Best 8 Restaurant Interview Questions to Ask

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Best 8 Restaurant Interview Questions to Ask

Posted on May 03, 2019 by Danny Leffel

The word “interview” can cause anxiety in some people, even in those who are asking the questions. Despite how you feel about them, interviews are a necessary part of running a restaurant, and asking the right questions during them is the key to finding the best people. But how can you tell which questions are useful? To help you out, we’ve made a list of the top eight restaurant interview questions below.

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1. Why Do You Want to Work in the Restaurant Business?

This is a pretty basic question for most job interviews, but it’s an important one. Listen closely to the answer. Does the interviewee talk about liking to help people? A restaurant is part of the service industry, after all, so a desire to help others should be a part of their reason for wanting to work there. Depending on what they say, this question can also lead to finding out if they have any previous experience working in a restaurant.

2. Give Me an Example of a Time You Went Above and Beyond to Help a Customer.

This will help you determine what the interviewee thinks is normal customer service versus something extraordinary. Their answer will also give you a snapshot of how they problem-solve in situations that may not have a clear-cut answer. During their explanation of the problem, you may be able to find other possible solutions and ask them why they chose to act the way they did. Were they making decisions based on emotion or logic? Did they notice any other solutions? Their reasoning should help you decide whether they’d be a good fit for your team.

3. Why Would You Make a Good Addition to the Team?

This question will let you know if the interviewee is aware of the skills needed to do the job. Ideally, what they list about themselves should match the traits that are necessary to be successful with the job, as well as some extra ones that you can see might help them grow in their career at your restaurant. If the interviewee misses the mark on most of the needed skills, they probably don’t have a good understanding of what it’s like to work in a restaurant.

4. What Is Your Greatest Strength?

No interview would be complete without asking this timeless question. Because the interviewee has already made a case as to why they think they’d be a good addition to the team, you now get to see what they think is one of the most important skills they possess. If they don’t elaborate on how their chosen strength can be useful to your restaurant, ask them about it. They may even have an example of how it’s come in handy in a previous job.

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5. What Is Your Greatest Weakness?

The interviewee may not have an answer prepared for this question, so give them time to think if necessary. No one likes to admit their weaknesses, especially during a job interview, but it’s a good question to ask because it reveals how much the interviewee knows about themselves. It’s even better if they offer up ways they’ve been trying to improve their weakness because it means they want to grow. If your new employee has self-awareness, they may be a little more open to constructive criticism when the time comes.

Knowing a potential weakness in a new employee is important because you can plan for it. For example, if they say they sometimes zone out during staff meetings, an easy workaround is to send your employees the important announcements through the Crew App, which gets delivered directly to your employees’ smartphones. That way, an employee who is otherwise a fantastic worker can still keep up to date on what’s going on without worrying about missing something during the meetings.

6. Tell Me About a Conflict You’ve Had With a Co-Worker and How You Resolved It.

Conflict is going to happen in every job. How the interviewee handled it is the important part. There may be a few interviewees who say they can’t remember a conflict. This isn’t a red flag by itself, but make a note of it. It’s possible that the interviewee is nervous and can’t remember one, which is fine; however, it’s also possible that they don’t want to tell you how they handle conflict. If an interviewee does give you an example, pay attention to how they frame themselves. You want someone who can take responsibility for their actions.

7. What Would Your References Say About You?

This is a great question because you can verify the answer by calling the references after the interview. It makes the interviewee think about how others perceive them, which is extremely important in the customer service industry. When talking to the references, be sure to ask them if they’ve ever been in a high-stress situation with the interviewee. Getting an outsiders’ perspective on how the interviewee deals with stress can be extremely helpful when you’re making your hiring decision.

8. How Would You Handle a Difficult Customer?

Difficult customers are part of the job in the restaurant business, so you need to know that the person you’re hiring can handle them. Staying level-headed and diffusing the situation are non-negotiable. If necessary, you can do a quick role-playing exercise where the interviewee demonstrates how they would deal with a difficult customer. In the event that they have previous restaurant experience, ask them to tell you about a time they handled a situation like that.

The questions above are a great starting point when interviewing new people. The important things to remember are to pay attention to the answers and ask for clarification whenever necessary. Even though it’s a formal environment, try to get to know the interviewee as much as possible. The faster you uncover their personality, the easier it will be to know if they’re a good fit for your restaurant.

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