on the Job

The hospitality industry isn’t for the faint of heart. Staff members in bars, restaurants and casinos have fast-paced, high stress careers. Bartenders, servers and security personnel contend with long hours, demanding customers, high workloads and a requirement to remain cheerful and upbeat. Have patrons lined up at the bar for drinks? Do you get that sinking feeling when you see a group of 30 diners walking in the door right before closing? It’s no surprise that one might get stressed out on the job.

It can be hard to do your job with a smile when you’re being pulled in so many different directions. If you’re worried you might be headed to on the job burnout, it’s time to make some changes to how you handle stress. When the going gets tough, take a deep breath and try these tips.

Helpguide is an amazing resource for stress management information and support. They offer a multitude for tips on dealing with on-the-job stress which are helping to hospitality professionals including:

  1. Don’t over-commit yourself. If you find it hard to say no when you’re already over-extended, you might be setting yourself up for a very stressful night at work. Examine what tasks you need to complete, prioritize them, and eliminate any tasks that aren’t necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Your supervisor and coworkers are a part of your team and want to see you succeed, and your guests leave happy. Just be sure to return the favor when you can if one of your coworkers is over-extended at some point too.
  2. Resist perfectionism. One wants to always do their best work, but no one is perfect. You will drop a glass or forget an order at some point. Nothing good will come from beating yourself up over it, just breathe and realize that these things happen. You can only do your best, and you’ll do great.
  3. Flip your negative thinking. Approaching your work with a glass half empty approach is never a good idea. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the good in a difficult situation, but do your best to think positively.
  4. Find humor in a situation. Laughter is sometimes the best medicine.

For more tips on handling stress at work, you can refer to Helpguide’s website here. Sometimes you just need a minute to take deep breaths and center yourself. Taking a minute to get focused during a stressful shift is perfectly understandable. Managers and Supervisors must also be aware of the pressure their staff works under on a daily basis. Managers should refer to Nightclub & Bar’s article, “The High Cost of Bartender Turnover,” for information and ideas on keeping staff stress-free and motivated.

What tips do you have to stay calm and focused at work?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Are You Doing All You Can to Prevent Drunk Driving?

Every 30 minutes someone dies in an alcohol-related crash. And, did you know? Alcohol is a factor in 6% of all traffic crashes, and over 40% of all fatal crashes (National Safety Council). These are startling facts that one cannot simply ignore. Drunk driving is one of the most dangerous activities someone can engage in. It’s also 100% preventable.

An alcoholic beverage service professional has a legal and moral responsibility to serve alcohol responsibly, keep a close eye on imbibing patrons, and promote an alternative means of getting home if anyone appears too drunk to drive. One should make sure guests can make it home safely without injuring themselves or others.

Remember, drunk driving is always dangerous, and not just to the driver. Pedestrians, passengers and others on the road can all become victims. Recently in the early morning hours on April 28th, a woman was killed when she was hit by a suspected drunk driver on the Las Vegas Strip (Las Vegas Sun). This is another terrible reminder of the dangers of getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

Some people are able to ignore the facts. But remember, a victim of a drunk driver is someone’s sister, brother, mother, father, friend, coworker, etc. The Transport Accident Commission in Australia created an incredible PSA on the dangers of drunk driving which can be viewed here. This is a graphic video, but one of the most powerful PSAs we’ve ever seen at TAM® of Nevada. This video is certain to hit close to home for some, and sharing with others will help spread the message that drunk driving is never the answer.

There are a few things you can do to support and promote this message with your patrons.

  1. Complete your alcohol awareness course with TAM® of Nevada to learn about responsible beverage service. Course highlights include identifying false identification, clinical effects of alcohol, laws, rules and regulations, customer disturbances and service guidelines.
  2. Become familiar with sober driving services available in southern Nevada. Keep the number to a reliable cab company and any other sober driver services at your bar so that you can make the call whenever necessary. Companies like Designated Drivers, Inc. provide a responsible alternative to driving while impaired. A driver will be dispatched to take your patron home in their own vehicle, no worrying about retrieving their car after they sober up.
  3. If a group of guests is at your establishment and an individual within the group is becoming intoxicated, check with a sober member of their group to make sure that they have a plan to get the intoxicated individual home safely. If there is no designated driver assigned, offer to call a cab or sober driver service.
  4. Familiarize yourself with company policies when it comes to intoxicated patrons and suspected drunk drivers. Alert your manager or supervisor if you need to cut someone off, if you need them to intervene in the situation, or if you have any concerns about a guest’s safety.
  5. If you have a friend or family member that you worry may have a drinking problem, and may be at risk to drive drunk, do what you can to get them the help they need. Refer to our blog post “April is Alcohol Awareness Month” for tips on how to recognize a drinking problem, and how to help.

Drunk driving is a serious problem that can affect so many. What tips would you give someone else to help prevent intoxicated individuals from getting behind the wheel of a car?

Resources

Drunk Driving – National Safety Council

Woman, 28, accused of DUI after collision kills pedestrian on Las Vegas Strip – Las Vegas Sun

Designated Drivers, Inc.

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Set the Tone and Increase Your Earnings with Positive Body Language

As a server or bartender, you’re often the first, and last, staff member a customer encounters. Your interactions will set the tone for the evening so you want to greet your customers warmly, and leave them reflecting on a positive experience once they head for the door. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure it’s a solid one. Professionalism and competence are very important, but so is projecting a great attitude and body language.

It’s important to remember that good food, drinks and a great ambiance are not the only components to a great night out. Have you ever had poor service or a standoffish server? Experiences like this can play huge into your overall impression of an establishment. On the flipside, a positive attitude and a smile can go a long way toward making patrons feel relaxed and welcome. Not only will you put your guests into a good frame of mind, projecting a positive attitude and body language will help YOU to relax and enjoy your job as well. And, as an added bonus, positive body language and professionalism set the tone for an enjoyable evening and can net you greater tips. Here are a few easy body language dos and don’ts for hospitality workers:

  1. Smile. A smile is the first social cue your guests will pick up on, and can immediately set the tone for a positive interaction. A genuine smile conveys friendliness and a can-do attitude.
  2. Don’t cross your arms or slouch. Crossing your arms over your chest tells your customer that you’re bored, bothered or closed to them. The same thing goes for hosts and other hospitality staff, slouching over the host stand with your arms crossed is NOT the first sight your customers should see when they walk in the door; you’re showing them that you’re not having a good time and would rather be someplace else. Stand up straight and make a great impression.
  3. Pay attention and remain engaged. When taking a guest’s order, make sure you’re turned to face them and pay attention. Restaurants and bars can be loud and busy at times, but don’t get distracted and turn your gaze elsewhere. A guest wants to feel like they have your attention and an interested expression or nod to confirm you’ve heard their order is all it takes.

For even more tips on positive and negative body language, you can refer to Hcareers.com’s article, “Increase Your Tips: Professionalism and Body Language Will Earn You More Than Praise.” You can also review Hospitality Job Site’s blog post, “Hospitality 101 – The Smile and Body Language,” for even more insight into body languages cues for hospitality professionals.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. What tips would you give someone to improve on their body language?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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