Top 10 Interview Questions for Hotel Jobs
Whether you’re interviewing for a front-of-house or back-of-house job, people skills are essential in the hotel industry. They’re a must for any hotel staff member whose role includes servicing guests or clients, but they’re also necessary for functioning as part of a team – a cornerstone of successful hotels. So keep in mind that most hotel job interviews will likely include a variety of behavioral-based questions designed to determine how well matched you are to both the work and the team. Here are a few examples:
1. Tell me about yourself.
This is a popular means of kicking off an interview and also a bit of a head-scratcher, considering the interviewer has presumably read your resume. Nevertheless, take a few minutes to chart your professional growth with anecdotes from your present job, past positions and future career path. So, for example, rather than talk about the sales training that you completed as part of your current front desk job, tell the story of how you helped a guest make a brunch reservation for their family at the hotel restaurant when they asked for dining recommendations and how your previous experience, working as restaurant wait staff, provided you with insight on family dining.
2. Why did you decide on a career in hospitality?
Avoid the temptation to exalt the many clichés that describe the hotel industry; you’ll risk coming off as insincere. Instead, focus on how your character and personality are a great fit for hotels: you’re outgoing, enjoy meeting new people, curious and also enjoy the challenges that come with running a successful hotel. If you had an “ah-ha moment” in high school or college that put you on the path to the hotel industry, this is an optimal time to tell that story.
3. Describe your role at the hotel where you are currently employed?
The response to this question should be similar to that of “Tell Me About Yourself” since the interviewer likely has your CV in front of him or her. So you’ll want to convey your professional growth in your current role through a few narratives that aren’t on your CV.
4. Why are you looking to leave your current position?
Whatever your reasons may be – and no doubt there are negative aspects to your job that have prompted your to look elsewhere – be sure to frame this question with total positivity. In short, you’re looking for a new challenge that will allow you to learn something that your current hotel cannot provide. That is, if you work with meeting and incentive groups, you might want to talk about how you’d like to work with large groups and your hotel has limited meeting space.
5. Describe your worst day at work.
This is a good opportunity to highlight what a team player you are. For instance, housekeeping was short staffed on a day when a large group was checking in and so you volunteered to stay late so you could help turnover rooms. It made for a very long and tiring day and vacuuming for hours isn’t fun, but the group was able to check-in without incident.
6. What is your greatest professional weakness?
You will always have a professional weakness. Saying you don't have any is a lie, and the point of this question is honesty. But the question is also intended to draw out a response that demonstrates how you strategize when faced with a challenge. So, for example, if you struggle with public speaking, be sure to mention that you recently joined Toastmasters International.
7. What does hospitality mean to you?
This is another version of “Why Did You Decide on a Career in Hospitality?” Again, avoid the pitfalls of clichés and make it about why you’re well suited to the industry.
8. What are your salary expectations?
Do your research; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is a good place to start. Then present a relevant range, while also conveying flexibility. However, don’t skew toward the low end of the range as undervaluing yourself can imply that you expect your next employer to undervalue you too.
9. What do you do in your free time?
The answer here should point to the fact that you’re a team player. So rather than focus on solo activities, cast light on sports groups and volunteer organizations that you might be involved with or even a group of friends who take turns hosting a monthly dinner.
10. Do you have any questions for us?
This is a good opportunity to ask about specifics of the role such as how it might have evolved and why or examples of projects that the person in the position will work on.