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Interviewing for a Restaurant Job: What to Expect and How to Prepare

If you're looking for a job in the restaurant industry, you may be wondering what to expect during an interview. The truth is: every restaurant has its own hiring process and interviewing style, so it's hard to say exactly how an interview will go. But all interviews share some commonalities. If you're prepared and have a good attitude, that'll go along way toward helping you get hired—and maybe even get that dream restaurant job!

Have a good attitude and be prepared

The interview is an opportunity for you to show your potential employer that you're the right person for the job. You should have a positive attitude and be prepared, but also remember that it's not just about how well you can answer questions or do tasks--the restaurant manager will want to see how well you fit into their team. Here are some tips on how to make yourself stand out:
  • Have a good attitude: The manager wants someone who will enjoy working at their restaurant and not just someone who needs a paycheck. Show them that by being polite, respectful, confident (but not arrogant), honest about your skills/experience and expressing gratitude for even having an interview!
  • Be prepared: Researching the company ahead of time shows that not only do they interest you but also gives insight into what kind of person they might hire based on what type of information was gathered during research time frame.

Be on time, or better than that, early

Being early shows that you care about the interview and have respect for the employer's time. It also gives you a chance to relax before going into an interview and make sure everything is in order--you don't want to be worrying about whether or not your shirt matches your pants while answering questions.

If there are unforeseen circumstances (traffic, illness) that will cause you to be late for an interview: Call ahead! Letting them know beforehand will show them how responsible and thoughtful of an employee they could have on their team--and who doesn't want those qualities in their employees? If calling isn't an option because of no cell service or whatever other reason, send an email as soon as possible to the hiring manager. 

Bring an extra copy of your resume, just in case

Bring an extra copy of your resume, just in case. You never know when you might need it, and if the interviewer loses their copy or forgets to give it back to you after the interview, then having another one will help ensure that they can follow up with additional questions or contact information later on.

This could also be a good idea if there are multiple people interviewing at once (i.e., two managers). They may want to keep track of who said what during the process--and having an extra copy on hand means no one has to scramble around trying to find theirs!

Dress appropriately for the industry and the particular establishment you are interviewing at.

Dress appropriately for the industry and the particular establishment you are interviewing at. If your interview is at a fast-food chain, then it's okay to wear jeans and a T-shirt or polo shirt. However, if you are applying for a job as an executive chef at a high-end restaurant, then dress accordingly!

When deciding what to wear on your first day of work (or even before), ask yourself: "How do I want my future coworkers/manager/bosses to perceive me?" If they see that there is potential in me as an employee or colleague, then I will be able to use this opportunity wisely so that my future employers can see my worthiness of being hired permanently into their company."

Come with questions about the company, its culture and its products or services.

Come prepared with questions about the company, its culture and its products or services.
Ask about what you'll be doing on a day-to-day basis, as well as where your career could go from there.

Find out how long employees have been working at your target restaurant, if they enjoy their jobs and whether there is room for advancement in the future: This will help you determine whether this is an employer that will be able to meet your needs over time (including financial ones).

Take notes

  • Take notes of your interview and bring them home to study.
  • Take notes of the questions you were asked and your answers.
  • Take notes of what you learned about the company, including its goals, values and mission statement.
  • Take notes of what you learned about yourself by participating in this interview process (areas for improvement or growth).
Make sure to ask any follow-up questions that may have come up during your conversation with the interviewer(s).

We hope this article has helped you prepare for your next interview. We know it can be stressful, but with a little bit of preparation and a good attitude, you'll be on your way to getting the job of your dreams in no time!