Restaurant interviews are unorthodox. It is not uncommon to sit with the restaurant owner at the table, while other people are eating their lunch right next to you. They are enjoying the food, while you sweat in your shirt, trying to get a job in the restaurant…
The setting is unorthodox, and the same thing can be said about succeeding in this interview.
Not necessarily a professional recruiter
Interviews at restaurants, and at other dining or catering facilities, are typically led by people without professional background in human resources. These people won’t use psychometry, or any other special form of testing job candidates, and they also won’t spend two hours considering your job application.
If they like you as a person, if they feel your motivation and interest, and if you have at least some experience (or convince them that you do not need previous experience), they will hire you for the position in a restaurant. Your goal is to make that happen. And how you can do it?
Enthusiasm will take you a long way
You should show enthusiasm for the job, for the place, and for life in general. But you should also show respect and recognition.
Stay humble, ask them a lot of questions about the place, and what they try to achieve in the restaurant.
Listen carefully to what they have to say. Visit the place and dine there before the start of your interview–so you have something to talk about, something to compliment once you meet them on a big day. On the top of that, you should be ready to give at least decent answers to their questions.
Questions you can expect in a restaurant interview
- Why do you want to work as a waiter (bartender, barista, cook, etc)? Talk about your love to the nature of the job, passion for catering business, or good predispositions for the job. You can also say that you had a similar position in the past, and that you really enjoyed the work, and would like to continue working in the same field.
- Why do you want to work here, and not in another place? This is your chance to praise them for what they do in the restaurant. Does their food stand out? Do they prepare any specialties, dishes that are hard to get in any other place in town? Are you taken aback by the atmosphere of the place? Find something you can praise, and give them credit for it–cite it as a reason for your choice.
- How long do you want to stay here? Nobody wants to hire people every other month, and restaurants tend to struggle with high employee fluctuation. Tell them that you do not have any plans of leaving the city, and are looking for a steady occupation, a job you’d have for many months to come. Whether you really stay or not is another thing…
- Would you mind working on Sundays? Would you mind working twelve hours a day? Check the opening hours of the place. Do they serve food on Sunday? Are they open late in the evening? Show some flexibility and tell them that you are ready to work on Sundays, or in the evening–if the schedule requires it.
- How do you imagine a typical day in work at our place? You should show them that you expect to work hard, and be busy from morning to evening. Even if you apply for a position of a waitress, you should say that you are ready to help the cooks, or other staff members, anytime you’ll have nothing better to do.
- Tell me something about your working experience. Have you worked in a restaurant before? What did you like about this job? What did you hate about it?
More questions for restaurant interviews
You will have to deal with some behavioral questions, and with some other questions that test your ability to handle the job. For example:
- How would you deal with an angry customer?
- Are there any guests you would prefer not to serve as a waitress?
- What is your opinion on sharing tips? Are you okay with that?
- How would you describe an ideal colleague, or an ideal boss?
- How would your former colleagues describe you?
- Do you have experience with “this and that”? (food preparation techniques, local cuisine, special ingredients, cash handling system, etc.)
- What are your salary expectations?
- When are you able to start?
- Why should we hire you?
Demonstrate your motivation ans skill
The key is to show them that you care, that you are motivated to work hard, and ready to accept their employment agreement–in terms of shift patterns and other important things. Try to build a good relationship with them.
And if they ask you to do a training day (letting you to do your job for one day, often for free, or with a minimal payment), you should accept their proposal. Many restaurants and fast food chains follow this procedure with every new “hire”.
Once you prove yourself during the training day, once you show them that you can actually do the job, they will sign an actual job contract with you.
Continue your preparation-get answers to all difficult questions
To succeed in a restaurant interview is not easy, especially if you apply for a job in a popular place, and compete with many other people who try to fill the same vacancy.
In such a case, you will need excellent answers to all questions, and you will also need to build a great connection with the people who interview for a job.
This is difficult. But I have prepared an excellent product, called Interview Success Package. Brilliant answers to thirty most common interview questions, and a guide on how to win the heart of your interviewers, will help you to ace this interview, and to get rid of stress.
Read the samples from the package (and potentially get it) on this page: Interview Success Package.
The team at InterviewPenguin.com wishes you good luck in your interview!