May 26

The Best Interview Questions for Hiring Managers


A Round-up of the Best Interview Questions for Restaurant Hiring Managers—From the Perspective of Restaurant Hiring Managers!

So you’ve listed a job (on Poached, naturally) and have arranged for some interviews for that open position that’s been haunting your schedule. An important part of any hiring process is the questions you ask your candidates.

A good question tells you something about the candidate that you might not be able to learn otherwise. The best interview questions hiring managers can ask are ones that open up a dialogue between the candidate and yourself that will lead to a successful hire.

Since we can’t all be Google and ask how many grains of salt it takes to fill a salt shaker, we decided to ask some restaurant managers what their favorite interview questions are.

The Best Interview Questions From Restaurant Hiring Managers

Jim Goodall
Madison Kitchen
Seattle, WA

I like to ask candidates to tell me something about themselves that wouldn’t come up during the course of a typical job interview. This sometimes throws people off, so I give them a ‘for example’ and tell them something about myself. This gives them a few moments to think about it and see that I want something other than more of the same sales pitch.

One guy, a musician, told me how he was a rather accomplished marching band drummer until he fell out of a tree and broke both wrists….then he learned the guitar.  I ended up hiring him, and that statement said a lot about him…


Kevin O’Brien
The Biltmore Grille
Newton Upper Falls, MA

My favorite question to ask is what is their idea of good hospitality. I have never received the same answer twice and I have never received a bad answer. It helps me gauge what is important to the person I am interviewing and how they will fit into the establishment.

Some of the answers I have received revolve around giving prompt service, menu knowledge, being able to interact with the guests, being able to handle large volume without it effecting the service, going above and beyond for guests, building regulars, and how they handle the guest when something goes wrong.


Marcus Chase
Produce Row Cafe
Portland, OR

I like to ask the person being interviewed the big “Why do you work in hospitality?” question. I find that this question gets straight to the point and gives the applicant the opportunity to sell their skill set and who they are to me as if it were a direct pitch. I’m looking for a list of things from them:

Do they like people?
Do they thrive in a fast-paced environment?
Do they like to sell product and if so, do they get off on up-selling?
Can they make eye contact with me while they make their pitch?
Do they have a good story or some examples of why they like the job?

Best Practices When Developing Interview Questions For Hiring Managers

There are many ways to get creative in your interview questions that will help you understand the person on a deeper level—even after a short 30-minute conversation!

Of course, there are also questions you should never ask, so be sure to follow the job description and understand how the candidate’s previous work experience aligns with the role. 

The best course of action is to sit down and document your favorite interview questions to create an interview process. This way, you’re a little more prepared for future interviews, staying consistent between candidates, and having something to improve upon! 


About the author

Poached Jobs

Poached is the nation's leading hospitality employment platform helping a network of over 1M hospitality professionals and 70K businesses connect over meaningful employment opportunities.


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