Typical Interview Questions

Typical Job Interview Questions

Typical Interview Questions

Interviews can be daunting for both the employer and candidate. There are many typical interview questions online, but success all comes down to the preparation.

You’ll notice that some questions will come up time and time again, with the occasional curve ball being thrown in for good measure.

For Employers

If you are a regular conductor of interviews or not, it can be important to implement some behavioural Interviewing techniques to your process.

“Behavioral based interviewing is interviewing based on discovering how the interviewee acted in specific employment-related situations. The logic is that how you behaved in the past will predict how you will behave in the future i.e. past performance predicts future performance.”

This will allow you to gather the candidates motivations for applying for your role and mitigate some of the risks to the potential of bringing in the wrong people into your business.

For Employees/Job Candidates

When you consider your answers to the questions that you have been asked you’re looking to show/describe your motivation, and you are being assessed on several factors:

  • What motivates you?
  • What is the work environment that you find most motivating?
  • Does the work environment the business has match with your needs?

A candidate’s innate drive and tenacity needs to match the job for which he is selected. For example, you don’t want to hire a candidate who most enjoys working alone for your positions that require strong collaboration.

For the most part, you want to listen for those motivational cues that tell you the job candidate is about helping others, creating something, finishing something, doing whatever it takes to succeed and making the team better.

List of Typical Interview Questions

We’ve gathered a list of some of the most common chef interview questions to help get you off to the best start possible.

You will need to do your research when you are preparing for an interview. There will be strong competition for the most popular roles.

It’s helpful to review the most important skills for the role, and think of examples where you have used these skills with success at the restaurants you’ve worked in.

Preparing thoroughly will get you ready to answer any of these commonly asked interview questions with confidence. We have tailored our questions to the hospitality industry but they can be related to any industry.

List of typical job interview questions

Culinary Education Questions

  • Why did you decide to become a chef?
  • What other positions have you previously held?
  • Did you go to culinary school?
  • What grades did you attain through your culinary studies?
  • What did you like most about the education experience? What did you like least?
  • Where and how were you trained?

Management Questions

  • What is your management style?
  • What management style do you prefer for your supervisor to have?
  • How many employees report to you?
  • What levels are the employees who are your direct reports?
  • Are you a team player?
  • Describe your usual role in a team-centred work environment? Do you easily assume a leadership role?
  • Do you have a sense of humour?
  • Tell me about a difficult situation and how you handled it?
  • Describe the relationship between back-of-the-house and front-of-the-house operations.
  • Tell me about your experience with employee and workforce management. Describe the last time you had to discipline a subordinate.

General Conversational Questions

  •  Are you able to work flexible hours?
  • Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?
  • What is your preferred cuisine?
  • How many different types of cuisine are you capable of producing?
  • What is your preferred cuisine to cook?
  • What is your preferred wine?
  • Tell me about your wine knowledge.
  • Tell me about pairing wine and food.

Trends and Business Acumen Questions

  • What trends are you noticing regarding wine and food pairings?
  • What is an example of a springtime menu you would prepare for me?
  • If you were asked to reduce fat and sodium in a menu, what would you do maintain flavor in the quality of the dish?
  • What do you do to stay current on new trends? Describe two or three of the most interesting industry trends.

Quality Assurance Questions

  • How do you test the quality of your ingredients?
  • Describe your knowledge of food safety.

Previous Experience Questions

  • How involved are you in the beverage component of your establishment?
  • How involved are you with menu development and overall design?
  • When are you happiest at work?
  • If you were told that your food cost was high, what five things would you look at first?
  • What is the average annual revenue of the restaurants you have worked in?
  • How involved are you in the financial aspect of the business?
  • Tell me about your budgeting, purchasing and inventory control experience.

Be aware that if you are specifically looking for a chef position that includes elements of management or higher-level duties, you may be asked to describe your leadership capabilities, supervisory experience and expertise in financial and restaurant costing matters.

Background Research Before Your Interview

You should make sure you are familiar with the restaurant’s food and menu. Make an effort to find out as much about their business model and history as you can. If you have contacts at the restaurant, use them for potential useful information to you make the best impression during your interview.

The more you know the more you can tailor your answers to show how you will improve their menu and profitability.

In addition to job specific interview questions, you will also be asked more general questions about your employment history, education, strengths, weaknesses, achievements and future goals.

10 Most Common Interview Questions

According to Monster.co.uk the most frequently asked interview questions are:

  • What can you tell me about yourself?

What this question is really asking is, tell me about yourself as a professional? What do YOU think is important for the job? How are you going to fit in with the company and provide value? Structure your answer to include answers to these questions and you will be on to a winner.

  • Can you list your strengths?

There are many answers to this question and interviewers love to ask it. It can also be one of the hardest for you to answer. You want to sell yourself without being arrogant etc, etc. there are many articles on how to go about answering this question we have chosen this one as a good reference List your Strengths

  • What weaknesses do you have?

This is a classic tricky interview question. No one I have ever met likes this question. They are asking you to reveal something about yourself that might not be positive or that you find difficult. So how should you approach this question? It is important to keep your answer to work related skills as it will show that you are taking the interview seriously. Therefore probably saying that chocolate is your greatest weakness is probably not going to get you very far. The best response is always to describe a weakness that could also be viewed as a strength. For example, I am very passionate about my work and get frustrated if others around me don’t share my passion. Then you can come up with an explanation as to how you resolved the potential down side of your greatest strength.

For example, “if you are applying for a job in a kitchen where you are going to have tough regular targets to meet and will be working in a high pressure environment, you could explain how you find pressure and targets motivating and enjoy the buzz of performing under pressure, but sometimes find it difficult to sustain your enthusiasm and commitment in a slower-paced kitchen where you don’t have clearly defined responsibilities and feel you aren’t sufficiently challenged. Then perhaps you could explain how you coped in a similar situation, even though it went against your natural inclinations. For example, perhaps you used your initiative and sought out additional responsibilities.”

  • Why should I consider hiring you?

The good news is that this questions allows you to really sell yourself as the perfect candidate for the role.

  1. Do your home work and research the company fully, look for there core values and try to replicate this in the question. Some businesses have the ir values slapped across their website i.e. the BBC do this http://www.bbc.co.uk/careers/why-join-us/values
  2. Be very clear in the fact that you are the one they want to hire. Listen to what they say in the interview and match the key things they are looking for in the interview.
  3. Use the opportunity to show your value to them. Give them specific examples of when you have performed well, worked well in a team or gone above and beyond your job responsibilities.
  • Where do you see yourself five years from now?

when the interviewer asks this question they want to know your career goals and how they fit into what they can offer you. They care about your answer because they want someone who is motivated, proactive likely to stay in the job/with the company for a while.

Hiring managers don’t generally enjoy recruiting, hiring, and training new people. It can be a time-consuming and difficult process. Your interviewer does not want to invest time and effort in someone who is already planning to leave for something better as soon as it comes along. 

  1. Keep your answer fairly general
  2. Stress your interest in a long-term career with that company
  3. Show enthusiasm for the job role you are going for
  • Why do you want to work here?

What they are really asking is:

  1. Why do you want to work for us?
  2. Why have you applied for this role?

To answer this interview question effectively this is another question that involves researching the company. As stated in previous questions the company website is a good place to start. Usually the “about” page is packed with information regarding their mission and what they believe in, so this maybe a good place to start. From this research it is helpful to ask yourself what you like about what you have read, i.e. their values, training, career path, What inspires you about them etc.

  • What are your salary expectations?

probably one of the trickiest interview questions to answer. Pitch your expectations too high and you could be pitching yourself out of the reckoning, and too low and you could be missing out on valuable pounds in your pocket. A good answer really depends on your situation. You could avoid the question by saying that your recruiter can handle that for you, or my favourite thing to do is ask what the salary range they have in mind is. You could also say that you are currently on $??? and that you would consider the same but ideally more. Again this is a question that you need to gage and use your instinct to ascertain how to approach the answer.

  • What motivates you?

OK so the interviewer is really asking, what do we have to do to motivate you? And do your motivation levels fit to this job?

The reality is that there are many things that motivate a person, from Money to providing for their family etc. Our main advice is that you:

  1. Pick factors that reflect positively on you as a person
  2. Factors that are consistent with the job you are applying for
  3. Which will be positive for your employer


“I’m very results-driven. Doing a good job and achieving the desired end result is my primary motivation. While I enjoy working on a project on my own, I’m particularly motivated by the buzz of working in a team. It’s very rewarding working closely with others who share the same common goal. I like to take on a challenge; I like to rise to that challenge as part of a concerted team effort – and I naturally appreciate it when my boss compliments me for a job well done.”

  • What makes a good team player?

This is a very important and very popular question which could be phrased in many different ways. As well as pre-preparing your answer to, “what makes you a team player”, you should also draft answers to all the alternative questions I’ve listed above. There will be common ground between your answers but each will have a slightly different slant to it.

You could answer the question in the context of your current job but you’d be better off approaching it from the angle of the job for which you are applying. They’re asking you in what ways you are a team player but you need to be asking yourself in what ways will they want you to be a team player. Are they looking for a leader? Are they looking for someone who brings out the best in others? Are they looking for the person who generates the ideas or the person who is a dab hand at putting new ideas into practice?

Establish in your own mind what sort of a team player they want you to be and then deliver an answer which caters to that image.


I certainly very much enjoy working with others; I’m outgoing, I enjoy the team spirit and I’m understanding of the needs of others. I’m good at helping the team to see the bigger picture –  helping them to focus on what really matters rather than getting bogged down in irrelevant things that do not matter. I’m also good at helping the team to spot flaws in our approach – and potential problems and pitfalls. I believe I have strong communication skills and, while I don’t yet have experience in a leadership role, I do have a talent for liaising between different team members and resolving any disputes which may arise. Conflict between different team members is rarely very productive and is normally best avoided.

  • Is there anything that you would like to ask me?

You should only ask questions that you really want to hear an answer to. While this might seem apparent to you, there are many candidates who ask questions they think the interviewer wants them to ask, but this is a waste of your time and theirs, and they will almost always see through what you are trying to do.

Below are a few questions we would ask:

  1. How do you measure success in your company/business ?
  2. Could you describe a typical working day for me?
  3. What would my career path look like?
  4. What is the main priority for the person in this position?
  5. Can you give me an example of the best results someone else in this position has produced?
  6. Could you describe the company’s personality?
  7. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the business?
  8. Who will I be working closely with?
  9. What does your company stand for and what are its values?
  10. Do you have any reservations about me? (A chance to put their minds at rest!)

These questions are not asked in every interview but we would highly recommend you prepare answers to them all.

I was once asked, if I was a fruit, what would I be and why? I used all the above to relate all my answers to a type of fruit, lol!

Remember questions like this are designed for employers to get an insight into how well you can think on your feet, and how you react in a high-pressure situation. Think of this kind of question as an opportunity to talk about any aspect of your personality that you think the employer would be impressed with.

My answer was:

“I would be a banana, because I am sweet with excellent communication skills, a think skin and give energy to all around me”

When coming up with an answer it is important to relate your strengths, and match them with the characteristics required for the vacancy that you have applied for. Then relate a fruit which displays these qualities.

Think about it, your explanation is going to more important than the fruit you pick, as it will illustrate what you will potentially offer the company you are interviewing with.

The process of thinking about the answers to these questions will go along way to helping you answer effectively not only these questions but other related questions too.



Other Blog articles include:

How to Write a CV

7 skills that a leader needs to be successful

Top 5 body language tips to use in an interview

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