Want the Upper Hand in Your Next Food & Beverage Interview? Read This!

February 13, 2017 in Career and Job Search Tips, HR Best Practices, Interview Tips


Time for a little hiring math. In a food & beverage interview:

Great questions

+ Great answers

= successful employment connections

Admittedly, this isn’t the type of revelation that would rival the likes of those made by Pythagoras or Fibonacci. But it’s a critical equation for anyone looking to get the upper hand in an interview situation.

While you certainly don’t want to sound over-rehearsed, adequate preparation is essential to making a great impression. So whether you’re on the job hunt or hunting for the ideal candidate, gain an advantage by being ready to ask – or answer – the following questions:

Food & Beverage Job Seekers

Be prepared to answer the following standard food & beverage interview questions:

  1. Tell me about yourself. Talk about your career, giving a brief summary of your background, experience, and future goals. Four or five sentences should suffice.
  2. What accomplishment are you most proud of? Choose a business accomplishment that relates to the open position. Get specific, and have numbers ready to support your claims. Have you enhanced productivity or safety? Increased sales or profitability? Cut costs or downtime? Created programs?

Then turn the tables – by posing thoughtful, relevant questions which: show that you’re prepared; allow you to gauge the opportunity, and help you position yourself as the ideal candidate:

  1. What are the next few steps in the interviewing process? Reputable employers will have a well-established interview process and can give you an idea of what to expect. What’s more, asking about the next steps conveys your genuine interest in the opportunity and demonstrates forward-thinking.
  2. What would a successful first year in this position look like? This question will help you get a general idea of what the interviewer will expect you to have mastered/accomplished in a year’s time.  Additionally, it will allow you to gauge whether the expectations for the job are realistic.
  3. What are the primary factors you will use to select the right person for this job? Pose this question to determine what kind of employee the interviewer is seeking (and if you’re the right kind of person for the job). Once the interviewer responds, counter by discussing important skills or qualities he lists that you may have forgotten to mention.

Food & Beverage Interviewers

In addition to standard interview questions (to assess a candidate’s skills and experience), customize these questions to prompt discussion, “sell” the opportunity and evaluate an individual’s potential fit within your organization:

  1. Why have you chosen to pursue this opportunity with us? This question creates an “opportunity gap” in the candidate’s mind, by juxtaposing the shortcomings of his current job with the advantages your position offers.
  2. How would this opportunity help your future career progression or help you build your resume? This question helps you gain deeper insight into how a candidate thinks about and manages his career. It also garners goodwill, because it shows that you’re putting his needs ahead of your own.
  3. What things do you not like to do? You may have to probe to get an honest response to this question, but the additional work is usually worth the effort. Look for red flags that indicate a candidate might dislike a key responsibility of the available position.
  4. Why have you had (X) amount of jobs in (Y) years? This question uncovers the real forces that drive a professional’s career progression. With a little work, you can find out why he changes employers and what motivates him to stay.
  5. Tell me about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted – like a promotion you wanted and didn’t get, or a project that didn’t turn out how you had hoped. Typically, responses to this question will fall into one of three categories: blame, self-deprecation, or opportunity for growth. If your prospective employee responds indignantly or turns out to be a finger-pointer, think twice about his suitability.

Want more great advice on food & beverage interview preparation?

Contact a Kinsa Group recruiter today. Experts in executive and c-level food & beverage recruitment, our insights can bring you one step closer to the ideal opportunity or professional.