Hospitality Interview Questions
Having a successful interview is all about preparation. If you can brainstorm persuasive and accurate answers ahead of time, you’ll feel calm and confident during the actual event. Plus, it’ll be way easier to remember all the key points you want to make.
To give you a little extra help, we’re revealing the four most common interview questions in the hospitality industry—and how to answer them.
1. How do you handle difficult customers?
Working in hospitality means your ultimate responsibility is to provide excellent service. That’s why it’s crucial for you to be able to handle angry, frustrated, and sometimes even belligerent customers.
When you describe your approach, make sure that you don’t blame anyone for the customer’s dissatisfaction; especially not the customers themselves! Also make sure to weave in examples of how you’ve resolved these issues in the past.
“I always begin by asking the customer to explain what happened. I don’t say anything until he or she has finished explaining they’re issue, because I want the person to feel respected and know I’m really listening. To make sure we’re on the same page, I’ll repeat what I believe the problem is. At that point, I’ll give the customer a sincere apology—and depending on the situation, offer a potential solution.
One time, when I was working as a front desk representative, a customer was upset because…”
2. Do you work best independently or in a team?
There are very few roles in the hospitality industry that don’t require a lot of collaboration and teamwork. Therefore, you’ll want to highlight your ability to be a team player. This question offers a great opportunity to discuss a project you shared with your coworkers.
“While I’m happy to work independently, I really enjoy the camaraderie and diversity of thought that’s unique to teams. As a cruise director…”
3. Why do you work in hospitality?
Whether you’re applying for a job at a hotel or resort, in a restaurant, or on a cruise ship, hiring managers want to know you’re passionate about the experience you’re providing. After all, employees who are personally invested in the company’s mission and service will work harder and stay in their jobs longer than those who aren’t.
We recommend sharing how you became interested in this specific field.
“I’ve been a travel enthusiast for my entire life—in fact, I’ve visited 30 countries to date. I love gaining new experiences and exploring new cultures. That’s why I decided to work in hospitality: I want to facilitate great travel experiences for other people.”
4. How do you go above and beyond?
At this point, you’re probably aware that in hospitality, it’s not enough to meet customer or company expectations. You have to exceed them. For that reason, you should come to the interview with two or three (true) stories of doing more than the minimum.
“In my current role as Manager of Guest Services for Carol Resorts, I do everything I can to surprise and delight guests. When those that have previously stayed with us book another visit, I’ll prepare their rooms with a “Welcome Back” gift basket. If our restaurant servers notice a guest particularly enjoying a specific meal, I’ll arrange for a gift card for that meal’s value to be given to them so they can order it again on the house. These little touches make our patrons feel valued and special.”