Food & Beverage Hiring: Determining a Job Candidate’s Ethics

July 2, 2012 in HR Best Practices



Would you hire a production manager who “cuts corners” to meet tight deadlines?

Would you hire a food safety manager who occasionally “bends the rules” when it comes to refrigeration guidelines?

Certainly not.  Solid ethics are vitally important to your organization’s success.

Unfortunately, however, intangibles like ethical standards are typically the most difficult characteristics to assess in an interview.  If you ask a candidate outright whether or not he is ethical, he will invariably say, “Yes.”  So how can you ensure that his on-the-job decisions will align with your company’s standards?

While there is no definitive “litmus test” to gauge a food & beverage professional’s ethics, a behavioral interview approach will yield the best results.  Used properly, behavioral interview questions about ethics-related situations the candidate has encountered will provide meaningful answers about his principles.  Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • What potential ethical challenges might you face in this position?  This is a good opening question.  While it is general, it also shows you how well the candidate understands the ethical standards of your company and the available job.
  • Describe a work situation that challenged your ethics.  Be wary of a candidate who says he’s never faced an ethical dilemma at work.  You want to hire a professional who avoids misconduct when tempted – not someone who says he’s never been placed in a tough ethical spot.
  • When faced with an ethical dilemma at work, with whom did you discuss the problem?  In the candidate’s response, look for evidence that he took action.  Ethically responsible professionals never “sweep something under the rug.”  They discuss concerns with co-workers and managers or seek out other company resources to help resolve issues.
  • Under what circumstances would you be willing to lie to protect your boss?  The correct answer is:  “None.”  An individual who would not lie for someone would not lie to someone.

While it’s unlikely that a candidate will come right out and admit past ethical mistakes, asking the right behavioral ethics questions will give you a good sense of his true character.

Kinsa Group – A Better Way to Hire Food & Beverage Professionals

As a national food & beverage recruiter, The Kinsa Group has the resources and expertise to deliver executive and c-level food & beverage professionals with the skills, experience and ethical standards to thrive in your organization.  We use professionally trained interviewers, a wide array of assessments, thorough background checks and satisfaction guarantees to ensure the long-term success of your next hire.