39 Examples of Common Hospitality Interview Questions

Updated 7 June 2023

Working in hospitality entails providing excellent customer service and creating memorable experiences for guests in a range of settings. When hiring for hospitality positions, recruiters typically seek candidates with strong customer service skills, a positive attitude and a commitment to providing exceptional guest experiences. Being able to anticipate the interview questions you may receive during an interview for a hospitality position can help you prepare answers that highlight your suitability for the role. In this article, we discuss 12 general hospitality interview questions, share 12 experience-based questions, list 12 in-depth questions and provide three example interview questions with answers.

12 general hospitality interview questions

General hospitality interview questions provide the interviewer with a broad overview of your character, values and approach to work. This overview allows them to assess your suitability for the role beyond your technical qualifications. These general interview questions often include enquiries into your strengths, weaknesses, motivations and problem-solving skills. By asking questions like these, the interviewer can gain insights into how you think, communicate and interact with others, helping them make a more informed hiring decision. Below, you can find some examples of general interview questions you can expect to receive during an interview for a hospitality position:

  1. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

  2. What interests you about working in the hospitality industry?

  3. In your opinion, what are the three most important qualities you can have for working in the hospitality industry?

  4. How would you describe your communication style?

  5. What skills do you have that enhance your teamwork capabilities?

  6. What are some of your hobbies?

  7. How do you manage your time effectively?

  8. What did you enjoy most about your previous role?

  9. How would your friends describe your personality?

  10. What do you think is the most challenging aspect of working in hospitality?

  11. What are your long-term career goals?

  12. Can you explain what appeals to you most about working for the hiring company?

Related: How to Become a Hospitality Manager: With Skills and Salary

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12 questions about experience and background

During an interview for a hospitality position, the interviewer is likely to ask you questions about your experience and background. This helps them gain a better understanding of your work experience, skills and qualifications relevant to working in hospitality. For example, an interviewer may ask you about your previous hospitality or customer service roles, prompting you to share your key responsibilities and accomplishments. Your answers to these questions can help the interviewer can assess if you can leverage your previous experiences successfully in the vacant hospitality role you're interviewing for. You can explore examples of these types of questions below:

  1. What prior experience do you have working in the hospitality industry?

  2. Have you received any formal training or certifications related to the hospitality industry?

  3. Can you describe your previous roles in hospitality or customer service?

  4. What have you learned from your previous experience that you can bring to this role?

  5. What's the most challenging situation you've faced in a previous hospitality role and how did you handle it?

  6. Can you detail your experience of using reservation or booking systems?

  7. Which key strengths do you possess that can assist you most in a hospitality role?

  8. How do you stay organised and manage multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment?

  9. What do you know about the services or amenities offered by the hiring company?

  10. Can you describe your experience with food service or preparation?

  11. Can you detail a time you exceeded a guest's expectations?

  12. What's your customer service philosophy?

Related: 12 Hospitality Skills: Examples and Ways to Highlight Them

12 in-depth questions

When hiring for a hospitality position, an interviewer may ask you a series of in-depth questions. These questions typically require you to provide detailed answers that demonstrate your knowledge, skills and abilities that directly relate to the role requirements. By asking you in-depth interview questions, the interviewer can assess your technical expertise and determine how you might approach various situations when undertaking your hospitality role. Below, you can explore some in-depth questions an interviewer may ask you:

  1. What process do you follow to ensure efficient service for group bookings?

  2. Can you describe your experience with yield management strategies in the hospitality industry?

  3. Can you list the key steps involved in the tracking of perishable items in a food and beverage operation?

  4. How would you describe the difference between front-of-house and back-of-house operations in a hotel?

  5. What method do you follow to ensure compliance with local, state and federal regulations related to food safety and hygiene?

  6. Can you provide an example of how you have used data analysis to improve revenue or operational efficiency in a hospitality setting?

  7. What are a few worthwhile steps to take to ensure effective communication and collaboration between front-of-house and back-of-house teams?

  8. Can you describe your knowledge of hotel revenue streams, including room rates, occupancy and ancillary services, such as spa treatments and room service?

  9. How do you approach budgeting in a hospitality role, while still maintaining a high level of service and guest satisfaction?

  10. Can you list a few ways you stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices in the hospitality field?

  11. Can you detail your approach to resolving a guest complaint from start to finish, including the specific steps you take and the resources you use?

  12. In your opinion, what are three key elements that contribute to a high level of quality control in a hospitality operation?

Related: 10 Signs an Interview Went Well (With Interview Tips)

3 example interview questions and answers

Here, you can find three examples of interview questions for a hospitality job, along with example answers:

1. What skills do you think are most important for you to possess when working in the hospitality industry and why?

A question like this can help the interviewer evaluate your awareness of the skills required for success in the hospitality industry. Your answer to this question can also help them determine your level of self-awareness and whether your personal strengths align with the position's demands.

Example answer: 'I believe that communication, attention to detail and customer service are three of the most critical skills to have when working in hospitality. Effective communication can help you develop strong relationships with guests, colleagues and supervisors, while attention to detail can help you ensure that every aspect of the guest experience is flawless. Excellent customer service is essential in hospitality and requires empathy, active listening and a commitment to exceeding guest expectations.'

Related: Top Customer Service Interview Questions and Sample Answers

2. Can you describe your experience of working with international guests or customers with language barriers?

An interviewer may ask you this type of question to determine your ability to work with and adapt to the requirements of individuals from diverse backgrounds. Your answer to this question can also highlight your cultural sensitivity, which can be a key element to working in a hospitality role. Ultimately, this question can help the interviewer assess your capacity to work effectively in a multicultural team and create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all guests.

Example answer: 'I have extensive experience in working with international guests and customers with language barriers. For example, in my previous role, I worked at a hotel that catered to a diverse international clientele. Because of this, I regularly interacted with guests who spoke a different language than mine. To overcome any language barriers, I spoke slowly and clearly and used nonverbal cues like hand gestures and facial expressions to communicate my message effectively. I also learnt basic phrases in other languages to show my appreciation for guests' cultures and make them feel more comfortable.'

Related: Cultural Intelligence in the Workplace: A Definitive Guide

3. Can you describe a time you received negative feedback in a hospitality setting and how you approached it?

If an interviewer wants to evaluate your customer service skills and ability to work through difficult situations, they might ask you a question like this. In the hospitality industry, receiving negative feedback professionally can prevent potential escalations, diffuse difficult situations and showcase the hospitality business's commitment to excellent customer service. Your answer to a question about how you approach negative feedback can provide the interviewer with insights into your communication and problem-solving abilities, empathy and ability to remain calm under pressure.

Example answer: 'As a server at a high-end restaurant, I received negative feedback from a guest dissatisfied with their meal. I apologised and immediately informed the chef, who went to the table to apologise and offer them a new meal. Throughout the interaction, I remained calm and empathetic, actively listening to the guest's concerns. By the end of their visit, the guest felt happy with the resolution and even left a positive review about the great service they received.'

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