Interviews can be one of the most effective tools to screen candidates as well as a crucial step in eliminating the "bad apple" candidates before they become new hires. But interviewing takes skill, patience, and the right set of tools.
And if you don't start with the right tools — in this case, questions — then your final candidates may not end up being a good match for your company. But sometimes we can get stuck in a rut, relying on the same rotation of interview questions — ones that really don't dig quite deep enough.
So I asked a few of my clients — the restaurant owners and operators in the field — to submit their favorite dig deep interview questions used to weed out bad apple candidates. Here are their responses.
1. What intrigues you about a career in the restaurant industry?
This is a fantastic question to replace the old interview standby, "Why are you a good fit for this job?" Typically you'll be interested in hiring someone who will stay long-term and who also has the motivation and ability to progress through the company hierarchy. This updated question may provide a greater overview of the candidate's true motives and intentions, including their passion for the industry. So instead of focusing solely on the job itself, you can delve into the reasons why the candidate is drawn to the industry as a whole.
2. What specifically drew you to our company?
You want candidates who are prepared and who have done their research. Ideally, before the interview they have perused your website, social media accounts, and maybe even talked to current or former employees who are in their social circle. If the candidate gives a vague response, ask a few follow-up questions to try to pull a more descriptive response out of them — sometimes they're just nervous. If nothing of substance emerges though, it could be a sign of unpreparedness.
3. Think about a time when a coworker or customer become upset or angry with you. What emotions did you feel? What was the final resolution?
Even when a candidate won't work directly with customers, their behavior toward and relationships with coworkers ultimately affect the company and the final product or service. When you're trying to build a solid, cohesive culture, knowing how candidates react when conflict inevitably flares up can go a long way to determining their fit within the organization.
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Legal Disclaimer: The information I publish is not legal advice but rather is intended to prompt a discussion on best practices in human resources. Further, federal and state laws are amended frequently and vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Therefore, the published information may not be current at the time that you read it or it may not be applicable to your jurisdiction. As such, you should not rely upon any of the published information without first consulting directly with Restaurant HR, legal counsel, and reviewing your local, state, and federal laws as well as any applicable industry practices and company policies.
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