It may not sound like a difficult task, but finding and hiring good servers for your restaurant is not always easy. Servers are often the key to leaving a positive first and lasting impression on your customers. A good server can make or break your reputation, therefore when it comes to hiring, you want to ask the right interview questions to determine if they will be a good fit for your restaurant.
Here are a few interview questions to consider when interviewing a server:
If you’ve already received their resume, you’ll know whether they have previous experience. If they don’t have experience, a good question to start with is, “why do you want to become a restaurant server?” If their answer is that they enjoy interacting with people or serving people, then that’s a good start! Perhaps they were involved in school activities or non-profit organizations that involved serving others. If they do have restaurant experience, you may want to ask, “what do you enjoy most about being a server?”
Of course, saying that they love working with people and actually loving it are two different things. One way to uncover the truth is to ask open-ended questions such as, “tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer. What happened and how did you handle it?” This will give you some insight on how they actually deal with difficult situations, and whether they are able to handle it properly themselves. Another question is, “tell me about the best customer service experience you’ve provided. What happened and what was the result of it?” They may tell you that the experience resulted in a promotion, a great Yelp review, or repeat business from the customer. If they’ve had numerous positive experiences, they should be able to easily share one with you.
Working in the food, beverage and hospitality industry requires being fast-paced and diligent. A great question that may help uncover if they are fast-paced is, “tell me about the busiest day you’ve had at work. Did that energize you or exhaust you?” Obviously you want to hire servers who thrive in a busy and hectic environment. If it stresses them out, this may not be the best job for them.
The best servers are those who have a great memory and are able to spin 12 plates at once (not literally). “How do you handle multiple requests from customers?” is a good question to discover if they can multitask. Although they may be good at multitasking, there are times when they can’t get to everyone at once. Do they greet and acknowledge each customer, or do they leave them waiting? To find out, a good question to ask is, “Tell me about a time when you had to serve many customers at once but couldn’t get to them all. How did you handle that?” This may help show their ability to prioritize well.
Most importantly, you want servers who want to work at your restaurant, not just servers that are looking for a job. A good candidate may have already visited your restaurant or studied your menu online so they know your offerings. “What do you know about our restaurant?” is always a good question to start with, and “why do you want to work here?” is a great question to end with.
By asking these interview questions, you’re well on your way to hiring your next superstar server!