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So you’ve made all the decisions, you’ve spent hours upon hours filling out application forms and now you’ve finally got an interview! This is often when the nerves really begin to set in. While season interviews aren’t all that different from other interviews you may have experienced, they can often be quite intense, taking up most of a day.
The structure of most season job interviews are fairly similar. They are often split into two or three parts, beginning with a group element and ending with an individual one-on-one interview. In the first part, you will be expected to take part in a series of discussions and group tasks, which may include role-play scenarios or presentations. You may also be given a series of written tasks, which can range from questions about the company and the industry, to simple calculations regarding sales if you are applying for more senior roles. For chalet host roles, you may be required to demonstrate basic cookery skills, so if your CV says you can cook certain dishes, make sure you can! The one-on-one interview is the final stage and here questions will be more targeted towards your personal attributes and why you want this job, giving you a chance to discuss your experience and what makes you suited for the role.
These interviews can seem extremely daunting, but don’t worry! We’ve put together a wealth of handy tips and tricks to help you nail this interview and get you one step closer to the mountains!
While the interview itself is your opportunity to showcase your sparkling personality, there is a lot you can do beforehand to ensure that you give the best possible impression. Preparation is essential and is definitely not something that should be overlooked, so make sure you do these key things in the run up to your interview.
Some companies may ask for a task to be completed beforehand. Resort representatives might be asked to prepare a transfer speech, while chalet hosts are often invited to bring with them a selection of cakes or appetisers to demonstrate their culinary skills. It is important to make sure you read your interview invitation thoroughly in order to give yourself enough time to complete any such tasks to the best of your ability.
The key tip I would give to anyone interviewing for a season job would be to do your research on the company you’re interviewing for. Research the history of the company, it’s key values and selling points. Look through their brochures to ensure you are well versed on what sort of locations, properties and experiences they offer. It also helps to keep an eye on companies’ social media channels for any recent developments or interesting updates. If you can demonstrate in an interview that you are engaging with the company and what they have to offer, this will definitely earn you some bonus points.
Get to know yourself – From the get go, this is your opportunity to sell yourself. Firstly, you will often have to introduce yourself to the group. Think of some interesting facts about yourself and explain why you want to do a season. This is your chance to demonstrate your passion for the mountains. Read through the job description as well as your CV a few times and try and pick out certain elements that lend themselves to the role you are applying for. Examples of where you have shown exceptional teamwork or communication skills are always good, as these skills are essential for most season jobs. Prepare for potential questions in the one-to-one interview, such as “what are your weaknesses?”. This is often a question asked in interviews so it is a good one to prepare for.
Think about the questions we asked in our previous article on deciding to do a season – where do you want to go and why? In my first interview, I was asked what I was looking for in an area; did I want somewhere that was more party focused or with more serious skiing? I was also asked what my ideal guests would be and if I had a preference for a particular resort. As I had spent a lot of time making informed decisions about these questions, I felt confident in answering them. This is really important. You don’t want to panic under pressure, simply say the first thing that comes into your head and as a result, end up somewhere that is not best suited to you. It’s always best to research your options thoroughly beforehand.
As with many interviews, you will have many chances throughout the interview to ask questions of your own. It is always good to have a couple of questions prepared beforehand to demonstrate your interest in the role and company. Questions about the training for the role, the company itself and the structure in resort are all good options. While we know you may really want ask all about pay, incentives and the amount of skiing time you might get, try and keep these questions at bay for now!
While your oversized ski jacket and unrivalled collection of beanies might make you a fashion icon in resort, they certainly won’t sell you at an interview. Remember, your interviewers are assessing how you will represent yourself and the company to your guests. You need to be impeccably presented but do be sure to keep an eye on the weather and plan your outfit accordingly. If the forecast is rain, be sure not to forget your umbrella. If the weather is positively tropical, a full suit may be slightly overdoing it. A shirt and tie is a safe bet, and for the ladies, a skirt and a shirt or a smart dress are always failsafe options.
My mum is a stickler for always getting to important events as early as possible and I will admit that I used to think this was slightly excessive. However, after one particularly scarring journey involving a lot of delays on my way to my first day at a new job, I am now a huge advocate for being early rather than late. Trust me, those ten extra minutes in bed are NOT worth it! Being punctual is very important in season work, so if you are late to the first meeting it will not stand you in very good stead. Plus, if you’re early you can take a walk, get a coffee and generally feel more relaxed as you enter the interview, rather than rushing in all hot and bothered.
Finally, if you can, try to avoid smoking right before your interview or during any breaks and please please please remember to either turn your phone off or put it on silent. No-one want to hear that dreaded tri-tone in the middle of an interview!
While it’s normal to be nervous, try not to let this show too much during the interview process. If you have made it this far, obviously they liked something about your application so try to be confident and positive in yourself. Your attitude and the way you interact with both your interviewer and other candidates are hugely important. SMILE! First impressions are extremely important, so it makes a huge difference to begin with a positive exchange; a good handshake and an appreciative smile. You want them to know that you’re pleased and excited to be here. Maintain this throughout the session, keep smiling and presenting a happy, polite demeanour. Eye contact also works wonders in interviews, demonstrating that you are interested and engaged.
From your application form, the interviewers will already know all they need to about your experience, skills and achievements. The interview itself is your chance to show them your personality. You can’t expect them to know that you are fun, friendly and approachable just through your presence – you have to demonstrate these things. Contribute to discussions and conversations with enthusiasm and positivity. Answer questions that are put to the group. Remember other candidates’ names and get to know them as the day progresses. This will show interviewers that you are indeed a people person, a quality very important to most season jobs.
However, you also don’t want to talk to much. I know, I know, you’re thinking ‘what on earth is she on about, she just told us that this interview was a place for us to showcase our sparkling personalities and dazzle the group with our amazing ideas and comments’ and it is! But you need to tread the line carefully between contributing and overpowering. You don’t ever want to come across as rude by interrupting or talking over another candidate, or worse, the interviewer. You need to demonstrate that along with being a confident individual, you are also a team player, who listens and works well with others.
So you’ve tried your best, but unfortunately, often the stress does not end when the interview does. You will now be rushing manically to reach your phone every time it rings, anxiously waiting to find out if you got the job. Yet while there’s not a whole lot you can do at this point, we do have a bit of post-interview advice.
Don’t fret if a few days pass and you haven’t heard anything! Sometimes it takes a while for the decision to be made, as they are not only deciding whether to give you the job, but where to place you and in which role (sometimes they may offer you a different role to the one you interviewed for as they see you to be better suited to it). It will generally take a few days to a couple of weeks to hear back, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear straight away.
When you do hear back, try not to let this affect you too much if you don’t get the job. Of course, this is easier said than done, but try to remember that it’s not the end of your journey to the mountains! Sometimes companies will offer you the chance to re-interview for a different role, or even for the same role a few months later.
It always helps to ask for feedback from the interview in order to know what to work on for next time. There are so many ski travel companies out there and so many various roles, that if you are really passionate about working a ski season, it will happen, and with this feedback you will know exactly what to do differently to ace your next interview.
Now you might be wondering, ‘what does she know, she got the job!’ But I’ll leave you with a little story here. I’m sure a lot of you know the feeling of filling out so many application forms for so many similar roles, that they all begin to blur slightly into one. When applying for my season, this is exactly what happened as I sent off an application form and only afterwards realised that I had written the name of a completely different (and probably rival) company throughout. Can you imagine?! I immediately changed it and resent my application, calling the recruitment office to explain and to ask whether they could disregard the first application. The employee I spoke to on the phone was extremely understanding but somewhat unsurprisingly I never did get an interview there. At that point I thought that I would never get a season job. However, a few weeks later I got an interview elsewhere and ended up having the best winter of my life! So don’t give up, learn from each experience and you will eventually land your dream job!
Once you do, make sure to give our next articles a read so that you know exactly how to prepare for the winter and what to expect from your season!
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