Top 10 Hospitality Candidate Interview Questions

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For hospitality professionals, conducting candidate interviews is part of the job, whether you're an owner/operator, a hiring manager, or an HR professional.

At times, it can feel like you're preparing as much as the candidates!

That's why we're sharing our top interview questions that you should ask your next hospitality candidate. 

Keep scrolling to read them all, and let us know in the comments what your go-to interview question is! 

Why do you enjoy working in the hospitality industry? Kicking things off with this simple, lighthearted question is not only a great way to get a candidate into a relaxed and positive state of mind, but it also serves to help you align your company's core values with a candidate's personal values.

What do you know about our brand, and why do you want to work here? To a certain extent, each team member will serve as the face of your brand. Having an affinity for your brand helps to ensure they will come across as genuine and passionate, leading to better customer service. 

What hours are you available to work? Expectations for hours worked should be laid out in your job description, but it’s always a good idea to double check. You’ll want someone whose schedule works with the hours needed, and who will be reliable in order to keep your business operations running smoothly. 

How do you deal with conflict amongst coworkers? In a fast-paced environment with many variables, having mature employees is crucial. You could even ask for an example of an incident when a candidate had a conflict with another coworker, and how it was resolved. You'll want to look for proactive behaviors, and recognize red flags (i.e. if they dragged other people into their drama or seem to be holding a grudge). This question should also give you a good idea of how the candidate handles stressful situations and different personalities, both of which they are bound to encounter at your place of business. 

What does [your brand's motto / your brand's name] mean to you? Ensure that the candidate is able to serve not only as an employee but an ambassador or representative of your brand. It's important that they understand the type of values and service you are trying to promote. 

What are your interests outside of work? It's no secret that the life of a hospitality professional is fast-paced! It's important for people in all roles to have a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout (you can read more on the topic of burnout here). Plus, people with diverse hobbies and experiences can lead to higher customer engagement and satisfaction. 

What is your favorite/least favorite customer service experience? The way a candidate talks about both positive and negative experiences can be very revealing. Whether positive or negative, look for them to remain balanced and in control when talking about each experience. In both instances, look for them to own their behavior. If it was a favorite experience, perhaps it was because they provided above and beyond service. If it was negative, look for clues into how they handled (and hopefully resolved) the situation. 

What does teamwork mean to you? Restaurants are basically second families. Getting a sense for someone’s work ethic shows how they’ll fit in on your team. The ideal candidate knows their role and how it fits into the larger organization, but is not above jumping in to help with other tasks. 

Situational Questions: Put a customer in a common experience they are bound to encounter in the role. Doing so will help demonstrate how they act under pressure. How would you handle a guest’s request for special service (birthday, etc.)? How would you handle a guest who is angry or unsatisfied? Speaking calmly, openly, and wisely about a solution to a situation - or at least talking through their approach - can be a good indicator that they're equipped to handle it in real life.

Are there any people you refuse to serve? Unfortunately, the restaurant industry has major issues with bias. It’s important to make sure everyone feels welcome at your restaurant and that your staff is accommodating. 

Are you a hospitality professional looking to improve your interview process? We want to help!

We offer premium interview tools for teams of all sizes. With Harri's next-generation ATS, you can build a better candidate experience and retain more people by quickly moving them through the hiring funnel. Our powerful suite of interview tools enables you to  ask relevant questions specific to your business needs, and gain greater insights into potential candidates' personalities and skills through photos and videos uploaded to their profile.

The entire interview process is fully managed on Harri, making it super easy and user-friendly for employers and candidates alike. Invite, schedule, and keep track of interview dates and times with prospective candidates, all on one platform. Keep record of members’ attendance rates and mark no shows from a digital dashboard. Record notes on your mobile device during interviews, and collaborate on them with team members. 

We also offer tools designed for customers with centralized interview scheduling or multiple hiring managers in mind, like Advanced Interview Scheduler. It includes enhanced capabilities like custom interview duration and location, the ability to assign and schedule specific hiring managers by role, direct applicant interview messaging interface, upgraded open day functionality, and Google Calendar sync. 

Interested in learning more? Reach out to today for a free demo.