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Good employees are hard to find, especially for restaurant managers who named employee recruitment and retention as their biggest challenge to success. To find your next rock star staff member, use these 9 restaurant manager interview questions.

Restaurant Manager Interview Questions About Past Experience

These restaurant manager interview questions are designed to help you figure out exactly how much experience your potential employees may have, so you can determine how much training they’ll need.

1. Where have you worked?

Why It’s Good: Finding out an employee’s work history is the most important of restaurant manager interview questions. But don’t stop at just asking the question! It’s critical that you verify what the interviewee tells you. Ask for a list of all previous employers, then look up the phone number yourself – and call the business directly. Unsavory candidates may give you phone numbers that go straight to a friend who pretends to be a former manager.

Answers to Look For: More experience isn’t always better. What matters is the type of establishment the candidate worked at before. Quick service restaurants require a different set of skills than a fine dining spot or sports bar. Hopefully, the person you’re interviewing will have experience in venues with a similar style to yours when answering these restaurant manager interview questions. If you’re hiring a bartender, check out these 11 best bartender interview questions.

2. What 3 skills are you most proud of?

Why It’s Good: When it comes to restaurant manager interview questions, give your potential employees a chance to brag a little. This question allows you to see what they consider to be their greatest strengths.

Answers to Look for: It’s important that who you’re hiring knows how to wait tables, tend bar, or line cook. However, they may reveal other skills that could be a good fit for your restaurant. For example, maybe someone you’re hiring to work in the kitchen is also a budding graphic designer. Down the line, you could use their skills on your menu layout, logo, and other marketing materials.

3. What are you hoping to learn from this job?

Why It’s Good: These kinds of restaurant manager interview questions will tell you if a potential employee has a desire to learn more about the restaurant industry or move up the ladder at your business.

Answers to Look for: For these types of restaurant manager interview questions, it’s important to pay attention to what the interviewee is saying and how they’re saying it. Do they seem excited at the idea of learning new skills or the opportunity to train for other positions? Or are they just looking to collect a paycheck?

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Uncovering a Candidate’s Personality

While most restaurant positions can be taught, you need to ensure that the person you’re teaching is willing to learn. These restaurant manager interview questions reveal if the person you’re interviewing has a personality that will mesh – or clash – with your team.

4. How would you describe yourself?

Why It’s Good: This question shows what your interviewee thinks of their own personality and if their key characteristics would be a good fit for your restaurant.

Answers to Look for: Before you ask your restaurant manager interview questions, write out the answers you want to hear. Do you want your next bartender to be charismatic? Your next server to be organized with attention to detail? The right restaurant manager interview questions reveal if your interviewee fits the bill.

5. What would you do if………?

Why It’s Good: Rather than just focusing on restaurant manager interview questions, throw out a scenario to see how your interviewee handles being put on the spot. As you know, anything can happen in the restaurant industry.

Answers to Look for: You may already have a protocol in place for certain scenarios, so the closer your interviewee gets to naming those same steps, the better. Pay attention to how they handle the stress. Do they seem cool, calm, and collected under pressure? Do their answers inspire confidence or make you nervous?

6. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Why It’s Good: Hobbies can tell you a lot about a person. And it’s important that your employees have interests outside of work. Hobbies make great conversation starters and can help your new hires relate to guests and the rest of your staff.

Answers to Look For: There’s no right answer to these kinds of restaurant manager interview questions; but your interviewee can earn bonus points with certain hobbies. For example, playing sports is a good sign that they know how to be a team player.

Do They Have Drive?

Nine out of ten restaurant managers started out in entry-level positions, according to the National Restaurant Association. That means the dishwasher you hire today could very easily be your next manager. And these restaurant manager interview questions will give you an idea how likely that may be to happen.

7. What makes you want to work in the food and beverage industry?

Why It’s Good: You’ll get more from staff members who have a passion for the biz!

Answers to Look For: If someone is excited about the idea of working in the food and beverage business, then they’ll probably be a good fit for your restaurant. But it’s not just about passion. If your interviewee names other features that attracted them to the position, like flexible work hours or shifts that match their family or school schedule, it shows that they’ll appreciate the opportunity and work hard to keep it!

8. Why do you want to work in this restaurant?

Why It’s Good: These types of restaurant manager interview questions show if your candidate did their homework! It also opens the door for other restaurant manager interview questions that will give you some insight about your business. For example, how did they hear about your restaurant? Have they dined with you before? What was their experience was like?

Answers to Look For: While naming even one reason for specifically wanting to work at your restaurant is a good sign, it’s better if they can name multiple reasons. It also provides insight into how your restaurant is viewed by potential employees. Maybe you’re known as a great place for aspiring chefs. You can apply that information to your recruitment process to attract more quality employees.

9. What are your career goals?

Why It’s Good: These kinds of restaurant manager interview questions show what the interviewee’s intentions are in working for your restaurant.

Answers to Look For: Again, there’s no right answer – someone who’s working only part-time as they go to school can still have as much drive and work ethic as someone who is hoping to be your executive chef one day. These restaurant manager interview questions will help you determine how long the interviewee may plan to be with your establishment.

Chances are, you’ll have to interview a lot of people to find your dream team. But, with the right restaurant manager interview questions, you’ll be able to learn everything you need to hire your next rock star!