Personal Licence Courses for the Hospitality Industry

10 Questions To Ask Interviewees When Recruiting Pub Staff

Many licencees struggle when seeking to recruit new staff (especially chefs!) Here are some tips for key questions to ask…

1. Tell me about yourself
A good (or at the very least, prepared) candidate should have a solid elevator pitch for this question. Give them a time limit of around two minutes so they have to be concise about their achievements.

2. What is key for your next role?
This can help you to understand what motivates the candidate, and what they want from the role. Is it salary, location, brand, team fit, more responsibility, or job title that is most important to them? This can vary hugely between people. What might be a great  motivation for one person might not appeal to someone else.

3. What do you know about our pub and our competitors?
Has the candidate done their homework? If their knowledge extends little beyond the home page of your website, it suggests they cannot really be bothered.

4. What is your ideal pub environment?
Some people like to work alone, others prefer being in a team. By establishing the type of environment that stimulates your candidate, you’ll be able to see if they will be a good cultural fit for your pub.

5. How do you like being managed?
Will help you to establish what they really want out of a job, and what you can provide them. Another way to frame this question is to ask who the candidates favourite manager was and why: you’ll be able to see whether they needed to be managed very closely, or were happy to work on projects independently.

6. Why did you leave your last pub?
Candidates that stumble on this question may be trying to cover up something negative, or feel nervous about sharing a story about redundancy or a period without work. A prepared candidate will have rehearsed simple, positive stories to answer this question. Someone who responds immediately with a tale of woe about how they were mistreated, however, might be best avoided.

7. What is your greatest weakness?
Beware here of candidates who turn this into a stealth boast, saying Oh, I’m a perfectionist, or I work too hard. A good answer to this question will show you how they turned that weakness into a strength. So someone who has struggled with time management could show you how they’ve used an online diary or productivity program to get them back on track, or a candidate who has had difficulty with numbers might have conquered Excel.

8. Tell me about a time you had to deal with a difficult colleague
Like it or not, every workplace brings up conflict now and then. Asking candidates to describe how they have dealt with awkward situations before will give you a good idea of how they will fit into the new organisation. Have they been able to see the problem from the other persons point of view, or did they lay down the law? Likewise, look out for candidates who claim they’ve never been in a difficult situation at work, unless it’s their first job.

9. What would you current/most recent boss say about you?
This question delves into how they are perceived within the team and by their peers and manager, If this question does raise any concerns about an otherwise promising candidate, you can always pursue these when you take references. Candidates who simply tell you  I’m amazing without backing it up are likely to add little substance to the role either.

10. Do you have any questions for us?
Turning the interview around and asking the candidate to probe you may seem like standard practice, but it can reveal hidden depths about the interviewee. Their response will vary hugely between stunned silence, a couple of boring, rehearsed quips such as “What benefits do you provide?  and a full-on interrogation. Detailed, genuinely interested questions about the company and its on-going strategy show that the candidate has pictured themselves in the role and see themselves as part of your future.

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