Mastering Your Hospitality Interview Questions
Hospitality interview questions are a fundamental part of the job application process. Employers interview an average of 6 hospitality candidates for every job they advertise, and only 2% of the candidates who apply for a job get through to this crucial stage.
While it’s impossible to predict exactly what your interviewer might ask, there are a handful of common hospitality interview questions that we can help you prepare for. Knowing how to respond to questions like, “what are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “Why do you want to work here?” could be the key to setting you apart from your professional competition.
11 Hospitality Interview Questions to Prepare for
Hiring managers choose their interview questions carefully to help separate the most attractive candidates from those who don’t have what it takes.
Every Hospitality business will have its list of “essential” questions, but some are more common than others. Not every interviewer asks questions in a logical order. Some may move through your CV or the job description, while others are quite random in the way they ask.
However, being prepared with answers in the way we suggest will help you navigate any interview scenario that comes your way.
Common Hospitality Interview Questions to practice include:
1 Tell me about yourself?
It may sound like an old-school-style opening, but it is still a popular question that interviewers start with. It is a recognised way to calm down interview nerves for both you and the interviewer (yes they can be nervous too). This question also leads to different questions later on.
Logically this is an easy question to answer provided you are prepared. Your recruitment consultant will have talked about you to the hiring manager. However, the key goal of the interview is for the hiring company to get to know you. They will assess if you will be a good fit for the role and organisational culture. It’s a great opportunity to demonstrate that you can communicate clearly and effectively, connect with and react to other humans, and present yourself professionally.
This question isn’t about communicating who your favourite football team is or the breed of dog you have. The information you share here is about your work journey.
Here is a good structure to follow to answer this question:
- What you are currently doing.
- What are your current responsibilities and what you are involved with.
- Talking through your past roles and what prompted you to move
If you are interviewing for a job that will be the next step in your career, showcase the path you took. For example, I started as a Kitchen Porter and enjoyed the kitchen environment. This led me to take up an apprenticeship as a Junior Chef. From there I moved into a Chef De Partie role but now I feel I’m ready to take on a Sous Chef role.
Finally, share your ambitions, how you want your career to develop and why you are now applying to their organisation as the next step. Unconsciously, the interviewer allows you to demonstrate that you are the logical hire for them to make.
2 Where do you see yourself in five years?
Most hospitality businesses want to hire people with compatible visions with their own. If you’ve done your research and looked at the company’s vision statement, you’ll be able to communicate how your goals align with theirs.
For instance, if your hospitality company wants to make the world a better place, you can also describe your vision of positively impacting the planet. Where possible, outline how you plan on reaching your goals.
You can discuss potential courses or training opportunities you’re looking into or areas where you’re expanding your skills.
3 What are your biggest strengths and development areas?
This question is widely considered one of the most challenging interview questions.
When addressing your strengths, recall the job description and the research you did. What kind of characteristics, skills, or competencies did the company mention? Ideally, you’ll want to match your strengths to the role’s requirements.
The key here is to communicate your strength and how people experience its impact. As you describe situations and scenarios like this, the interviewer can begin to connect your skill/trait or strength and how it will help their organisation.
For example, if you are interviewing for a front of house role, you’ll want to talk through skills such as problem-solving, communicating, working as a team and relating to people from diverse backgrounds. For each strength, provide an example of how you’ve applied it at work or in life in general.
“I consider myself a natural communicator. With more than 5 years of experience in customer services, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with a wide variety of people regarding different aspects. Including dietary requirements, complaints and recommendations. My calm and consistent approach has enabled me to be successful in communicating the message I need to get across.”
When outlining your weaknesses, don’t just choose common options like “perfectionism”. Think about the things you’re actively taking steps to address. For instance, you may say a development need is that you don’t have a certain hospitality qualification, but you’re looking at the process to acquire it
4 Why should I hire you?
Hospitality hiring managers are looking for evidence you’re the best candidate for the job, so if this question appears, the response you give should highlight why you are ideal for the role.
Focus on the things which make you particularly impressive to your intended employer.
For instance, maybe they are looking for a manager who is passionate about creating an amazing experience for guests. They could be looking for someone who will bring ideas to the table. You could describe ideas you have suggested and implemented in previous roles with success. Alternatively, suggest what you would like to do here to make their venue even more appealing than it already is.
5 How have prior experiences prepared you for this role?
This question is an opportunity to match your previous professional experiences with the unique skills and characteristics your new employer is looking for.
Recall the job description for this role and what kind of things you’ll be responsible for in your new hospitality position, then connect those responsibilities with projects you’ve managed in the past.
Whether you are asked this question or not, make sure that you communicate what you have delivered in previous roles, especially if they align with the role description for the job you are applying for.
6 Are you a team player?
It may seem like a silly question for a hospitality job. However, the reality is it’s much more complex than you’d think. The answer isn’t just “yes”.
Your hiring manager is looking for authentic evidence you’re a team player, complete with examples of how well you’ve worked with others in the past.
Discuss a recent project that relied heavily on teamwork and mention how your unique skills and ability to work with others led to success. You can also discuss how you might have handled conflict in your team in the past.
7 Have you ever had to deal with a workplace conflict?
Today’s workplaces are filled with employees from various walks of life. There are around five generations in any workplace at present. It means there’s a good chance you’re going to have to tackle conflict at some point in your professional life.
Discuss how you’ve dealt with “minor” conflicts and disagreements in the past. It is your chance to show how you can appreciate and listen to the points of view of others. Explain how you remained calm and confident, and that the most important part is your listening. Remember to talk through the outcome, i.e did you come to a compromise or did you escalate it to a supervisor.
8 Why are you leaving your current job?
One of the golden rules of any great hospitality interview is: never to badmouth another employer. Saying bad things about your current manager will make you look childish or petty. Top tip: don’t complain about previous work colleagues; it’s unnecessary and never puts you across in a good light.
Instead, explain how this new role seems to fit your goals and skills perfectly, once again drawing attention to what makes you ideal for the position.
Be honest if your reason for moving is a lack of opportunity, development or flexibility. Your recruitment consultant will put you forward for the opportunities you have said you wanted, so be honest with your hiring manager.
If you’re currently unemployed, you can discuss how you’ve been looking for a hospitality opportunity to work with a business where you can thrive.
9 Tell me about something you are proud of achieving in your work life?
When a hiring manager asks you what you’re most proud of, they’re listening to your answer and then making the connections from there to understand what you enjoy and where you can add value to their organisation.
Logically then, this is an additional opportunity to share your accomplishments. For example, have you created a popular dish or received the highest number of reviews from customers
10 Give me an example of how you identified and solved a problem in your current role?
Employers want to employ people who can be proactive and solve problems. This question can show the interviewer how you apply your problem-solving and critical thinking skills to overcome challenges and achieve success. Use an example from an experience that highlights your thinking process; what you did, how you solved the problem and what the result was.
The answer isn’t to do with the outcome but the process you took to get there. For example, you noticed the team wasn’t working well together. You suggested a team day or night out which helped create relationships between the staff.
11 Why do you want to work here?
Your new employer is looking for a hospitality employee committed to learning, growing, and thriving with their business. They want to know you’re passionate about not just the job you’re applying for, but the company too.
With this in mind, researching the company before your interview is a must. You can highlight everything you like about the business. Discuss your values and how they align well with the vision or mission of the organisation.
You can let your passion shine through when answering these questions.
If you land a hospitality interview, whether it’s via video conference or in-person, it’s essential to ensure you’re properly prepared.
Working with a specialist recruitment team like KSB Recruitment will give you an immediate edge.
You’ll be able to work with your agency to gather information about the company you’re going to be interviewing with and develop a deeper knowledge of what they’re looking for in a candidate.
Specialist recruitment companies can also give you tips and insights on how to improve your interview techniques, from dressing correctly to preparing competency-based answers.
We hope this provides you with the guidance you need to answer your hospitality interview questions.
Here at KSB Catering and Hospitality Recruitment Agency, we have been helping candidates find hospitality and catering jobs for over 30 years. If you would like us to help you in finding work, send your CV to [email protected] or call 0121 314 9365. Alternatively, if you are a business looking for staff, we can also help.