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Host and Server Interview Questions

Host and Server Interview Questions

Last updated on 5/22/2019

When interviewing potential employees for your restaurant, it’s important to ask the right questions to help you identify the strongest candidates. While you can and should always train your employees to further learn and develop, you want to be sure that your employees have the fundamental characteristics to be successful at your restaurant. We’ve compiled a list of important restaurant interview questions to ask potential servers and hosts, so you can choose the most qualified employees for your restaurant.

Server Interview Questions

Female server holding three plates

Below we go through the most important server interview questions. We take you through the basic questions that will allow you to easily identify your candidate’s intentions and whether they have the practical qualifications to work for you. Next, we’ll provide questions that may require more thought from your candidate. These are the questions that can help you easily discern the good from the great when it comes to choosing the right server for your restaurant.

Basic Server Interview Questions

The following questions are a great way to gauge your candidate’s interest in the position at your company. These server interview questions can determine if the candidate can meet the basic needs of your server position.

  • What makes you interested in this position?
  • Why did you leave your last restaurant job?
  • What is the easiest part of being a server? What is the most difficult?
  • How many customers or tables are you used to or able to serve at one time?
  • Are you willing to work night or early morning shifts?
  • How long do you plan on staying with us? What is your long-term vision for your career?
  • Do you have reliable transportation?
  • Can you work holidays?
  • Are you comfortable upselling menu items?
  • Do you have a workable knowledge of wine?

In this instance, feel free to replace “wine” with a more relevant food or drink to your business. This could include beer, cheese, bread, or whatever you find to be your business’s specialty.

Behavior-Based Server Interview Questions

Once your candidate has answered the above basic questions to your satisfaction, it’s time to move on to more character-based and skill- and knowledge-based questions. These questions are designed to determine how your candidate thinks under pressure, what they’ve learned from previous work experiences, and how they’ll handle adverse situations in your restaurant.

  • What do you believe is necessary to create a hospitable, enjoyable experience for your guests?
  • What would you say if a guest asked you a question you did not know the answer to?
  • How do you handle a fast-paced work environment?
  • Tell about a time you were involved in a conflict or challenge in the workplace and how it was resolved.
  • Give an example when you successfully worked with a team to accomplish a goal, and share your role in the process.
  • What would you do if you saw a table in someone else's section who hadn't been greeted for an extended period of time?
  • What would you do if you saw a co-worker being rude to a customer?
  • You have a tray with food ready to go out for a table of four, but you notice one of the steaks is overcooked. What do you do?

In this section, feel free to add in questions specific to your business’s work culture.

Host and Hostess Interview Questions

Male server handing menu to a female at a table of three

Your host or hostess is the first and last face your customers see when they come to your restaurant. This means you have the responsibility to hire someone who can create a positive and inviting first impression and a memorable last impression as well. They essentially serve as the face of your restaurant, which means your candidate needs to have a welcoming and pleasant demeanor. Use these host or hostess interview questions to help find the perfect match for your business.

Basic Host and Hostess Interview Questions

Similar to finding the right server, these basic hostess interview questions are meant to gauge the interest of your applicant and weed out any mismatched candidates. Your candidate’s ability to answer these questions comfortably and sincerely can determine whether they make it through to the next round. These questions will help paint a picture for you of how the applicant will fit in at your business as well as their level of commitment to the job.

  • What were your primary responsibilities at previous jobs?
  • Why did you leave your last restaurant job?
  • Are you fluent in any other languages besides English?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • What do you enjoy about the hospitality industry?
  • Are you willing to work night or early morning shifts?
  • How long do you plan on staying with us? What is your long-term vision for your career?

Behavior-Based Host and Hostess Interview Questions

Once you’ve determined your applicant possesses the basic skills and desire to work for you, it’s time to introduce a few thought-provoking questions. These are perfect for seeing how the candidate handles high-pressure situations or how well they interact with others.

Your host or hostess must be a master at juggling a number of responsibilities including taking reservations, answering phone calls, managing wait lists, assigning seating, and scheduling employee duties. Because of this, it’s imperative you find the right candidate who has the ability to multi-task with a smile. These are the questions that could help you determine which candidate is best to represent you and your business at the front-of-house hostess stand.

  • What do you think makes the biggest impact on the guests’ perception of service?
  • A guest is upset due to the long wait time for a table. How would you respond?
  • Give an example when you successfully worked with a team to accomplish a goal, and share your role in the process.
  • How do you handle multi-tasking?
  • What does the word “hospitality” mean to you?
  • What would you do if someone walked in the door as the phone began to ring?
  • Give an example of a conflict in the workplace and how you handled it.
  • How can your personality contribute to our restaurant?
  • In your opinion, what is the most important part of being a host or hostess?

Above all, it's important that your servers and hosts work well with customers and with each other. Look for confident and friendly contenders who make consistent eye contact during the interview and smile often. It helps if they've had prior restaurant experience, but it's certainly not necessary if they have a great attitude and a willingness to learn.

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