Interviews can be exciting, but they can also be kind of awkward. So here are some interview questions you should prepare for, because you’ve got to get them right.
Job interviews take time to get used to, especially with all the interview questions. But the more you do them, the more familiar you get with the experience and the better you can handle the unpredictability. Sometimes, I still get caught off guard with an interview question, and then I feel like I’m having an out-of-body experience — watching myself as a character in a stupid comedy where someone says something so awkward that as the viewer I get uncomfortable for them. Then I return to reality and realize that “them” is me, it’s not a movie and I really did just bomb the interview with a poorly formulated answer.
There’s good news though: you can prepare yourself for those uncomfortable interview questions that you need to get right, and here’s a few you should know:
How would you describe your experience?
One of the first interview questions you might get asked is to describe your experience. Whether that’s from the last place you worked, or just your level of experience overall, the employer is looking to see how much you know and if that knowledge fits what they’re looking for.
The best way to answer this question is to do it confidently and honestly. If you exaggerate your level of experience, it could come back to haunt you in the working interview. But if you’re applying for a position at a restaurant that seems a little advanced for your experience, focus on your achievements and how you’re ready to take the next step. Restaurant employers typically like motivation and sometimes training someone new is a good thing — this way they can try to mold your malleable mind into the worker of their dreams…hopefully.
Describe a customer conflict you’ve had and how you handled it?
You’ll likely hear this question a lot because employers want a glimpse of what customer service means to you and how you problem solve. It can be a tricky question though — some employers have different opinions on how customer service should be handled.
Think of a real life scenario that you felt you handled very well, and use that example. Make sure to describe the end result – for instance, did the customer come back after that incident? Did they seem pleased when they left? The employer wants to know that you can reflect on your actions and that you have the ability to mend problems in a way that keeps customers coming back — even the disgruntled ones.
If you don’t answer this interview question correctly, someone else will.
Are you familiar with our restaurant?
This question might seem innocent enough; I mean they obviously aren’t assuming you are familiar with them since they’re asking, right? So what’s the harm in being honest and saying no? EVERYTHING. Even if you’ve never eaten at the restaurant you should at least look them up online. If you’re able, go eat at the establishment or at least have a drink. That way you can get a peak at their menu, their atmosphere and what the other workers are like. This small piece of advice is not only so you can rock this interview question, but also so you can get an idea if the establishment will be a good fit for you.
Employers are asking this question because it’s important to them that you’re familiar with who they are and that you’re interested enough in the job to take that extra step. If you don’t answer this interview question correctly, someone else will.
Why did you leave, or are you leaving, your current job?
This is one interview question you’re likely to get asked and it’s because the answer you provide can say a lot about you. Employers want to know why you’re leaving your current position for various reasons, but they might be searching for red flags as well.
No matter the reason you’re leaving your current position, try to spin it off in a positive way. For instance, if you’ve held your current job for a few years you could say that you’re ready for something new and an opportunity to grow. If you haven’t been somewhere very long you could say something about location or availability. No matter what you say, avoid bashing anyone you work with or the job itself.
Do you have any questions for us?
A good rule of thumb is to always come prepared with questions. First off, the interview is also for you. You want to make sure that if you’re offered the job, it’s really somewhere you’d want to work. Secondly, the employer wants to know that you have questions. They want to see a level of interaction and interest, because to them it shows that you’re truly interested. In our industry there is a lot of staff turnover, so employers want to make sure whoever they hire is interested enough to stick around at least 6 months, but ideally more.