More than one million people work in hotels all around the world. And while you won’t find two interviews that are exactly the same, and questions for a concierge will always differ from questions for a chambermaid or a receptionist, we can certainly find some similarities and questions that are common for hotel interviews in general, regardless of the job you try to get with the hotel.

In this article I will focus on such questions. You will understand what the interviewers want to hear from you, and how to answer their questions. Then, at the end, I will refer to articles that discuss interviews for specific jobs in hotels, such as a hotel manager, concierge, or receptionist. Enjoy!


Why do you want to work for our hotel?

Focus on something that makes the place special–either for you, or for the guests. It can be an amazing location (a place where you always wanted to work, and guests love to come), excellent training program for new hires (something you look forward to).

You can refer to top reviews they got on and other websites, to the range of facilities they offer to their guests (or pick one that is really special), or to anything else that makes the hotel unique in your eyes.

Employee turnover is very high in hotel industry. You should convince them that you like their hotel, that you have a good reason for your choice, and won’t leave the place after a first argument with your superior, or as soon as you find a better salary offer in a nearby hotel.

hotel employee handing some towels on the bed

How do you imagine a typical day in work in our hotel?

Your typical day depends on the size of the hotel, and scope of your responsibilities. In small hotels you may respond for a huge variety of duties, ranging from reception to room service.  In a big hotel, however, you will have one role only (for example a chef, porter, or receptionist). It will be very clear what you should do, and job description should give you an idea.

Anyway, you should say that you expect to be busy, and work hard. Talk about things you will do in job, your duties, and not about working breaks such as going for a lunch, or enjoying a cigarette with your colleagues somewhere behind the hotel.

You will enjoy these nice things, but it is better not mentioning them in an interview.


How do you feel about working in the night? (Would you mind doing 12 hour/ 16 hour shifts?)

One of the drawbacks of most hotel jobs is shift working. Most good hotels operate 24-hour reception desk, and someone always has to be on duty.

What is more, you will have to work on some weekends, and 12 hours, 16 hours, or even 24 hours shifts are not uncommon in a hotel industry.

The key is to show willingness to do this. Say that you can stay focused in the night, that you do not mind long shifts, and understand it is impossible to avoid weekend shifts altogether, in any hotel. You can backup your claim with your experience, referring to long shifts or weekends work which you had to do in your last job.


What would you do if a hotel guest accused you of a bad service?

Guest is always right. Even when they are wrong. You should say that you would do your very best to remedy the situation, and to bring smile back on their face.

Say that you would never argue with the guest, and would address each complaint in a calm voice. You can also say that you would try to learn from the experience, understand what went wrong, and ensure the situation would not repeat again.

Reception desk at a big hotel

Imagine that one of our guests flirted with you, or invited you for a date. What would be your reaction?

A typical hotel policy is clear in this case: any relationships with guests are strictly forbidden, and you can lose your job for starting one.

On the other hand, you should remain courteous, and generous with the customers. And that is tough to do when you have to refuse someone’s invitation for a dinner, or for a drink.

What I observed in talks with a few receptionists (very good looking women) is the following strategy: They politely thanked the guest for the invitation, but said that they were married (even if they were not), and therefor had to refuse the invitation.

This is one of the ways how to stick to the hotel policy but at the same time not offend the guest. You can suggest the same strategy (or a similar one).


Other questions you may get in your hotel interview

  • Where do you see yourself in five years time? (Ensure them that you do not plan to change your career, that they can count with you at least for a couple of years. You can suggest a position you could have by that time–lead receptionist, shift manager, etc.)
  • Describe a situation when you went above and beyond with your service. (The most important thing is your attitude–tell them that you always try your very best for the guests, and feel good helping them, even going above and beyond your standard duties).
  • What are your salary expectations? (Hotel employees do not earn great, and you should lower your initial expectations. Of course you may get promoted, or they will offer you a raise, but you can hardly negotiate a better starting salary. Saying that you will accept what they pay to all their new hires is therefor the best option.)
  • Why did you leave your last hotel job?/Why do you want to leave your present job? (A tricky question. Try to avoid negative remarks about your former colleagues and bosses. You can say that you simply needed a change, a location was not good, or that there were some internal problems, but you can not talk about them since you are bound with an NDA. )
  • Do you have any questions? (You should definitely ask something. Good options are asking about the training program for new hires, next steps of the recruitment process, or anything that relates to your future job in the hotel:duties, shifts, team, transport, ability to sleep in the hotel, etc.)

Special Tip: Download the list of questions in a one page long PDF, print it, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

hotel interview, list of questions, PDF

Conclusion and next steps

Interviews in hotels do not belong to difficult interviews, mostly because the competition isn’t high, and they need to hire someone.

Prepare for the questions from this article, and bring some positive energy with you on a big day. Enthusiasm, motivation, and willingness to work hard can take you a long way in a typical hotel interview.

You can also check some questions that are specific for particular jobs you can have in a hotel:

Matthew Chulaw
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