Some of the most common questions I receive from friends are regarding upcoming server job interviews. They want to know what questions to expect and the best answers to give. The first part is easy because there are five questions you can expect in most every server interview. The second part is a bit more complicated because the answer depends on your personal opinion. I ran across this question again today on The Service Industry Facebook page (which you should check out) and realized that I had never outlined the five questions and my answers. Today, I will fix that.
Before getting to that, let me tell you why I love job interviews and why you should too. I am confident as a server, but every day I run the risk of someone knowing more about food, wine, or liquor than I do. I study each of these things, but there is always someone who knows more. In an interview, I am the expert every time. You see an interview is about the manager learning about me. No one in the world knows more about me than I do. How could I possibly be nervous when I know more about the topic than they do? If you carry this attitude into your interviews, you will not be nervous either.
Of course I also have a bit of confidence because I know what questions to anticipate and how to reply. After reading the rest of this post, you will too.
Five questions to expect in a server interview:
What is your greatest strength?
“I have seen enough craziness in this business that very little throws me off my game. When things get hectic, I am able to remain calm and hopefully help others do the same. It is not that I am less busy, but I know that focus and teamwork are better ways of getting out of ‘the weeds’ than panic and wasted steps.”
What is your greatest weakness?
“I am probably a bit too reluctant to ask for help. I try to help others as much as possible, but sometimes fail to ask them to return the favor. It is something I am working on, but I try to take responsibility for my section and fight through these situations on my own.”
What is your favorite part of serving?
“The constant challenge. Every day is something different. Each shift provides me with new challenges and the ability to try to improve on how I handle them. I don’t think anyone ever perfects serving. That is what makes it so great. Each time I encounter a situation I try to handle it even better than the time before. This means that my job never gets boring.”
What is your least favorite part of serving?
“Bad tips. Any other answer would be lying. Not every guest appreciates service as much as others. I know I can’t change it and try not to take it personally. Instead I focus on giving the best service I can to each guest and getting the best tip they are prepared to leave. I can’t expect everyone to tip the way I do, but I can be satisfied knowing that they left what they consider to be a good tip.”
Why would you be a good addition to our team?
“I am a quick learner and a team player. I hope that on each shift I contribute more to help other servers than I ask in return. I wouldn’t be applying here if I didn’t think you already had a good team. I think I can learn from them and hopefully share a little bit of what I have learned from the great servers I have worked with in the past. They say that iron sharpens iron. I hope to be able to improve my skills and maybe help others improve theirs.”
So do I get the job? These are just my answers and you should definitely come up with your own. These are all honest answers. Remember that a job interview is much like a first date. You should be honest, but also put your best foot forward. Also keep in mind that there are questions you should ask as well. Don’t go into job interviews with a sense of desperation. You are looking to be a good match for the position. Thinking in advance how you will answer these common questions will move you beyond the first date and have them asking for a long term relationship with you.