5 most important questions to ask before you leave the interview
If you’ve been on a job interview before, you know what it’s like to be on the hot seat, grilled by one or more interviewers with inquiries about everything from your accomplishments at your previous jobs to your goals for the future—and even why you got into hospitality in the first place. It’s not an easy hour to live through if you’re uncomfortable as the center of attention, though it will be decidedly less painful if you spend time rehearsing your answers to common interview questions. But don’t stop there. You can turn the tables—and impress any potential hospitality employer—by asking a few important questions of your own before the interview concludes.
1. If you hire me for this position, how can I exceed your expectations?
Your interviewer likely covered the job’s basics earlier in the interview, including day to day responsibilities and long-term projects. But if you truly hope to excel in the role—whether it’s as a front desk agent, a line cook, or a timeshare sales manager—you’re going to need to do more than the bare minimum, and this is your opportunity to find out what going above and beyond will entail. Hospitality employers also love this question because it shows you are confident in your abilities and determined to deliver quality results if you’re hired.
2. Do you have any concerns about the experience or skills I bring to the table?
It’s happened to us all at one time or another; you thought you aced the interview but received a rejection notice a few days later. Asking this question will help you avoid that disappointing situation by cluing you in on exactly where you stand before you’ve lost your chance to clarify necessary details or dispel any doubts the interviewer may have. It’s a particularly important question to address if you’re trying to transition from one area of hospitality into another (from the kitchen to the dining room, for example), as it may give you the opportunity to outline exactly how your skills will transfer.
3. Why is this position available and how long has it been vacant?
This question can help you avoid taking a job under the chef or hotel manager from hell as well as identify hospitality organizations that are currently growing and that promote from within. If the interviewer tells you the opportunity is available because a previous employee left without notice and they’ve been looking for a replacement for several months, there may be an issue with management style or expectations—both red flags you should carefully consider before proceeding. You want to hear that the job is open because the last employee moved up or it’s a new opportunity created in response to increased customer demand.
4. Would it be possible to meet the people I’ll be working with?
Your teammates can make or break your work experience, whether you’re employed at a restaurant, hotel, casino, country club, spa or retirement community. Asking the interviewer this question may prompt him to take you on a tour of the establishment and to introduce you to the people you’d be spending your days with—giving you the opportunity to note your first impressions and get a feel for whether or not you’ll get along with your coworkers.
Note: If the interviewer’s answer is no, you can still follow up by asking him to tell you about the other people in the department, including their backgrounds and how long they’ve been working there.
5. In your opinion, what’s the best thing about working here?
The interviewer’s answer to this question can help you gauge the organization’s culture. Good (and reassuring) responses will include positives such as a caring, family-like environment, benefits that enhance work-life balance, career advancement potential, opportunities to make a difference, and rewarding challenges. Responses that are vague, noncommittal or sound less than authentic should raise a red flag as they may indicate a less than stellar culture.