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How to interview a restaurant job candidate

3 min read

Restaurant and Foodservice

This post is by Brian Bruce, vice president and executive restaurant recruiter for Premier Solutions in Oklahoma City, a restaurant recruiting firm that works nationally.

In my years as an executive restaurant recruiter, I’ve found that some restaurant hiring managers are lacking a purposeful direction in their interviews with restaurant managers, as evidenced by the questions they ask or don’t ask. Upon reviewing a candidate with a client after an interview, some hiring managers come away with no concrete fix on whether the candidate can achieve the results required of the position.

For this reason, I assembled the following list to aid hiring managers in asking questions that will leave them with something more than a “good” or “bad” feeling after an interview.


  • Ask questions to help the candidate feel at ease about the interview, such as where they live, what activities they enjoy, upcoming holidays or about the weather.
  • Tell me about your current place of employment. What type of work do you do/title? What are your general areas of responsibility? What are the three things in a workplace that are most important to you?


  • Tell me specifically what you’ve accomplished in your current store: What are the three most important results you have achieved this year? How about last year? How about at your last two places of employment?
  • Outline the organizational chart of your current organization: Whom do you report to? Tell me about your management team. Tell me about your staff.
  • Give me an example of a major guest-related/food-related/staff problem you had to solve with your current brand. What was the issue? How did you resolve it? Whom did you ask to help? What was the result and outcome? What was its significance? What were your three biggest obstacles?
  • This is what I am looking for you to achieve with this company (share with the candidate the top three performance outcomes of the position, in terms of measurable results). How would you go about accomplishing these outcomes? What resources would you need to do it? How would you measure your progress along the way? What action steps would you take?
  • Compensation: Where are you at? What range are you looking for?


  • Based on what I shared with you, do you feel you can do the job?
  • What is your interest level, on a scale of 1 to 10, in this position?
  • What time frame are you looking at starting? When will you give notice if an offer is made?
  • Where else are you interviewing? Do you have any offers? How do you feel about them?

While the list is not intended to be exhaustive, I hope this is helpful to hiring managers as they strive to hire the best candidates for their management teams.

Bruce can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] , by social media at LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter , or at his blog,