The 8 Most Important Hospitality Interview Questions of All Time

Hospitality Interview KSB Recruitment

A hospitality interview can be nerve-wracking, especially if it’s for a position that you really want. In hospitality, doing well in a job interview can mean the difference between you staying in the job you have outgrown for yet another year, or starting a new adventure in a different setting, establishment, or even a different part of the world.

We have compiled a list of the eight most important hospitality interview questions you should prepare for, for your upcoming hospitality interview.


1. Tell Us About Yourself

This is a hospitality interview question which interviewers like to ask early on, as it allows you to talk about yourself, which will put you at ease. The interviewer will already have most of the details they need to know about you like past employment and qualifications from your CV; what they are looking for is your personality. Say a little bit about your history and why it has led you to the position you are in now, talk about where you are from or your relationship with the area the new job is in; presuming they are different. Remember to keep it positive and upbeat rather than sharing all the challenges you have experienced so far in your hospitality career.


2. Why Do You Want To Work For Our Establishment or Company?

You don’t have to have researched the company to within an inch of its life, but you want to pick out a few key points. Do you know someone who works there who mentioned it’s a great place to work? Have you been there as a customer and thought it had a great vibe? Perhaps you like the fact it’s on the cutting edge of a new style of food preparation or plating.


3. What Is Your Biggest Weakness?

KSB Recruitment Hospitality InterviewThis dreaded question is still asked in a lot of interviews. Instead of avoiding the question and saying ‘I have no weaknesses!’ admit to areas you know you struggle with and then explain how you are working on it, with examples.

‘I sometimes struggle working on my own and prefer to be part of a friendly kitchen team’ or ‘sometimes I don’t speak up when I know I have a good idea for a dish or technique’ are good answers.

Here is a suggestion we share with all our candidates. Ahead of the interview, think about your development areas and where you know you are weak. Then decide how you will improve and be proactive about this during the interview. You’ll be amazed by the positive impression this gives.

Remember – no new employer expects you to be the perfect hospitality star out of the gate, so be honest in your answers.


4. Tell us About a Time a Customer Was Angry and How You Dealt With It?

Hospitality is all about customer service. Prepare to talk about a time when you gave excellent customer service in the face of an angry or upset customer (we’ve all been there). Remember to focus on the customer in this situation; the manager wants to know about how they ended up feeling, not that it made you feel angry and annoyed, but that you put their needs first.

How did you respond? Do you always follow the same process? Do you accept that dealing with unsatisfied customers is all part of working in hospitality and is a lesson in upping your game and that of the establishment in which you work?


5. Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?

The company is not expecting you to say that you plan on working there forever, but saying that you love your role and you are planning on climbing the ranks is a good idea. As a chef, each year brings with it a new set of ingredients to put on the menu: do you want to learn how to cook a new type of cuisine?

Your answers here need to demonstrate that you have drive and passion for the hospitality sector and are inspired to continue growing. This communicates to your interviewer that you will be an enthusiastic and driven addition to their hospitality team.


6. What Do You Do When There Is Nothing To Do At Work?

Hospitality Interview QuestionsThis is a question that is usually asked by managers who know that there might be periods when you are at work where there will be little to do, in bar work during quiet times or dips in the season if you’re a chef. Reassure them by saying that you never like to be bored at work and that you are proactive in finding tasks to occupy yourself.

It’s useful to share a few ideas based on your current activity too. Maybe it’s cleaning down the bar or kitchen (every manager likes hearing this by the way), practising new dishes or researching a new menu.  Everything that, in the manager’s map of the world, is moving their establishment forward.


7. Why Do You Want To Leave Your Current Job?

In hospitality, it is quite normal for people to change jobs at a more frequent rate than other professions. Hiring managers know this, and they aren’t trying to trip you up. Putting a positive spin on a negative situation is an excellent way to answer this question.

Instead of saying ‘I find my current job boring’ say ‘my job role was varied at first, but due to changes in the company I am now only given certain tasks which I don’t feel are using my full potential’. Instead of ‘I don’t like the kind of work I am asked to do’ you can say ‘I’m looking for a new challenge and would like to work in a new establishment with different ideas’.


8. Do You Have Any Questions For Us?

It’s not the faux-pas it once was not to have a list of well-rehearsed questions to ask at the end of your interview, and many interviews are now so comprehensive that there might be little left to ask.

A good question if you feel you need to connect with the interviewers just a little more before you leave is to ask whether they are only hiring for this one position, or will others be starting with you. It shows you are interested in the company process and shows you have foresight too.


Next Steps

Now you have the questions prepared; all you need is an interview. KSB Recruitment are specialist hospitality recruiters, and we have a range of positions we need filling with talent like you. Please send us your CV today to get the ball rolling.



Who is Dawn Bannister

Dawn has over 30 years recruitment experience recruiting for the likes of Sainsbury’s plc, Holiday Inn, Barclaycard, ISS, Royal Mail, West Midlands Police and the NEC – to name a few. She also oversaw the company’s Investors in People accreditation in 1999 – (and held ever since) and has recently been selected to attend the prestigious programme run by Aston University’s Business Growth Programme.