Hilton operates almost 600 hotels on six different continents. The company employs more than 300,000 people, both full time and part time, mostly in their hotels, but also in their many corporate offices around the globe. In 2020, Fortune magazine ranked it as the no. 1 employer on their Fortune List of the Top 100 Companies to Work For, based on an employee survey of satisfaction. Not many companies have achieved this feat over the years. Summarized and underlined, if you want to work in hospitality or in hotel industry in particular, Hilton is definitely one of the best choices out there.

They have sophisticated interview process in place, with many behavioral (scenario-based) questions, tailored for the position you try to get with the company. And they will always ask about your experience, why Hilton (and not one of their competitors), etc. As you can imagine, scenario-based questions for marketing manager differ to scenario based questions for a front desk employee, or for a barista. But because most people seeking Hilton interview questions online apply for one of the positions in the hotel, we will focus on questions you may face while applying for one of these positions. Let’s have a look at them.


Why do you want to work for Hilton Hotels? Why not one of our competitors?

99% of Hilton managers are incredibly proud of the company and their achievements. Therefor you should praise Hilton–and it is easy, because if you’ve ever stayed at one of their places, you know how good the hotels are. You can talk about their no. 1 position on the Fortune list of top 100 companies to work for. At the end of the day, who would not want to work for one of the best employers in the country?

But you can also talk about their amazing benefits, the culture of excellence, overall reputation of Hilton hotels, career growth opportunities, or even your personal preference for the brand when it comes to staying somewhere during your holiday. What I suggest you though is to avoid criticizing other hotel chains, competitors of Hilton such as Hyatt or Sheraton. It simply doesn’t show the right attitude. Focus on what makes Hilton special in your eyes, why you like them, instead of throwing dirt on any of their competitors.


Do you have any experience in customer service?

Guests do not return to Hilton Hotels just because they like spending their hard-earned money. They return to the place to enjoy the amazing level of customer service they get, each and every time. And that’s why it is important to point this our, regardless of whether you have any previous experience (but most likely you have, otherwise you would not even make it to the interviews).

So, explain what you did–be it at the front desk, in the restaurant, or even why cleaning rooms. Ensure the hiring managers at Hilton that delivering an outstanding customer service is your first priority, because you understand that success or failure of any luxury hotel chain depends primarily on an ability of repeatedly deliver such a service.

Try to mention some details and numbers in your answer–they help with credibility. You can say for how many years you’ve had this or that position, the overall rating the hotel got from the customers on major booking sites (something you contributed to with your work), and so on.


Tell us about a time when you demonstrated teamwork.

Working culture at Hilton is centered around teamwork. Now it doesn’t mean that employees help each other at random, and that when there are many people in the cafeteria a barista will call a chambermaid and she will run down and help making coffee… On the contrary, each employee has an exact list of duties, for each given day, and they know exactly what they should do.

However, everyone has to deliver, in order to make sure the guests will have an amazing stay, from the moment they enter the lobby for the first time, until the second they leave it at the end of their stay. That’s how they interpret teamwork at Hilton, plus of course they have internal teams on different workstations–reception, restaurant, etc. They want to hear that you are a team player, and actually thrive in this type of working culture.

Tell them about a situation when you went above and beyond for a colleague. Maybe they didn’t have a good day, or felt sick. You did the extra work, took an extra shift. Or explain how you helped new hires ease into their role in your former workplace. You patiently mentored them during the first weeks, making sure that they understand everything and are ready to deliver an excellent service. Try to talk with enthusiasm while narrating a situation which demonstrates your spirit for teamwork. Hiring managers at Hilton should get an impression that you enjoy belonging to a hard-working and excellence driven team.

Imagine that a furious guest came to the front desk and complained that they found hair in the bathtub. How would you react?

One of the drawbacks of working in five star hotels is that you may often deal with customers who expect nothing but perfection. And that’s fine most of the time, but at the end of the day everyone can make a mistake. Compared to a three star hotel or some bed and breakfast, a place in which the guest would simply remove the hair from the bathtub before going in and having a bath, in Hilton they may run down to the reception and start screaming. And you should be ready.

Say that first and foremost you would apologize for an “intolerable mistake”. You would send the maid to the room immediately, or even offer the guest a new room–of course if you had any rooms available. You’d also report on the incident to the manager, and ensure the guest it’s not going to happen again.

You can say that after that you’d wait for their reaction, and react accordingly. Most often than not they would eventually calm down, though it may take some time. Ensure the hiring managers that you understand guest is always right at Hilton, and in no way you would start an argument with them, or raise your voice.


Imagine that twenty guests arrive at the front desk at the same time. What will you do?

The type of people who stay at Hilton are not used to waiting in the queue. But it can happen that many of them arrive at the same time, and you should show the interviewers that you are ready to handle such a scenario with style.

For example, you may suggest that while your colleague starts checking in the first customers, you will walk and greet the others, offer them a free drink and a place to sit in the lobby, while they have to wait. Then you will inform the people at the bar to bring fresh orange juice or something else refreshing. You can also say that you will try to get through the check-in as quickly as possible, to minimize the waiting time. Whatever you do, you will make sure the situation is as pleasant for the guests as possible, in the given circumstances. Show the hiring managers that you have the right attitude, and will always try your best for the guests.


How long do you want to stay with Hilton Hotels?

Unless you have a completely different plan, you should try to connect your future with Hilton–at least while talking to the hiring managers in the interviews. You can even think about a job you’d like to have in two years time and five years time, considering your starting point with Hilton, and your experience so far.

People at Hilton know how difficult it is to hire quality people, and they do not want to see you go after six months or one year with Hilton. Ensure them that you’d love to stay–of course as long as you prove your skills, and eventually get a chance for a promotion.


Other questions you may face in your interview with Hilton Hotels

  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Tell me about the most difficult situation you had to address in your last hotel job.
  • Describe a situation when you demonstrated leadership.
  • In your opinion, what makes you a good fit for this position at Hilton?
  • If you could improve one thing about this hotel, what would it be?
  • We’d like to know you more as a person. Can you tell us what you enjoy to do in your free time?
  • After everything we’ve discussed up to this point, do you have any questions?


Final thoughts, next steps

Speaking in general, hotel interviews belong to easy interviews. But Hilton is not just another hotel chain… While many smaller hotels struggle to hire anyone to work at the front desk, Hilton can have 20-50 applicants for any position, including the chambermaid. Now it is not always the case, and it depends also on the situation on the employment market. But they pay better than most places do, and they ranked no. 1 on the list of best employers in the US for a reason. Such things give them an edge. They can choose, and they obviously try to choose the best.

The message I try to convey here is that you should spend enough time preparing for this interview, if you want to stand any chance of succeeding. Read as much as you can about Hilton–their history, values they promote, their working environment. Prepare for the questions, especially for the scenario-based questions, and make sure to bring any recommendations you have from your former employees to the interview. I hope you will manage to ace this one, and wish you best of luck!


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Matthew Chulaw
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