Much like working in a restaurant itself, restaurant interviews can be unpredictable. You never know exactly what you’re going to be asked. But there are definitely certain questions that come up more frequently than others, particularly for serving positions. Before you send in your application for a restaurant gig, be sure to brush up on answers to these five common questions, and put yourself in position to land the job you want.
What is your greatest strength?
Where do you shine? What sets you apart from other people up for your position? There’s no place for modesty here. Emphasize your strengths with all the gusto you can muster. But remember, while it’s okay to push the envelope a little, never tell an outright lie. A good answer might sound something like this:
“I have enough experience in the restaurant business that very little can throw me off. Even when things get crazy, I’m able to stay cool and calm, hopefully setting an example for others. Not that I’m any less busy than my coworkers, but I know how to remain focused and get the job done.”
What is your greatest weakness?
Think of this as another opportunity to show off your strengths. With the proper wording, you can make a fault sound desirable, while at the same time still being an honest answer. This way you are still showing that you’re humble, but not hurting your chances of getting the job. One answer might be along the lines of:
“It’s probably true that I am hesitant to ask for help. I feel responsibility for my own work, and don’t like to burden others who have their own set of responsibilities. It’s something that I’m trying to work on, because I know it’s okay and often a good idea to ask a coworker for help.”
What is your favorite part of serving?
Use this question to show your employer that you know your way around a restaurant. Give an answer that uses some common restaurant terminology. Also, use this question to highlight why you want to work in a restaurant. This well let your prospective employer know you’re not just there to collect a paycheck. Here’s an answer that accomplishes what you need:
“I enjoy the constant challenge. Every day is different. Every shift has a new surprise, and I enjoy the challenge of handling them. I also like how I improve more with each one. I always handle a new situation better than the last, and I like the progress I’ve made. This also keeps the job from being boring.”
What is your least favorite part of serving?
Fight the urge to say there’s nothing you dislike. While this is the perfect answer in theory, in reality if falls flat because it’s simply not true. No job is perfect, so pick something that everyone can relate to. Some part of the restaurant business that nobody likes. That way you are being completely honest in your answer, but without sounding undesirable. Here is an answer that any restaurant worker can relate to:
“My least favorite part of serving is bad tips. Not every customer will appreciate my service as much as others. But it’s not something I can change, and I try not to take it personally. I can’t expect every customer to tip the way I would.”
The most common restaurant interview question: why would you make a good addition to the team?
Where do you fit in? Serving is a team effort, so your prospective employer needs to know that can work well with others. They also need to know that you can integrate yourself quickly into your new role. Give an answer that explains how much you value teamwork, and that you can fit in quickly. Here is an answer that fulfills both criteria:
“I’m a team player and a quick learner. Each shift I will try to contribute more to help my coworkers than I ask in return. I think I can still learn a few things from the servers already here, but also hope that I can contribute a bit as well. I hope that as I improve my own skills, others will improve theirs as well.”
Remember to ask yourself these restaurant interview questions before going into the interview. Having a reasonable answer for these questions increases your chances of being hired as a server. If you feel like you would hire yourself, then your prospective employer should as well. And if you need help landing interviews, try a trusted resume and cover letter builder like the one offered by LiveCareer. With a better resume and cover letter, you’ll approach interviews with added confidence--and be more ready to attack those tough questions!