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How to Prepare for a Restaurant Job Interview

"What is your spaghetti policy here?"
"What is your spaghetti policy here?"

Whether you’re an old hand at interviewing or a total newb—learning how to prepare for a restaurant job interview can make a huge difference in landing your dream job.  

So, you’ve submitted an amazing resume and have been called back for a job interview. These are exciting times, but you have a few more steps to tackle before celebrating a new job. If you’re like me, then you find the interview a trickier step in the hiring process because it’s full of unknowns—but it doesn’t have to be. Learning how to prepare for a restaurant job interview can go a long way in combating the anxiety of not knowing what to expect, it may even give you the knowledge and confidence you need to be invited to a working interview.

Whether you get jitters before the big day or not, here’s some advice on how to prepare for a restaurant job interview, because it never hurts to think ahead.

Start by doing a little research about the job. At this point, you’ve probably read a lot of job ads and maybe applied to a few along the way. Go back and find the job ad you are interviewing for and read it over to familiarize yourself with the job title, what is expected of that role and why you applied to it in the first place.

After reviewing the job ad, highlight or jot down any skills or achievements required in the position that you have. Then, pick three or four of your strongest—the ones you definitely want the employer to remember when thinking back on your interview. You can use these as focal points in the interview which will help keep you on track and organized.

Next, research the restaurant. Who’s the owner? What’s the history? Go online and look at some menus or better yet, if there’s time, go dine there. Researching the business is an important step in deciding if the job will be a good fit for you.  And if it is, you have more of a connection that will come through in the interview.

On top of researching the restaurant, do some self-reflecting. What’s important to you in a job? Are there any deal breakers that you should ask about before accepting an offer? It’s beneficial to have some genuine questions prepared so that you know the restaurant will be a good fit. And remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.

After you have some research under your belt, you can start practicing for the interview. Try having a friend run through some mock interview questions. This will get you comfortable answering questions on the spot and allow you to take note of certain questions you might need to work on.

Finally, it’s time to arrange yourself for the interview. Do you know what you are going to wear? And are you 100% it’s clean and wrinkle free? For an independent restaurant you might be interviewing with one or two people, but with bigger restaurant groups you could have three or more people sitting in. So, make extra copies of your resume—three to five should do and store them nicely in a folder. Bring a notepad and a pen to take notes and to have your list of questions on hand. Lastly, plan your trip with enough time to show up at least five minutes early.

Interviews are hard! But learning how to prepare for a restaurant job interview can make it so much easier. Taking a couple (maybe a few) extra hours to set yourself up can make a big difference in how you perform.


Ashley McNally

Ashley McNally likes to cook, loves to bake, and is always dreaming of her next meal. With over 13 years of experience working in various roles within a restaurant — McNally has made a home in hospitality.

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