The 5 Best Hotel Employee Interview Questions to Land an Incredible Team Member

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In the hospitality industry, one new job is created every 2.5 seconds.

I’ll give you three to take that in.

hotel employee interview questions

A hotel can’t function without employees (but maybe it could with robots…) so if you work in hotel management, chances are you’ve recently hired someone, or will in the near future.

But how do you make sure the people you’re hiring are the right fit for your hotel? And what separates a mediocre hospitality employee from an incredible one?

Interviews are a great way to learn about a candidate’s experience, personality, and work ethic in their own words. That’ll show you how they fit into your hotel, and can give you a more accurate picture compared to just a resume. But you’ll only get the right information if you’re asking the right questions.

Use these five hotel employee interview questions to make sure your newest team member is an awesome addition to your business.

1. Why do you want to work at this hotel?

When people asked me why I spent my summers working three jobs, I often facetiously replied, “I really like money.” This would not be a good answer in an interview. Money is the reason why your candidate wants a job, not this job.

A good employee has a specific interest in your hotel and brand. Invested candidates are more likely to desire long-term employment, and are motivated to improve and turn the job into a career.

Further, knowledge of your hotel’s culture, clientele, and standards shows that the candidate has taken the time to get to know your business and thinks the job will be a good fit.

2. What is your previous hospitality or service industry experience?

Experience is crucial in the hospitality industry. An ideal candidate will have spent at least a year working in a hotel. If not, they need experience in areas that will easily transfer to the hotel industry like customer service.

Does their experience prove they have the right personality for the job?

“A great, five-star hotel employee thinks things through.” says consultant Eric Weiss. “He or she has a sense of priority, attention to detail, practicality, follow-through and efficiency.”

Make sure you know exactly which skills are necessary for the position, and then judge whether the candidate’s background demonstrates proficiency in those skills.

3. Why did you leave your previous hotel job?

According to a Deloitte Hospitality report, the average hotel spends 33% of its revenue on labor costs alone. And in the U.S., the average employee turnover is 31%.

Hiring and training new employees consumes a huge amount of time and money, so if you hire someone, make sure they’re going to stick around for a while. The amount of time they spent at their last job is a good indicator of this, but so is the reason they eventually left. If they don’t give a rock solid reason for wanting to leave their old job, they may also see your as just a stepping-stone to someplace else.

4. How have you handled a bad situation with guests in the past?

Monica Rojas, a Marriott HR expert, says that Marriott hiring managers generally ask behavioral questions during interviews to find out how candidates handle and react to different people and problems.

Working in a hotel, you’re bound to run into a few sticky (sometimes literally) situations. A good candidate knows how to handle difficult guests, unexpected messes, and other unpleasant issues with ease. Stories from past employment will prove they have the skills to solve even the toughest problems.

5. What would you do if you noticed your coworker stealing?

Honesty is an essential trait in a hotel employee. Especially since they often have access to the personal information and valuables of hotel guests. If you can’t trust someone, you shouldn’t hire them, regardless of how qualified they are. Asking a candidate how they would handle a situation where they notice a coworker stealing will help you gauge their integrity.

Honest employees are essential, but you also want your staff to work in harmony. A great hotel employee won’t spread rumors about coworkers, or share unfounded suspicions. Get a sense of the candidate’s tendency towards gossip or retaliation from their answer to this question as well.

What tips do you have?

What’s your favorite interview questions for hiring incredible hotel employees? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking for Hospitality Property Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Hospitality Property Management software solutions.

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About the Author


Dan Taylor

Dan is a content writer at Capterra, specializing in hotel management, construction and real estate. Outside the office, he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, catching up with the latest offering from HBO or paying a visit to a new place.


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