Top 10 questions you'll be asked in a hotel interview
Whether you’re applying for a guest service position—such as front desk agent, porter, concierge or housekeeper—or are seeking employment in hotel administration, you’re going to have to ace one or more interviews before you land a job. A professional appearance and comfortable body language will certainly play a role in your success, but the most important consideration for hiring managers will be your ability to answer their interview questions with confident honesty. As you prepare for your next opportunity to dazzle a potential employer with your passion for hospitality, don’t neglect practicing your responses to these top 10 interview questions for hotel jobs.
1. Why do you want to work for this hotel?
Obviously, you have bills to pay. However, comments about compensation or “I just need a job” are the last thing a hiring manager wants to hear. To best answer this question, you need to spend time learning about the hotel’s history, mission and culture. Check out their website and search the Internet for press releases and other news. If you have access, talk to a few of their employees. Then put together a response that shows you’ve done your research and are a good match for the hotel’s current and future needs as well as culture.
2. How long will you work for Hotel ABC if you’re hired?
Turnover is often a major challenge for hospitality employers. They don’t want to spend the hotel’s time and resources to train you if you don’t intend to stay for long. You can reiterate your response to the previous question and assure the hiring manager that you see yourself working for Hotel ABC for a long time. However, if there is a reason you may need to leave in the near future—a cross-country move or going back to school for example—be honest. Accepting a position and then disappointing your employer by moving on too soon could be worse for your career in the long run.
3. Why did you leave/are you leaving Hotel XYZ?
Maybe you want a more competitive salary. Perhaps you cannot abide your current manager. You may even be bored. Whatever the actual reason, find a way to stay positive. It may be easiest to focus on what you want from your new job—greater challenges, more advancement opportunity, a chance to learn a new aspect of hospitality—rather than what you didn’t like about your last one.
4. Why are you the best candidate for this position?
Employers want to hear about more than the hard skills you’ve listed on your resume. Think about the job description as well as what you’ve learned about the hotel’s culture, mission and current needs. Then use your response to emphasize your compatibility and ways you will use those skills to help them tackle their challenges.
5. What does good guest service mean to you?
Hospitality is all about customer service, so you’re just as likely to get this question when you apply for an administration position as when you’re after one at the front desk. While the answer is common sense, a good way to make a memorable impression is to work language from the hotel’s own marketing materials (such as their website) into your response.
6. Describe a time when you had to deal with an unhappy hotel guest. How did you handle the situation?
When presented with situational interview questions like this one, it’s important to create a clear and concise answer that describes the problem you encountered, the steps you took to address it, and the ultimate solution. Stay positive and show that you learned something from the situation whenever possible.
7. Describe a time you had to disappoint a guest. What was the situation and how did you handle it?
Not all guest problems can be solved. Hotel employers want to hire someone who can empathize and remain professional even when they’re faced with an impossible task.
8. Let’s say your to-do list has five tasks and you only have time for three. How would you prioritize them?
Whatever your hotel position, there are guaranteed to be days when you cannot complete everything that needs to be done. Hiring managers want to see that you have the ability to analyze such a situation, think clearly when under pressure, make a decision on a course of action and take responsibility as you proceed.
9. A guest asks you for local restaurant and entertainment suggestions. Where would you recommend if they were a single business traveler, young couple or family with children?
Front desk agents and concierges are not the only hotel staff guests turn to for advice. Before any interview, make sure you’re familiar with local attractions and think about those that would best appeal to a variety of travelers.
10. Tell me about a time you disagreed with a coworker. What did you do to resolve the situation?
Hotels employ a diverse spectrum of personalities as well as nationalities. Regardless of your position, teamwork will often be required. The hiring manager wants to select a professional who can work well with others even when they don’t see eye to eye.