Hospo Voice

5 common hospitality interview questions (plus 3 you should ask them)

January 21, 2021

How to prepare for a hospo job interview

You want to spread your wings and try a new hospo venue so you send your CV out. Next thing you know, you’ve got an interview for that hot, new bar down the road. But just thinking about the performance pressure of an interview is making your hands sweat and your heart race.

Interviews are an inevitable part of getting a new hospo job and it’s worth getting prepared so you’re not caught on the hop. Here are some common hospitality interview questions to think about. More importantly, we’ve also got some questions you should ask the boss before you take on any new job.

1. Why do you want to work here?

This is super important for you to think about. Make sure you’ve done some research about the venue before you go. Perhaps you’ve always liked the vibe of the bar or have noticed the staff look happy and friendly. Or maybe you’ve read some reviews from other employees on Fair Plate and think it sounds like a pretty good place to work?

2. What are your weaknesses?

Everyone hates this hospitality interview question, but unfortunately it often gets asked.

According to Hospo Voice member Belinda Tully, it can be hard to talk about what you don’t do so well.

“If you don’t know something, there’s often pressure to not speak up about it and just try to figure it out,” she said.

However, it’s important to remember that everyone has weaknesses and being self-aware enough to know them is a great asset. When you say what you’re not so good at, also highlight that you’re working on it for the future.

3. What are your hospitality goals?

Now’s the time where you talk about what you’d like to achieve in the job. Think of a short-term goal, perhaps something you’d like to achieve while working in that venue. It’s also helpful to think about your longer-term goals. Bosses like to see ambition, so think of where you’d like to go in the next few years and how you intend to achieve that goal.

4. Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult customer

If you’ve worked in hospitality, you’ve had a difficult customer. When you’re describing the situation with the customer, try to talk in positive terms. 

According to Belinda, communication and problem solving are the most important for a hospitality worker to have so highlight how you utilised those skills.

5. What’s your availability?

Try to work out your schedule before you go so you can easily tell them which days and times you’re available. If you can, try to be as flexible as possible. 

“If they say ‘would you be willing to work nights’ and if you can work nights, say yes… Don’t be afraid to try new things,” Belinda said.

Now it’s time to ask them some questions. Make sure you take advantage of this opportunity because it will give you a real chance to work out whether it’s a venue you want to work at.

1. What’s the culture like?

This is a perfect question to ask first up because it gives the manager the opportunity to chat a bit more freely. If the manager is relaxed and open about the vibe, then you’ve got a pretty good idea that it’s a nice place to work.

2. What’s the pay like?

This is an awkward question but you have to ask it before you leave your interview. You don’t want to accept the job and only then find out they’re asking you to work cash in hand or they’re paying a flat rate that is under the award. 

“People will take advantage, particularly of newbies unfortunately,” Belinda warned. 

Not sure what they should pay you? This is where Hospo Voice comes in. Download the Mobilise app and use the PayChecker tool to check the award wage. If they’re not quoting what you think they should pay you, ask them why? And if they don’t have a good answer, it’s a big red flag.

3. Ask about hours and leave

Make sure you’re going to be paid for the hours you’re working. It sounds logical, but Belinda says it’s surprising how dodgy some employers can be.

“I got told once: ‘You have to come in 15 minutes early for the shift change and you have to stay 15 minutes later after the shift change.’ I walked away from that job because I wasn’t going to work for free.”

When it comes to leave, make sure you check how much notice you have to give to take time off. 

Ok, you’ve survived the interview and got the job! The next step is to join Hospo Voice to take advantage of all the benefits like PayChecker and all the info about your rights at work.

Sugar, Spice & hospo advice

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