5 Questions You Need To Be Asking At Your Restaurant Interviews

Interviewing a new staff member for your restaurant is a task you want to prepare for properly.

The interview is the place to learn about your potential staff member and find out a bit about their personality, service experience and team work skills.

Interview questions help you qualify the right employees.

To help prepare you for your next interview, here are five questions you need to be asking at your restaurant interviews.

#1: Explain your biggest strength and your biggest weakness:

You want to know if your candidate has a good understanding of his strengths and weaknesses. In addition, you want to know if he is confident, and if he is willing to work on his weaknesses.

Your candidate will most likely be uncomfortable discussing his strengths, so encourage his honesty. Hubris is a bad sign here, so judge carefully. You want to know where the candidate excels, but you also want a bit of realism as well.

On the other side, you want to know where the person can improve. Everyone has a weakness, so if your interviewee can’t come up with one, that’s not a great sign.

#2: How do you handle conflict?

With this question, you’d like to hear an example of how your candidate handled a conflict in their last workplace.

This could be a conflict with a co-worker or a customer.

How your interviewee handles conflict gives you great insight into how they handle problems and stumbling blocks.

Dig a bit deeper and ask them how they would diffuse a bad situation with an angry or upset customer.

You’re looking for traits of empathy, compassion and kindness. You also want to see a dedication to customer service and making things right.

In other words, are they well versed in customer service and conflict management, and if not, are they willing to learn?


#3: Describe your idea of the best boss:

This is a great question and one that can take your candidate off guard.

You are digging for information on why they liked their boss as well as what their description of the best boss would be.

Conversely, continue the question and ask them to describe their worst boss and why they felt that way.

Ask them what they could have done to improve their relationship with their boss and how they’d like to see the relationship with a new boss proceed.

You’ll learn how they feel about authority figures and how they might fit in to your work environment.

#4: What is your favorite meal? Sell it to me:

Being a server in a restaurant is equal parts customer service and sales rep.

First, does your candidate appreciate food? Do they understand the ability it has to create happiness?

Second, can they sell your menu items? If they can’t, are they willing to learn?

#5: Tell me about a time you gave exceptional customer service:

Customer service is as important in your restaurant as the food. So, this is a must-have question for your potential candidate.

Not only will this question show you if your candidate understands customer service and its importance, but you’ll get a look inside their character.

Now, let’s look at some do’s and don’ts when composing your interview questions.

Do’s and Don’ts

Personal Questions: When it comes to asking personal questions, don’t ask your applicant if they are married, how many children they have or if they have childcare.

You can explain the job description and the days, evenings and hours required for the job.

*Citizenship: *Don’t ask your interviewee if they are a US citizen or where they were born.

You can ask them for proof of eligibility to work in the United States.

Disabilities: Don’t ask about disabilities until after you offer the person a job. You can explain the functions of the job so they know if it’s something they can do.

Convictions: It’s generally not a good idea to ask your candidate if they have ever been arrested. But, if you feel like their background has a bearing on how they do their job, you can ask if they have ever been convicted of a criminal offense.

Lastly, don’t pry into information that’s none of your business. For example, you don’t need to know if they have a car or own their own home.

When conducting an interview, ask questions that pertain to how they will do your job. You might find that with a thorough interview they volunteer personal questions. It’s just not appropriate for you to ask.

Final Thoughts

The turnover rate in the restaurant industry is pretty high. Nation’s Restaurant News shares that the rate has risen to more than 72%.

This is why hiring right the first time can help you avoid a high turnover rate in your restaurant.

Avoid hiring the wrong people because that just means more time spent interviewing and training new hires.

With these five questions you need to be asking at your restaurant interviews on your list, you’ll find you’ll have a better shot at hiring good, quality employees who are interested in sticking around awhile.

What are your favorite interview questions? Do you have any that help you really get to know your candidate? Please comment below to share your tips with others.