It's important to do your research before an interview. This question can be easily answered if you take the time to learn more about the organization and role beforehand. The interviewer wants to be reassured that you're not just looking for any job. What about the position stands out to you? If you are currently in the role at another company, talk about how this position is different and fulfills something that you are missing from your current job, or better yet, how this role will help you accomplish your goals.
Host or Hostess Interview Questions
Why do you want this job?
Describe yourself in three words.
Think of three qualities that will help you in this new role. Here are some that we think would make you an excellent host!
Your main role is to greet customers and escort them to their tables. You want to be able to communicate with the kitchen and wait staff as well. Interpersonal skills are the most important for your role, so think of a few words to describe how you will be an amazing addition to the team.
Why is it important to smile at every guest?
Customer service is all about consistency. Smiling at every guest gives restaurants and bars a solid reputation. As a host, you are the first point of contact for customers, so you need to be sure to treat them kindly. Tell the interviewer, "I understand that I'm the first person a customer meets when they walk through the door. It's important that I make a good impression with each person."
"I understand that I'm the first person a customer meets when they walk through the door. It's important that I make a good impression with each person."
What skills are essential for this position?
Communication skills, people skills and listening skills are key! This question is to check for your understanding of the role, so that the interviewer knows you understand what it takes to be a host or hostess. If you're not sure, check the job description. Think about which skills would help you to accomplish each responsibility.
How would you deal with an angry customer?
Keep it simple. Think through the steps you take when handling demanding customers. Be prepared to give an example of how you have dealt with these types of customers in the past. If it's all new to you, be honest! Explain how you would use your communication and listening skills to relate to customers and calm them down. And tell them you're learning! You aren't expected to know everything in a new job, so just relax and do your best!
"I stay calm, and I listen. I'll let a customer vent as long as they need to. Then I empathize and look for a solution or a compromise."
Why should we hire you?
What sets you apart from all the other candidates? Can you offer a flexible schedule? Are you a pro at handling the most difficult of customers? Share a few qualities and consider giving examples to match each one. This is your chance to sell yourself, so make the most of it! Remember that you have unique qualities that will help you to be successful as a host. Don't be shy! Articulate your awesomeness!
Tell me about a time when you gave excellent customer service.
Before you give an example, think about what excellent customer service means to you. Does it mean making the customer happy? What skills are required?
"A customer called to make a reservation for a large group. They were visually impaired and there were two small children in the group. I wanted to take extra special care to provide for their needs, so I informed the server and made notes in the reservation. When the group came in, I was warm and friendly. I made sure they were taken care of."
How do you take criticism?
As a host you are likely to receive feedback from customers, coworkers and bosses. People can be critical, so you'll need to learn not to take comments too personally. It can be difficult to know what to say, especially if someone gives you a hard time about something out of your control. Respond to the interviewer with, "I stay calm and relaxed when I receive feedback from a customer or a manger. I take time to think about what they said and how I can do a better job in the future."
"I stay calm and relaxed when I receive feedback from a customer or a manger. I take time to think about what they said and how I can do a better job in the future."
What is the most recent skill you have learned that will assist you in this role?
Think about some of the skills that are so vital to the role of a host or hostess. Did you recently learn how to deal with difficult customers? Are you learning how to stay organized and move quickly between different tasks? Share a skill, like attention to detail or listening to customers. All of these skills would be helpful for your new role.
How do you fill your downtime?
Show off some of your skills by talking about how you take initiative and make an effort to help the rest of the team. List off any responsibilities that you think could be helpful to do in your extra time. There is usually side work, like sweeping the floor and filling salt and pepper shakers. Let the interviewer know that you can keep yourself busy by helping the team and taking care of your responsibilities.
"Usually I ask the servers if they need any help busing the tables or rolling silverware. There is always something to do, so I try my best to help the rest of the team when I can."
Do you have any questions about the job description?
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the list of duties required for the position. If you do have questions, now would be the time to ask. However, make sure that these questions are not already answered in the job posting. Ask other employees about what it's like to work there before your interview so that you have an idea of what to expect and know which questions to ask.
Tell me about your experience.
Be honest with the interviewer, but keep in mind that you can talk about your past experience if it relates. This means, it doesn't matter if it was working in the same industry. Share any experience that is relevant, talking about your transferable skills, like customer service, administration and retail experience. If you have no relevant experience, talk about how excited you are to learn. Odds are that the interviewer will ensure you receive more training when you begin your new role because they know you will benefit from the extra knowledge!
What are your greatest weaknesses?
To successfully answer this question, you will need to be strategic! First, think of an area where you can improve. For example, maybe you could do a better job of taking initiative to solve problems before they become an issue. Your self-awareness is already a strength! Your insight that you need to grow in this area shows the interviewer that you know you have room for improvement and that you have a desire to grow. Now, think about how you can explain what you're doing to improve. Paying closer attention to detail and noticing body language are two ways you can be more perceptive. Solving problems before they start takes a lot of observation and awareness. Talk about how you are working to improve!
What are your career goals?
Working in the service industry is a means to an end for a lot of people. Even those who stay in the industry are working on accomplishing other goals, like finishing school or helping your family meet loose ends. The interviewer doesn't expect you to say you want to work at their restaurant forever, but they are interested in hearing your future plans. Wherever you're at in your career, let them know how this job will fit into your career goals. Here's an answer example: "I plan to work for your restaurant while I finish my degree, which I plan to complete two years from now." shows you are working towards a goal. Your role as a host will help you to achieve that goal by providing stability and income.
"I plan to work for your restaurant while I finish my degree, which I plan to complete two years from now."
How long would you expect to work for us if hired?
The service industry can be high turnover with people coming and going at all times. A restaurant manager asking this question wants to know if they can expect to keep you around for a while. Training new people is an investment on their part, and they don't want to waste time or money on someone just looking to make fast cash for a couple months of work. Let them know your plans, how this fits into your school schedule or how it balances with another job. Reassure them that you are looking for something long term.
What qualities make you the best person for the job?
Have you ever had a situation that kept you from being on time to work? How did you handle it?
How do you handle stressful situations?
Give me an example of how you have been reliable in the past.
Describe your ideal job.
How would you keep our patrons satisfied?
In case of an emergency, what would be your course of action?
How have you used your communication skills to resolve conflict at work?
What are your greatest strengths?