A job interview is a two-way exchange. Not only do you need to impress a potential employer by learning how to write a resume, but it’s also an opportunity for you to determine if this is a job YOU actually want. Before accepting a job offer, you should find out as much about your potential employer as possible. Having some hospitality interview questions to ask the interviewer shows you are serious and interested in the job, and the answers will give you better insight into both the challenges of the role and opportunities it presents.
You’ll want to avoid obvious hospitality interview questions you should know the answers to by doing some research on the company’s website. Here are the areas you might want to ask about when determining which hospitality interview questions to ask:
- Figure out the target audience: Large hotel chains and small inns often cater to very different clientele with different needs and interests. Geography also plays an important role in this equation, as do local annual events.
- Customer service philosophy: Figure out the company’s stance on how they deal with customer issues. Ask how issues are resolved, and whether employees have budget flexibility and freedom when it comes to solving guest problems.
- Map your future: Ask how you can expand your career with this company over the next three to five years and whether or not there’s room for you to grow. If you have a focused area of interest, like event planning or staff management, make that clear, and find out how this company can help you develop those skills.
- Workplace culture: Ask about the company atmosphere. Don’t lead the interviewer toward one answer or another, and listen carefully to the response. Does the interviewer use words like “intense” and “driven,” or does she suggest that the environment here is team-oriented, relaxed and collaborative?
- The interviewer’s experience: Ask your interviewer about her time at the company, how she started here in the first place and what she likes most and least about the company. There’s no need to get too personal, but answers to questions like these can provide you with some insight into how the company treats its employees. You’ll also give the employer an opportunity to show off a little.
Here are some specific hospitality interview questions to ask during an initial interview:
- Why is this role open?
It’s good to know what happened to the person previously in the role – if there were five temporary employees in this role before, it’s not a good sign! However, it would be a good sign if your predecessor was promoted because that means the company likes promoting internally. This is one of the key hospitality interview questions to ask!
- Why do you like most/least about working here?
It’s always good to find out what a insider has to say about working there. Also, this question will make the interviewer step out of their official corporate role and answer the question personally as a potential future colleague.
- What would you expect a successful candidate to achieve/deliver in the first three-to-six months? or What are the main priorities of this role?
It’s good to have clarity on what the expectations are and that you can deliver. The last thing you want is to be misled about the requirements of the job and start thinking you’ve made a mistake 2 weeks into the job!
- What are the company's future plans?
It doesn’t have to be this exact question, but ask a question that will show you’ve done your homework and research. You might want to ask about their plans for new product or services or market expansion.
- Does the hotel (resort or restaurant) have a policy of promoting from within?
This is important to know if you're looking to progress in your career.
- What's the next step? When are you planning to fill the role?
You don’t want to leave the interview room not knowing what the next step in the process would be. The company likely has other candidates scheduled for interviewers, but you’ll want to know when you’re likely to hear back after your initial interview.
Ask how you can expand your career with this company over the next three to five years and whether or not there’s room for you to grow. If you have a focused area of interest, like event planning or staff management, make that clear, and find out how this company can help you develop those skills.
The common mistakes some jobseekers make is that they make the answers all about what they want - rather than what they can do for the employer. At least during the initial interview, do your best to avoid these questions about salary or how many vacation or sick days you’ll get.
Here's the deal when it comes to hospitality and food service job interviews: don't think of the interview as an interrogation; treat it like a conversation in which both you and interviewer will determine if this is a good fit of your skills and the job needs.
By preparing for the interview, and having some hospitality interview questions to ask, you'll feel less nervous, and you’ll appear better prepared, which will set you apart from the competition.
Additional Resources for Jobseekers: