Who would not enjoy some spicy tacos, quesadillas, or burritos on a hot summer day? Served in a nice and clean place, by a cheerful young waitress, having friends or family around, and simply enjoying a meal out… Chili’s Grill & Bar make this treat possible, for millions of people all around the world, in one of their 1,600+ restaurants on five continents, including Africa. As you can likely imagine, thousands of full time and part time employees work for Chili’s, and you can definitely become one of them. What will happen in an interview?

The good news is that interviews at Chili’s belong to easy interviews. They know that they compete for employees with other restaurants and fast food chains, and cannot afford to be extremely picky. As long as you show some motivation, enthusiasm for the job, and do not remain silent when they ask you one of their 7 common interview questions, they will hire you. Let’s have a look at the questions right now, one by one.


Why do you want to work here at Chili’s Grill & Bar?

You can be honest, mentioning the goals you follow with your job application. If you are a student, you probably want to make some extra cash to support your studies, or save money for a motorcycle, car, anything else. And if you are en employee already, perhaps you seek a job in a familiar setting–you worked in a restaurant before, you have Mexican origin, or any other reason why the place attracts you.

In an ideal case, you should share some positive thoughts about the brand of Chili’s. You can say that you enjoy the dining experience at the place, and the level of customer service you typically get, and would love to deliver such a great service yourself, in the job. Or perhaps you simply enjoy the entire Tex-Mex cuisine and lifestyle, and the place of work really matches your personality, and preferences. One way or another, you should say something positive about Chili’s, while explaining your job application.


Can you tell us more about your past working experience?

You can get hired even without experience, but any experience from a fast-paced or busy workplace helps to make it a bit easier. Explain what you did, and how the duties you had in your last job in a restaurant, supermarket, or wherever you worked, overlap with the duties from the job description at Chili’s. You’ve done that before, you’ve been through the stuff, and now you want to benefit from the experience in your new job.

If you lack experience, you can emphasize your willingness to learn and work hard. Ensure the hiring manager that you do not expect an easy ride. You’ve dined at Chili’s before and know how busy the place can get on some days, and expect a heavy workload. However, with the right attitude and motivation, you will no doubt handle it, regardless of the lack of experience.

What is your availability?

Considering the wages at Chili’s (and similar places) it likely won’t surprise you that many people applying for this job are either students, or people who work somewhere already, and are simply looking for a second job, to earn more and meet their end needs, or because they just love working (I am joking with this one of course :)).

Anyway, you cannot be at two places at the same time, so it is important to clearly explain when you can work, which days and hours, and why you cannot work on the other days–a regular evening out with friends or watching a football match in TV isn’t a good enough reason. School or another job or having to take care of a kid is. Keep it on your mind, and make sure that it doesn’t sound as if the job with Chili’s is no. 4 or no. 5 on your list of priorities. It should be no. 1, 2, or 3, always.


How do you feel about working in a fast-paced environment?

The thing with restaurants is that you always have the high hours and the low hours. Because if the place has only “low hours”, it will bankrupt quickly, and if it has only high hours, always packed with customers, and everyone working their ass off for 12 hours a day, nobody will work there for longer than a month. People just wouldn’t handle it.

This is something you should realize and can refer to in your answer. Ensure the interviewers that you are aware of the peak times, and know that in certain times of the day it would hardly be possible to take even a toilet break (unless you really have to go, of course). And you feel you can handle it, because you experienced peak hours in your past job, or simply because you are a hard worker.

Of course, the restaurant won’t be busy all the time. You will enjoy periods of relative calm, when yo will be able to rest a bit and get ready for another peak hour. Considering everything you’ve done before, you believe to be ready for such a routine.


Do you consider yourself a team player?

One thing all these successful restaurant chains have in common is that they work like a Swiss Watch. Team members complement each other, everyone knows what they should do, and if everyone takes care of their duties, the customers will get the level of service they expect. Ensure the interviewers that you realize that the success of other team members depends on you, just like your success depends on them.

Only if everyone tries their best, and follows the working manual to the point, will the restaurant as a whole meet the goals, and attract customers to come back again, and spend more money. Ensure the hiring managers that you are definitely in for teamwork, and cannot wait to get to know your colleagues and help them thrive in their jobs.


Tell us about a challenge you faced at the workplace and how did you handle it.

This is likely the only scenario-based question you may face while interviewing for a job with Chili’s, and it is a pretty general one, which makes things easier for you. Because you can pick any challenge, or difficult situation, such as:

  • Struggling to get along with a colleague.
  • Facing a lot of pressure and deadlines.
  • Feeling overwhelmed with work.
  • Dealing with an extremely difficult customer.
  • Having to multitask.
  • Having to learn a lot of new things in a short time.
  • Facing a big crisis of motivation.
  • and so on, and so forth.

Any challenge you pick, it is important to stress your proactive approach to addressing it. You tried your best. If you couldn’t get along with a colleague, you reached out, had a one on one with them, tried to settle things. When you struggled with deadlines, you stayed overtime or even worked from home to meet them. Facing a crisis of motivation, you reminded yourself what gets you up in the morning, the goals you followed, or talked to the manager and tried to find a solution. And of course when you dealt with a difficult customers, you did what you could to eventually satisfy their request, and tried your best to stay calm and not get involved into any pointless arguments.

Show the hiring managers at Chili’s that you have the right attitude, because that’s exactly what they want to hear.


Why do you consider yourself a good fit for the job?

You may get this question in different variations, such as what are your strengths, why you think you will fit in here, and so on. But the principle remains the same: You should explain them how your skills and personal traits, the second especially, make from you a good applicant for the job.

Saying that you are a team player, enjoy communication with the customers and thrive in a fast-paced environment will work well in 100% of interviews with Chili’s. But you can also add a few characteristics fitting for the exact job you try to get with them. If it is a cook, for example, you can say that you can cook quickly and Mexican dishes are your specialty


Conclusion, next steps

Interviews for basic restaurant jobs at Chili’s Grill & Bar belong to easy interviews. The questions repeat from one location to another, and as long as you follow my hints and get ready for the 7 questions from this article, the hiring managers should not catch you off-guard.

Take it easy, show positive attitude and willingness to work hard, and most often they will hire you. If you will keep the job for months on end is another question, but for now you should simply focus on getting hired. I hope you will succeed, and wish you best of luck!


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Matthew Chulaw
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