Hospitality hiring managers or business owners should understand the importance of learning how to interview candidates well. After all, the person being interviewed has a lot at stake — they want to show you their skills, share their desire to work with your company, and make sure you see them as a talented candidate.

As a hiring manager, it’s important to keep yourself aware of the unconscious bias that exists in the workplace. Although we try to be as fair and unbiased as possible, it’s easy for us to overlook our own biases and make decisions based on assumptions about someone.

Here are five of our top strategies to follow if you're concerned you might not be getting the most out of your interviews.

1. Interview Options Available To You

The first step in ensuring you can master your interviews within your hospitality business is knowing what methods you can use to interview candidates. Everyone has their favorite form of interviewing, and a range of tools and strategies are commonly used. 

Video Interviews: If you’ll be speaking in a video meeting, keep in mind that it’s the first thing that people will notice about you. You want to appear as professional and friendly as possible so that your customers trust your business right off the bat. Location and setting for the video call is just as important, try to avoid fussy backgrounds and noises that can easily distract the interviewee.

In-Person Interviews: In-person interviews are often considered the “real” interviewing process, as candidates come face to face with your company. You’ll need to think about where you’re going to host your interview, whether it’s a welcoming space, who will attend, and whether the candidate will present or not.

Phone Interviews: If you are interviewing a candidate over the phone, consider recording your conversation so that you have an audio recording (and transcript) to go back over later. It can also help you visualise what a person is like in addition to hearing their voice.

2. Avoiding Biases 

Perhaps the most common way we create unconscious bias is through shared hobbies. This can be a great way to get to know someone and make a connection, but it can also cause more problems than you think. If you share a hobby with another person, even in passing conversation, it can be easy to assume too much about them or assume that certain things about them won’t matter or are less important.

Unconscious bias is a way of thinking which can mean you favour one candidate over another because you like certain things about their lifestyle or personality, which have nothing to do with the role.

Your questions should be the same for all candidates you interview for that role. This helps reduce the focus on bias and makes it easier to evaluate your candidates.

3. Candidate Interview Style and Format 

Although there are infinite ways of doing interviews, here are the six most common techniques:

Competency-based interviews


Group Interviews

Task-based interviews

First and second stage

Panel interview

Tailor your interviews to the role. When you hire a chef, you want to see if they can cook and create a dish that suits the restaurant. If you are looking for a temp to cover busy periods, ask them to complete a task-based video interview. It’s better for all of your candidates, and for you as an employer.

Interviewing candidates is an art, and the best way to make sure you’re pairing with the right candidate is to have multiple people on the team interview them. This keeps bias at a minimum and allows for a holistic review of candidates’ experience and abilities.

4. Make The Interview Experience Memorable 

The hospitality sector is full of opportunities as well as challenges. With one of the largest candidate shortages on record, it is challenging to find the right people to join your team.

Ensure your candidate experience is remembered for all the right reasons by focusing on their needs and providing a personalised, targeted and memorable interview experience.

If you’re interviewing by phone or face to face, the most important thing is to make sure it’s in a distraction-free environment. Turn off your phone and make sure there are no disruptions. Candidates will feel unimportant if they are interrupted. 

Take the time to get to know each candidate on a personal level. Planning a special tour or showing them around your establishment is a great way to get them excited about working for you. It also allows you to see how well they interact with others.

5. Follow Up With Your Candidates and Make Notes

Don’t forget to take notes after each round of interviews. They are extremely useful when you are going through the many rounds of interviews and need to remember relevant points that you or the candidate made during their interview. 

Try to set aside some time after each interview to reflect on what stood out to you most about the candidate. Notes or a checklist are useful to capture this information, as they will help you score the candidate more accurately.

Letting the candidate know what’s next shows you care about their experience with the organisation and that it’s important to have them join sooner rather than later.

At Twentysix Recruitment we can help with more than just finding you new candidates – we can give you advice on how to interview more effectively. It’s often helpful to seek some help from a specialist recruitment company like ourselves that can help with a lot more than just finding you new candidates – our specialist recruiters can also give you advice on how to interview more effectively, with tips on questions you might need to ask. 

We can recruit the staff you need to drive your business forward. If your catering and hospitality team are struggling with turnover, let us review and support your recruitment process. We cover the whole of the UK and can assist with whatever your requirement may be. Feel free to get in touch with Twentysix Recruitment and one of our helpful and insightful consultants will be glad to help. 


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