How to Answer Common Hospitality Job Interview Questions

As the world opens up post pandemic, the hospitality industry too seems to be getting back on track. This means interviews to fill roles that may have been laid off or for new positions are up for grabs.
The competition is still high, so get your foot in the door by going in well prepared. Here are a few questions you might commonly be asked.

Tell us about yourself
Interviewers sometimes use this question as a kind of ice breaker, to allow candidates to ease into the session. But it also gives them excellent insight into who you are. After all, they have read your resumé. So instead of repeating what you’ve already written, furnish them with anecdotes that show your professional growth and perhaps where you’d like to see yourself in a few years’ time.

Why are you interested in this job role?
Most companies are looking for loyal staff – they’d rather not hire someone who is going to quit a couple of months after they’ve been trained. You could describe why you like the company – perhaps its work ethics or sustainability practices – and discuss how you have the experience and skills to succeed in the job.

What does hospitality mean to you?
This is another way of asking why you chose a career in hospitality. Avoid descriptions of the hotel industry – the interviewers already know that. Instead, tell them why you will be a great fit in the industry – perhaps you have a friendly disposition, you love meeting new people and enjoy specific challenges of running a hotel or working on a cruise ship. It’s a good time to tell interviewers about any turning point in your life that led you to the industry.

How did you deal with an unsatisfied customer?
If you’ve had work experience before, it’s likely an interviewer will ask you this, particularly if you are in the service side. Be prepared with an experience that shows how you diffused a situation. This works even if you were in another industry in which you dealt with customers or clients. The hospitality industry takes guest reviews seriously, so having staff who can be relied on to deal with the odd unhappy customer is a huge plus point.

Describe yourself in three words.
Sometimes, instead of asking candidates about themselves, interviewers ask them to describe themselves. If you aren’t prepared, the right adjectives might not come to you in the moment. Use words that you can demonstrate solid examples of. For example, rather than being dedicated or passionate, describe yourself as being methodical or reliable.

What is your weakness?
It’s imperative that you turn the answer to this question into a positive. Offer an example of a mild weakness and an intention of how you plan to improve on it. Perhaps you are not as adept with hospitality software/technology as you’d like to be but you are working on it by taking a course.

Why have you been out of work for so long?
There is a possibility that a question like this might pop up. Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic is a perfectly reasonable answer, but there’s no need to leave it at that. Offer information of how you have been bettering yourself during this time – a course, volunteer work, a home-based venture, or even an unrelated hobby.

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