Parking is a problem in every big city. When guests arrive to take part in receptions, banquets, and other occasions to celebrate, the last thing they want to bother with is finding a parking place for their expensive SUV, or for their posh Porsche. Many good hotels and event promoters solve this problem employing Valet Attendants (in some cases called simply “Valets”), people who are responsible for driving, parking, and retrieving guest vehicles.
While you do not need any higher education, or years of experience, to get this job, the interview isn’t easy. After all, you will often drive cars worth tens of thousands of dollars, and the last thing a hotel manager wants for their reputation is hiring a valet who will crash two cars on their very first evening in the job. That’s why they approach the hiring process responsibly, and you will have to deal with a couple of tricky questions (and couple of easy ones). Let’s have a look at them right now.
Why do you want to work as a Valet Attendant? (Why did you apply for this job?)
Instead of focusing primarily on what you want to get from the job, focus on what you can offer. You can say that you are an excellent driver, do not mind parking long vehicles, have excellent manners and communication skills, and feel the job of a valet is a good match for your personality, for your strengths.
Then you can say also why you want the job. Perhaps the working hours suit your existing schedule–you go to school still, or have another job during the day, so working in the evenings (when most receptions and celebrations take place) is ideal for you. You can also say that you enjoy being around successful people (whatever it means to you), and no doubt you will attend cars of many such people in your job. The key is to clearly show that you really want the job, and do not just randomly apply for vacancies, or badly need any source of income.
Tell us more about your experience with driving cars.
Variety is the answer. You should say that you have driven a number of vehicles, perhaps in another job, or you enjoy going for a test-drive, or that you have passion for cars and always have to try any new car your friends have.
What’s more, it is good to mention that you have vast experience driving in the city. Narrow streets, traffic jams, busy parking lots–you’ve seen it all and handled it all, and have no doubt that your driving experiences have prepared you for the job of a valet. I also suggest you to mention the number of miles you’ve covered sitting at the wheel, especially if it is a big number, one that demonstrates that you have some driving behind you.
Have you ever had an accident?
They can easily do their background check, therefor I suggest you to be honest (unless you have had more than two accidents already, in such a case it is better skipping the information). If you had an accident before, explain them the situation, and ensure them that you learned your lesson. Make sure that you do not blame other person for the accident. Even if they were in the wrong, and you had the right of way and they hit into you, you know that if you were more vigilant and predicted their move, you could have avoided the accident. And for sure that’s what you will do in your new job.
You can also emphasize that you always focus 100% on driving. No phone calls, no distractions, no thinking about tomorrow. Your focus helps you to avoid any accidents, and you want to keep it for years to come, and definitely when driving a vehicle costing over $100K. While speed matters in this job, safety is your first priority, and you won’t take any risks.
Do you have any experience dealing with upper-middle class people, rich people?
It depends on your future place of work, but more often than not, your clients will be rich. And such people have their moods, of course… Some are extremely picky, some are completely normal, some would get upset waiting for 10 second for your attention, some may give you their keys already being high… All of that belongs to the job, and you should ensure the hiring managers that you are ready for every sort of treatment.
When it comes to experience, you either have it or don’t. Makes no sense telling lies, but perhaps you worked in some posh restaurant before, or golf club and whatever, and have had the pleasure of helping rich clients in one way or another. The most important thing is to show confidence in your ability to deal with such people, regardless of whether you have relevant working experience.
You can also say that you carry no rancor or prejudice in your heart. It doesn’t matter to you much who the client is, and how much money they earn. You plan to treat everyone with respect and courtesy, regardless of the way they treat you, and what they say. That’s what the hiring managers want to hear from you.
Imagine that a client is extremely upset about having to wait for their car a bit longer. How will you react in such a situation?
Ensure them that you won’t react in any way. You will apologize–even when you have nothing to apologize for, and ensure them the situation won’t repeat again next time. Needless to say, you cannot afford any lengthy interactions with the clients, since once you return one car someone else is likely already waiting for their own shiny symbol of status and richness.
You can also say that you understand some people will be rough with you, and simply take it as a part of the job. Trying your best with every client, once they leave with their car you already turn your focus to another guest, regardless of what the former one said to you.
How do you deal with long shifts, working in the night?
Working as a valet attendant, you won’t often enjoy the luxury of standard working hours. Because any good party or networking event does not have a final hour set in stone… As long as guests are having a good time and spending money, someone should be there to take care of their vehicles. As someone from the banking sector rightly say in the eve of 2008 financial crisis: “As long as the music plays, we dance”.
Tell the hiring managers that you are flexible and adaptable. As long as you are paid for the hours at work, you do not mind staying until the morning. You can even say that you are a night owl and prefer to work at night–especially when you know the job entails it…
Other questions you may face in your valet attendant interview
- One of the guests is heavily drunk and asks you to bring the car. How will you react?
- Imagine that a guest gives you a 100 dollar bill as a tip. Will you accept it? What will you say to them?
- Imagine that three guests (with three different cars) arrive virtually at once. What will you do?
- A guest insists that they want to park their car alone (since they don’t trust anyone with their beloved vehicle). What will you do?
- Many people apply for this position of a valet. Why should we choose you?
- How do you feel about working in the rain (snow, etc)?
- After everything we’ve discussed here, do you have any question?
Interview for a position of a valet attendant belongs to interviews with average difficulty. The questions are quite predictable and you can prepare for them in advance, for example with the help of this article. On the other hand, due to low entry requirements you may sometimes compete with many other job applicants. As it is always the case, the more people you compete with, the harder it is to stand out…. I hope you will manage to succeed, and wish you best of luck!
May also help you succeed: 15 most common interview questions + sample answers.