How to Answer the Top 10 Catering Interview Questions

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Working in the catering industry requires you to be engaging, refreshing and enthusiastic. If you intend to apply for a job as a catering manager, be mindful of the demanding nature of the industry.

Most of the interview questions asked are generic; however, maintain relevance by steering your answers towards the job description and requirements of the catering industry. Engage with your interviewer by personalizing your answers through anecdotes and pertinent details. Most importantly, convince your interviewer that you have an in-depth understanding of the catering industry.

Please tell us about yourself?

This is a common question, and often the one that any job interview begins with. When answering, do not simply tell your interviewer about yourself; sell yourself by highlighting the most relevant details. This way, you don’t lose focus in the position.

What are your career goals in the catering industry?

Demonstrate a sense of ambition and set targets. Your interviewer can gauge your self-awareness and level of commitment.

How has your experience working in catering been?

This is your opportunity to provide background information based on your previous jobs. Highlight the skills you’ll bring on board. Remember to be honest. If you’ve had any negative experiences, give them a positive twist by reflecting on how you’ve managed to work around them. If you have little or no experience, engage your interviewer by talking about your passion for food and service.

How do you work under pressure?

Talk about your ability to ‘stand the heat in the kitchen’ by prioritizing the needs. Give examples of your prior stressful situations and how you managed to get through them.

How do you work within a team?

The service industry involves a lot of coordination between front and kitchen staff. Emphasize your ability to communicate effectively with co-workers and carry out your duties. This portrays you as responsible, accountable and inclusive.

How do you handle difficult customers?

Your response to this says a lot about your level of patience and tolerance. Elaborate on how to maintain a professional attitude, and if need be, seek the assistance of a senior colleague. However, appreciate that catering is a sensitive industry that requires a lot of consideration when accommodating customer tastes and needs.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

This is another way of evaluating your self-awareness. Don’t disguise a positive trait as a flaw like saying ‘I’m a workaholic’, be true to yourself and instead, highlight how you have tried to overcome a weakness. Similarly, do not exaggerate your strengths.

What are your expectations in terms of salary?

This question tends to be very tricky. Instead, discuss how you’d like to advance yourself professionally, which is a subtle way of letting your employer know your pay prospects.

Do you have any questions?

Show enthusiasm for the job by asking questions pertaining to the vacancy. Being inquisitive does not mean ignorance; it means you’re seeking clarification to understand the expectations. If you’re not sure what a customer ordered, go back and ask so that you do not end up bringing the wrong thing.

What about Non-verbal Communication?

Other questions may not be put to you directly. Nevertheless, whether you are chosen for the job may depend on how you present yourself.

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At a basic level, you need to show that you have a good sense of hygiene as you’ll be in an environment with a lot of food items. Remember to turn up for the interview when you’re neat.

Your body language speaks a lot about you. Keep an open posture, smile and look at your interviewer directly. Listen to the questions and answer appropriately to prove that you can take instructions when hosting or serving guests. Increase your job prospects in these unspoken ways.