May 26

The Best Interview Questions


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 questions 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 does it take to fill a salt shaker, we decided to ask some restaurant managers what their favorite interview questions are.


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 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?


What questions do you like to ask prospective employees? Hit us up at We’d love to hear from you!


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