If you’re interviewing for a chef position, prepare to be asked a few standard questions. The questions listed below are the ones most commonly asked, as they will give a restaurant manager an idea of your experience, background, strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. The questions are fairly easy to answer, but investing a bit of time into preparing an answer can help you to give more effective answers:
1. Tell me about yourself?
Answer this question with a bit about your history as a chef, where you’ve worked, and what you think your strengths are in the kitchen. Say something like “I love to put my heart into every meal, as I know it makes the dining experience just that much better for the customer.”
2. Why did you leave your last job?
NEVER say “I left because of an a******e boss” or anything negative to that effect. If you got fired, spin it positively and emphasise the “lessons” you’ve learned. If you quit, spin it by saying, “I needed to find a place where I was properly challenged to reach my full potential.”
3. What are your strengths/weaknesses?
Make sure to play on your strengths, i.e. professional work, punctuality, cleanliness, etc. Downplay your weaknesses, or make them into a “faux-strength” by saying things like “My standards are too high, and I am frustrated when those around me don’t meet the same level of excellence.”
4. Why do you want to work here?
This can be anything from “A good work environment” to “a desire to grow in my career” or even “an opportunity to make a difference in this excellent restaurant”. You can lay it on a bit thick with this question.
5. What are your career goals?
Honestly, you may not have any, but you need to come up with some if you don’t. Say “I want to become an executive chef” or “I want to get the experience I need to one day open my own restaurant”. You don’t want to emphasise the fact that you one day plan to leave their establishment, but you do need to show that you’re going somewhere.
6. Are you a team player?
The obvious answer to this question is “yes”. You might have to give examples to prove it, so it’s best to prepare some, but it’s fine to keep this answer simple.
7. Tell me about a difficult situation and how you handled it?
From a difficult customer to a demanding boss or lazy employee, think of a situation that you handled well and use that as your example.
8. When are you happiest at work?
Answer this question by saying something to the effect of “When the kitchen staff are working well, and the orders are going out punctually.”
9. Are you able to handle the pressure?
Answer this with a simple “yes”, or give them an example of when you succeeded at handling your kitchen and staying calm despite an overwhelming number or variety of orders.
10. What have you done to improve your skills in the last year?
From watching TV to studying books and taking courses, good chefs are always improving their skills. Let the manager know how you’re becoming a better cook.
The questions are all pretty easy to answer, so you have nothing to worry about as you head into your chef job interview!