A recent survey in an Entrepreneurial Chef group forum asked restaurant managers, “When you’re interviewing a potential employee, what’s a question you always ask and why?”
While there are the common interview questions, such as “tell me about yourself” and “why should we hire you”, there are also specific interview questions that are often asked when applying for restaurant jobs. Here are some of the questions that they responded with, and why they like to ask them:
1. What experience do you have that will help the restaurant and why should I consider you for hire?
Honestly I would rather someone do a test cook. That way you know if they are capable. People talk a big game but perfection is key. If it’s not perfect you start over.
2. What is the most important thing you look for when you dine out?
If they don’t answer with consistency, enough said.
3. Who is your favorite chef or restaurateur of the last decade, and why?
I can tell a lot about a person’s passion for the industry and their culinary style just from the way they answer this one question.
4. What do you know about our restaurant?
I want to know if they did their research. Do they really want to work here or are they just looking for any job?
5. How do you handle a disgruntled customer?
Do they know how to properly handle an unhappy customer? If not, can they learn? What is their own temperament like?
6. What is your process if you make a mistake?
Do they own up to it or blame it on someone else? How do they go about fixing it? This is important to see how they’ll handle future incidents.
7. What qualities are you looking for in a boss / team?
I think it’s important to see if the candidate knows what they want and is self-aware. Making sure that the fit is right on both sides is crucially important in a restaurant. Turnover is already high enough.
8. What’s the latest book you’ve read?
I want to know if they’ve read any related books since school or training.
9. What are your long term goals?
This helps me know what to expect and it helps me guide them towards their goals.
10. Why did you get into this field?
I don’t want an employee just passing time or who has no passion for the trade. The minimum is that they have a passion to excel and get promoted.
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