I am standing with a hot platter of rice in one hand and service gear (thats hotel lingo for a comparatively large pair of spoon and fork used in classic service) in the other, frantically looking at clock on the wall. No, I am not late for a date. What I am trying to do here is to understand how to serve everyone on my table in an anticlockwise order!
As a student, it was of course, natural to blame the system, the institute, the faculty, and the entire world of hospitality on creating such crazy rules! We couldn't care less if the fork was on the right hand side or if the cutting edge of the knife was facing the roof!! We really couldn't understand how it mattered that the server served water from the right, but food from the left; or that food when it came on a plate was served from the right and when it came in a platter, was served from the left - confusing isn't it?
It took 3 years and half a dozen committed faculty members to get the basics of what we call "Silver Service" engraved into our memories. It didn't make much sense to us, but we could rattle off the sequence, the direction and even the angle to bend forward to do the service with aplomb!
So, how important is it to know EXACTLY which wine goes with roast chicken, and which one with tenderloin? I mean does it really make a difference if you clear plates from the left or do it anti-clockwise? (For the non hotelier - clearance of plates is done from the right side of the guest and the server moves clockwise around the table )
I am about to disappoint many who are potential hotel managers by stating that it is imperative that you know these seemingly unimportant trivia. Moving through college after college, meeting with so many students, has brought out this very unpleasant fact - technical know-how is the least concentrated upon when preparing for interviews! And irrespective of what you may, as students think, the basics that are learnt during the three years you put in during college are going to be your friends for life.
It also shows the interviewer how interested and passionate you are about this industry (because you can bet your last penny that the interviewer is a passionate hotelier!), and also if you take his company and him seriously. There is nothing an interviewer hates more than someone who wastes his time.
Please understand, the interview panel has put in a lot of effort in planning, and executing the interviews. Its not as easy as it looks, and the seeming indifference that shows through when a candidate is unprepared only makes it tougher for the interviewer. Every interview panel will beam with joy when that spark comes into vision out of a candidate who has genuinely put in effort to make an impression! Nothing wrong in trying to impress the panel - only shows you value the company and the panel enough to do so!
So by all means do impress them - with the passion that you share with them on common topics - especially the world of hospitality.