Hotel Food & Beverage: The Interview Process
By Susie Ross Founder, Waiter Training | October 28, 2008
You want to set the stage from the beginning that you operate a professional business. It isn't just a caf'e, diner, restaurant or deli. It's your business and, if you want to take an aggressive approach, ask questions of your applicant that will reveal personality and the salesperson in her. This is assuming you want a personality that wants to sell and not take orders.
Insist on a resume and take advantage of it! If you like the person after the first interview, do the research that the resume was intended for to make sure a candidate is a good fit. Ask the legal questions of a former employer. If you're unsure of the legality of your questioning, consult your attorney or your state's restaurant association for the proper legal questioning of a prospective employee.
First and foremost, you should expect that an applicant will show up in proper attire and bring a resume. If an applicant doesn't, I think it's acceptable to request that he comes back when he is properly attired for an interview and to also bring a resume. I always wonder why it's acceptable for someone to show up in torn jeans and a cool t-shirt to apply for a restaurant job and not ok if applying at an office. This is your business; what image do you want to project?
It's generally agreed in all areas of employment that two or more interviews take place, preferably with different managers and on different days.
After the initial interview has taken place, the resume has been called on and references have been checked, set up a second interview. I might suggest a simple test for starters. Give her an example of a regular guest check that you see on a daily basis. Ask her to take five or ten minutes, go over the menu and respond to you with ideas on how she might increase the check amount. Ask her what she might suggest to a guest to increase the check amount. Simply listen for words used. Keep your request simple and see how far she goes with it. Set up a role-playing situation. This exercise can be done while sitting at the table across from each other; there is no need for her to stand up and do this, unless you feel it necessary to do so.
A more experienced applicant will have a good idea of what you're looking for and will either go along with you or decide this is not the job for her. Body language will instantly tell you what decision she's made.