Interview questions should address any concerns regarding the applicant’s suitability in terms of skills, personal characteristics, and remuneration. Often, by asking questions (similar to many of those listed below) that reflect the candidate’s behaviour in past situations, you will be better able to assess the likelihood of the candidate’s success in the future. However, it is important to note that all good questions are not necessarily behavioural based, and a combination of various forms of interview questions will allow you to form the most accurate and complete assessment of the candidate. Some questions to ask yourself based on the candidates responses are:


What evidence/examples have you that:

  • The applicant can do the job?
  • The applicant possesses the skills required to fulfill the job role and to become a productive employee within a reasonable time frame?
  • The applicant has demonstrated that he or she has done these same job duties before?
  • The applicant was successful in previous work situations?

Also consider:

  • What types of problems did the applicant encounter at previous employers, and did the applicant demonstrate problem-solving abilities and/or acquire new skills to resolve the issue?
  • If the applicant has not performed this job or job duties elsewhere, can he or she prove the necessary skills to succeed in this role?

Personal Characteristics

What indications have you noticed that suggest the applicant:

  • Is motivated to perform the role well?
  • Seems genuinely interested by the available position?
  • Possesses the drive and self-confidence to do the job?
  • Is likely to remain with the company long enough to provide a return on the investment of time, energy, and money spent by the company on recruiting and training this individual?
  • Seems like a good fit for the company’s culture, values, attitudes, work style, etc?
  • Is a team player?
  • Appears as though he or she will be a positive influence on co-workers?
  • Will take direction well and communicate clearly and efficiently?
  • Will be easy to manage?
  • Will adapt well to the company’s existing leadership style?
  • Will adhere to and support all organizational policies and procedures?


  • Can the organization afford the applicant?
  • Is the salary range in keeping with the applicant’s salary history?
  • Will the benefits package meet the applicant’s needs?

Suggested Interview Questions

Customer Service

  • Give me an example of a situation in which you provided exemplary customer service.
  • Tell me about a time when you’ve handled a dissatisfied customer. Why was the customer dissatisfied? What did you do? What was the result?
  • What specific things have you done to establish a “customer-first” attitude in the businesses you have worked in?

Work Ethic

  • Tell me about a time when you had to “go the extra mile.” What were the circumstances? What made it an “extra mile? What did you do? What were the results? Given that most people don’t want to make “going the extra mile” a part of their everyday routine, when have you had to say “no” when an extra mile was called for?
  • Give me a specific example of something you do as part of your normal duties that you take pride in: something you do as well as or better than anyone else. (Do not accept generalities like “make a guest feel welcome”). How do you know XXXX is well done? Describe what you did, how you did it, etc.
  • What do you consider your greatest strength? Give me an example of how you used this strength to benefit your last employer.
  • What do you know about this company, our business, and our clients? Why do you want to do this job? What unique skills would you bring to this company?
  • Tell me about an instance in your career when you were wrong about something, even though you were absolutely sure you were right. How did you deal with the fallout?


  • Give me an example of something you have done that you are proud of where you had a goal to achieve with little or no direction and nobody was “looking over your shoulder” to make sure it got done. What did you do? What were the results? What are some reasons you are you proud of this particular achievement?
  • Give me a personal or career goal you set for yourself a couple of years ago and tell me what you have done to achieve it? What were some of the challenges you faced and what did you do to overcome them?
  • What really motivates you in a workplace? Give me an example of when you felt extremely motivated at work?
  • Where do you see yourself in five years from now? Why? What are your long-term career goals? Give me an example of how you are preparing now in order to achieve your future goals?

Interpersonal Skills

  • Describe a situation in which your work was criticized. How did you react? What was the result?
  • Tell me about a confrontation that you’ve had with a co-worker. What caused the confrontation? How did you react? What happened as a result of the confrontation?
  • How would your former co-workers or managers describe you?

Responding to Pressure

  • Give me an example of how you resolved a problem without any rules or guidelines to assist you.
  • Tell me about a time when you have had to make an unpopular decision that was not well received? How did you deal with the fallout.
  • Provide me with an example of how you’ve handled an emergency or high-pressured situation. What was the result?


  • One of the requirements of this job is the ability to multi-task on a regular basis. Tell me about a recent job you’ve had where this was also an important requirement.
  • Describe the multi-tasking you were required to perform, how often, and under what time constraints.
  • What will your previous supervisor tell us when we ask how well you demonstrated this skill?


  • Tell me about a successful team you were a member of. What made the team successful? What specifically was your role on the team and what contribution did you make to its success?
  • What types of co-workers or managers irritate you? How do you deal with these types of people?
  • How would you describe the difference between leadership and management? What characteristics or competencies do you look for in a manager or leader?
  • How do you work when you’re alone, as opposed to working in a group?


  • How many days were you absent from work last year (days you were scheduled to work)? How does the number of days you were absent compare to those of your co-workers?


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Human Resources in the Food Service and Hospitality Industry Copyright © 2015 by The BC Cook Articulation Committee is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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