Interview ? for kitchen staff

Joined Apr 10, 2004
hi, new to the forum and wondering if anyone can help me out with some specific unique questions to ask in an interview when HIRING kitchen staff. Think of what you wished you'd ask any member joining your team on a new start up.
Joined Oct 28, 1999
Welcome to the forum, chefgrl

Some questions I ask of students applying to my program:

>Using a previous experience, how have you handled working with a difficult person? Looking back at that time, what would you do differently?

>How would your LEAST favorite previous employer describe you?

>Where do you hope to be in 5 years? 10 years?

>What interests do you have outside of work? (Helps to get a picture of how 'well rounded' the person may be)

>How do you deal with someone being critical of your work?

Hope this is what you are looking for.
Joined Mar 12, 2004

1. Ask what they liked and disliked about their prevous job.
2. Ask what they liked and disliked about their previous boss.
3. Ask what their strengths and weaknesses are.
4. Why should you be hired for this job?
5. Describe a situation where you were close to losing your temper with an unhappy customer.
6. Describe a situation where you went out of your way to accommodate a demanding boss.
7. How do you handle conflict?
8. What attributes make you a good team member.
9. What motivates you?
10. What are the things that make a job a bad job?

Hope that helps!
Joined May 26, 2001
Are you interviewing for all levels, from porter/dishwasher on up? If so, the first (and in some cases only) question I'd ask is: why do you want this job? If the person kinds of grunts in response or says something to the effect of "I need to earn some money", there need not be any further questions. If s/he shows some spark of interest, THEN you can go on to other questions. Even if the interest is vague, on the order of "I've thought I'd like to work in a restaurant (or whatever your establishment is)" or right on up to real enthusiasm for the place and the work, you've got someone who can be an asset.

All those other questions that people have proposed are good, but if the interviewee sees this as "just a job" then this is NOT the industry for that person.
Joined Jul 31, 2000
This advice is very important, not everyone stands up well to being drilled with questions about specifics. Someone who can answer those questions without skipping a beat does not mean he/she is qualified for the position you need to fill.

I do however look for someone who has eye contact with me, shows enthusiasm and confidence. Much has to do with what level of experience your after in regards to your questioning.If your after an executive chef you need to develop a clear line of questioning that opens up the duologue you need to determine his/her ability, your questions would be different if your looking for a part time UT worker. Darn I'm tired, i can't finish my thoughts :eek:


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Give them a chicken and leave them alone for two hours. Come back and see what they have to offer you.



Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I believe this question will probably get you in trouble. A person who didn't get the job could come back on you for discrimination for their answer to this question.

If the interviewee volunteers such info, then you can ask further, but you can't ask first. At least that's what I was trained to do for interviewing.

Joined Apr 10, 2004
Thanks for all the advice I sincerely appreciate it! I am seeking questions from the standpoint of an exec chef/part owner that is hiring and interviewing full kitchen staff.
Even thinking along the lines of what they carry, how they handle being on their feet for so long, what about being in a kitchen are they most passionate about, biggest influence that they worked with to date and what they got from that- that sort of thing....just trying to cover more bases and compile a complete list to fire out. Ideally the thought process is to get a young (but not too green) and enthusiastic staff on board!
Please keep 'em coming....
Joined Mar 2, 2002
It sounds like you have a more complicated job/business going on than I did, but here's what I ended up doing....

I had a lot of yahoos come through my place who knew a lot about food but who didn't give a rat's behind what I was trying to accomplish with my business. I also had a few weirdos come through who didn't know jack about food, but who could "work any time" (or steal anytime). Then... there were the best ones - students who were on their way to something else eventually (whether it be food or whatnot), but who were honest with me from the beginning about what they needed in a job from me and who remained honest in what they promised to provide in return.

Believe it or not, I found that one of the best ways to find people like this is in the every day application. Give everyone, resume or not, an application to fill out. And only call back the ones that dot every "i" and cross every "t" on the application. No exceptions.

When I started doing this, I only had one more bad apple. And if I had taken more time to talk to him before hiring him, I probably could have avoided that situation, too.

Joined Jul 2, 2001
The one question that I always ask has no right or wrong answer per se.the question is... If you were stranded on a desert island and had all of the food and water that you'd ever need what other 3 items would you want and why. It tells me a couple of things...First, did they really listen to what I was saying? I want people who pay attention so that I don't have to repeat myself alot. Secondly, can they think on their feet. Thirdly, What is really important to them. That tells me alot about them as a person.

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