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How to answer interview questions for your next travel job or jobs in hospitality

Author: TMS Talent

Published Date: 2018/12


Here are 10 of the most common interview questions for travel jobs and jobs in hospitality and our guide on what the interviewer is trying to determine by asking them. We put together a few suggestions to enable you to formulate your responses and leave a favourable impression upon interview.

1. Tell me about yourself?

Your future employer is trying relax you, whilst finding out what makes you tick and determining if you are a good fit for the position on offer. Keep it simple, they don’t need your life story. Summarise a few accomplishments keeping in mind the nature of the role you are applying for and how those may lie you in good steed for the position on offer.

2. Why are you leaving your current position?

Keep this positive. The question is to determine your motivation for applying for a new role;

  • Are you looking for a new challenge, or career growth?
  • Are you trying to escape a conflict in your current role?
  • Perhaps you weren’t looking for a new job and the brands reputation attracted you to this job and will strengthen your travel career path.

However, temping it may be, never speak badly of your past employer, the travel industry is a niche industry and you never know who your potential employer is connected to. Keep it professional.

3. What do you know about our company/brand and what interests you about joining our team?

This question is designed to see if you have done your research. The employer is trying to ascertain if you know the brand and why you think you would be a good fit for their travel job. Was this just a random job you have applied for or are you truly passionate about working for the organisation? Structure your answer to demonstrate you have researched the company, keeping in mind their brand culture, give a few examples of why you would be an asset to their brand. Compliment the brand, stating it is highly regarded in the travel industry or hospitality industry or even acknowledge any recent awards they have won.

4. What are your Strengths?

One of the most common interview questions among potential employers for potential travel jobs or jobs in hospitality. Consider your current strengths and how will they help you perform in this role. The interviewer is looking at how closely your strengths align with the position (and comparing you to other applicants!).

5. What can you bring to this role?

Here they are asking “why should we hire you?” – This is your chance to sell yourself! Why should they hire you over other applicants? What value can you add to this role and to the brand in general? Prepare a few achievements/initiatives from previous roles and the results you achieved and incorporate the similarities between the two positions – or better still offer some fresh, constructive ideas that would be of benefit to the position that you may have discovered during your research.  

6. What are your weaknesses?

The dreaded interview question that makes us all cringe! Here the interviewer is testing your honesty, self-awareness and the steps you take to improvement. This is not so much about not what you actually say, but how you answer (although choosing a weakness that is NOT a prerequisite for the role is a good start – you don’t want to say you hate cooking when applying for chef jobs!)

Choosing a real weakness that you can put a positive spin on is always a good option. Talk about the steps you are taking to address and improve the situation.

7. What are your long-term career goals?

This question will help the employer ascertain your intentions and give a little insight into your personality. Are you goal orientated? Are you planning on building your career within the company or are you only looking for something short-term? It also provides a means for the interviewer to manage your expectations in line with what the position offers and the company’s broader vision.

8. What are your salary expectations?

This can be an uncomfortable conversation for many. Ensure you have done your research before you arrive and have a good indication of what the industry is offering for this type of role. Start at the higher end (inline with what has been indicated in the ad) ensure you convey that you are open to negotiation as you are excited by the opportunity of working for such a great brand -or working on such an interesting project/position.

If your interview is through a travel recruitment agency, then you can always refer it back to your travel recruiter to negotiate on your behalf by stating “My recruiter advised this role is offering $x to $x renumeration and that is within my expectations”

9. You appear to be over/under qualified for this role?

Don’t let this question unhinge you! If you are under qualified, then make sure your enthusiasm for this position (and company) comes across in your voice and body language. Enthusiasm and attitude have been known to surpass experience in a job interview. Focus on a few key skills you have used in other roles and how they are transferrable to this role. Discuss what you have done to increase your knowledge and experience that will benefit you in this role i.e. any courses or volunteering where you gained experience that will benefit you in this role.

For the over qualified, hiring staff is a costly exercise, so the employer will be establishing several objectives with this question;

  • What is your motivation for wanting a position you are clearly over qualified for?
  • Are you just taking this position whilst you wait for something better to come along?
  • Will you be adequately challenged in this role?
  • How will you relate to the team and work under people that are less qualified than you?

A good way to handle this question is express to the employer what drew you to the position in the beginning and emphasise the opportunity and new challenge that this role presents for you. Focus on your passion for the travel or hospitality industry and what you can bring to the role and the advantages of hiring you for the position. Assure the employer of your commitment and loyalty.    

10. Do you have any questions?

It is advisable to have a few questions prepared about the role or company to reinforce your level of interest. However, you may find these questions are answered during the course of the interview. An impressive tactic to take would be enquire about the interviewer themselves -perhaps an achievement you noted on their LinkedIn profile or enquire what it is that they enjoy best about working for the company. 

So next time you have that all important travel job interview on the horizon, spend some time preparing your answers to common interview questions and keep in mind the interviewer’s intention for asking them.


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