The recruitment team at Fish&Pips receive over 1,500 applications every year for our seasonal roles in Méribel. As a small, independent business we are very fortunate to be a popular choice for chefs, hosts, managers and drivers looking to take a break from UK life or to continue with their career in hospitality. We receive so many fantastic applications and are often asked for feedback should a candidate not be successful so thought we would put together a bit of a guide to creating a winning application and how to prepare for an interview.
- Do your research – recruitment sites such as Season Workers and Cool Ski Jobs are really useful but most job ads will contain a link to the company’s website where there will no doubt be a recruitment page. Find out who to contact, either the names of the directors or hiring manager and contact them directly – it will show the employer you have visited the company’s website and are genuinely interested in working for them.
- Tailor your CV to the role you are applying for – the roles you are looking to secure are essentially hospitality roles demanding a high level of experience, finesse, attention to detail and excellent customer service. Make the most of any hospitality experience you have and highlight any skills you have in this area that would be relevant for a customer facing position
- Make sure your cover letter isn’t too long – we receive over 1,000 applications for our 6 host roles, as a recruiter anything you can do to help draw their eye to that which is most relevant on your CV and application will help you in your application. Try submitting a video instead (although make sure it’s a link not a huge file!)– it’ll certainly get the attention of the recruiter!
- As a recruiter, it helps me to see a summary at the top of your CV, rather than your education. It’s important to remember you aren’t applying for a graduate role, so your education is not as important as your experience and skills – ensure you tailor and format your CV to make it easier to read and more relevant for a role in hospitality.
- Make sure you are eligible to apply for the position before submitting your application – at Fish&Pips you need to be eligible to work in the UK and France (i.e. have an EU passport) and hold a UK bank account and NI number. Each company is different so make sure you do your research. We love employing people from all over the world but you need to make sure you have the right to work here first!
- Be creative – different companies ask for different information and supporting documents but most insist on a CV. Make sure it is well written and conveys your personality. If you are technologically savvy it might be a good idea to put together a cover video, something creative like that will really show the recruiter what you are like as a person which is very important in customer facing roles.
- Of course if you prefer to stick to the standard cover letter and CV then this works well – just remember to check your spelling and get the name of the company right (you’d be surprised how often this happens). Make sure you send attachments as a PDF to ensure the recruiter is able to open the file when he or she receives it – corrupted files or files in a funny format probably won’t get a response!
- Make sure you apply for a number of different companies – don’t put all your eggs in one basket. At Fish&Pips we are only recruiting 18 people, and we have some staff that come back year after year meaning that we don’t have that many spots to fill, don’t be disheartened if you are unsuccessful – move on to the next amazing ski company on your list!
- A lot of ski businesses will conduct a Skype interview as part of their first rounds of interviews. Make sure you have the correct account, that you are logged in and have a reliable wifi connection. Skype calls over 4G tend not to work so well, they are often disjointed and may result in you being cut off. You will only have a limited amount of time to impress, don’t waste time with an unreliable connection.
- For a face-to-face or a Skype interview make sure you arrive on time! It’s one of the basic principles but first impressions really count. If successful you will be the face of the company to the guests – a reputation for lateness is not one you want!
- Make sure you are appropriately dressed for an interview. By and large ski companies tend to be more casual so a suit is probably not needed but your presentation is important so my only advice would be don’t wear flip flops or a hat!
- Prepare for the interview – at least by looking at the website of the company who are interviewing you. You might be asked anything in your interview so make sure you have researched the company’s values, products and destinations. You will need to make a link between your skills and experience and the company – use their values as a starting point.
- Hint – on the Fish&Pips website these core values are the first thing you see on our homepage!
- Prepare some questions for the interviewer – ask about staff accommodation and the package but try to ask some more interesting questions – in a day of back-to-back interviews you need to make sure you stand out for the right reasons!
What’s important and what’s not:
- Hospitality experience is the main thing that employers will be looking for – especially for a company such as ours who pride themselves on excellent food and service.
- Don’t lie on your CV – you’ll be caught out!
- Sending references to support your application is a great way to reassure the recruiter that you have the necessary skills for the role. You may not have informed your current employer, but if you can get someone to write a professional reference for you then it can work in your favour.
- Follow up – but not too soon! It’s always good to follow up on your application but wait a few days before calling or emailing, with over 30 applications every day during early and mid-summer it can take some time to sift through them all!
- If you are planning to undertake any work in hospitality over the summer, or embark on further training such as a Chalet Cooks course this will further strength your application – do mention things you are planning for the summer. Our sister business The Abinger Cookery School (http://www.abingercookeryschool.com/) runs these courses that last either one week or two at a beautiful school in the Surrey Hills. The cost for one of their courses is £695 for a 5 days course without accommodation, or £795 for a 5 day course with 4 nights accommodation. These courses will set you in great stead and will give you the necessary skills to help you make the most of your ski season – they’ll also look great on your CV!