Getting through an application process and securing a job interview may bring elation, but it’s
quickly followed by dread when you begin thinking about the interview itself! While there’s no
doubt interviewing for a job can be nerve-wracking, it doesn’t have to be an ordeal. With the right
preparation, you can ensure you are ready to impress your future employers, no matter what they
For employees in the hospitality industry, in particular, the future certainly looks bright as the impact of Covid wanes. With jobs in the Australian hospitality sector set to hit record levels by 2024, it’s a good time to brush up on your interview skills if you want to land a promotion or a new role. With this in mind, take a look at these common interview questions and find out how to answer them:
1. Why have you applied for this role?
This question can be a stumbling block for applicants because it’s so open-ended. To stop yourself
from going off-topic, split the answer into two questions. Firstly, talk about why you want to work
for the specific company you’ve applied to and, secondly, why you’re suited to the role.
If you’re applying for a supervisory or managerial position, for example, you might want to highlight
your credentials and qualifications and talk about developing your skillset. Being as specific as
possible will show that you have a good grasp of what the position entails, which will reassure
interviewers that you have the ability to undertake all aspects of the role.
2. What are your strengths?
This is a question you’ll be asked again and again when you’re interviewing for jobs, so learning how
to answer it will always stand you in good stead. You’ll want to be truthful, without coming across as
arrogant or over-confident, which can be a tricky balancing act.
When you list your strengths, try to back each point up with examples. If you’re great at de-
escalating difficult situations with customers, tell the interviewer about a time when you were able
to do this.
Additionally, use your previous job history and appraisals to give you inspiration. What have
managers commended you for in the past? Have supervisors praised a particular aspect of your
work? If so, be sure to refer to it!
3. What are your weaknesses?
After asking about your strengths, interviewers will inevitably follow it up with a question about your
weaknesses, which can be even harder to answer! Again, honesty is the best policy but there’s no
need to be self-deprecating.
Knowing the areas you need to work on gives you the opportunity to expand your skills, so use this
to your advantage. If leadership is a weakness for you, for example, explain that you haven’t had many opportunities to flex your leadership skills yet and you’re eager to do so. Similarly, tell the
interviewer how you’ve overcome weaknesses in the past to become a more well-rounded employee.
4. How have you dealt with a challenge at work?
Here, the interviewer may be looking for you to tell them more about your problem-solving skills,
but they’ll also be keen to get an insight into your character and personality. When you’re working in
hospitality, challenges can range from being understaffed, dealing with difficult customers, and
working long shifts to surprise inspections and disagreements among staff, so decide carefully which
type of challenge you want to refer to.
If you’ve overcome a challenge by using or expanding your skill set, this could be a good way to show
that you’re able to find effective solutions to problems. Similarly, if you’ve anticipated an issue and
taken steps to avoid it, this can be a good way of highlighting how perceptive and proactive you are.
5. Why do you want to leave your current role?
Be extra careful when answering this one! No one wants to hear a candidate talk negatively about a
current or previous employer, so answer with tact. If the role isn’t sufficiently challenging, it’s fine to
say that you want to take on more responsibility and progress your career. If your boss barks at you
and makes you work the late shift, you might want to reword your answer and say that although
you’ve enjoyed the job, you’re looking for a more dynamic and flexible opportunity.
6. What do you think the future of the industry looks like?
If you’re interviewing for managerial or leadership roles, this is a question that’s particularly likely to
come up, so be prepared for it. Interviewers will want to know how much industry awareness you
have and how you think this will affect their organisation and/or your role.
Future hospitality trends are expected to include an emphasis on sustainability, differentiation
between hotel stays and home sharing, personalisation, and increased automation when it comes to
in-house processes, for example.
Knowing a little about the future of your industry, as well as how companies can adapt to and shape
it, will single you out as leadership material and certainly impress interviewers.
7. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Asking about your future gives interviewers the opportunity to gain insight into your career goals but
it also allows them to find out a little more about you as a person. Unless you’re applying for a fixed-
term contract, potential employers will want to be confident that a new hire is going to stay with
them the foreseeable future. After all, they’re investing time and resources in training you in in-
house policies, so they’ll want to ensure they get a return.
Having a five-year plan also reassures interviewers that you’ve actively thought about your future
and what you want from it, rather than simply gliding through your career. If you want to take on
more responsibility and climb the corporate ladder, now is the time to say so.
However, don’t feel compelled to give this as a stock answer if your future plans don’t entail working
your way up the management chain. If you’re looking for a role that provides stability and security
and are happy to stay at the same level for the foreseeable future, this is a perfectly competent
answer and won’t set you back.
How to Interview Successfully
First and foremost, make sure you have the details of the interview correct in advance. Many
companies are choosing to conduct interviews virtually now, so be sure to check login details and
internet connections well before the interview is due to start. If you’ll be attending a face-to-face
interview, make sure you know exactly where you’re going and what to expect. Will it be an informal
chat or a half-day series of assessments, for example?
When it comes to the interview itself, remember that you’re assessing your potential new employers
just as much as they’re assessing you. An interview gives you an opportunity to decide if a particular
company or role would be a good fit for you, so don’t get too hung up on trying to say the ‘right’
thing. Instead, focus on being honest, confident, and friendly and get an idea of whether you’d be
happy working for the firm. This approach, combined with the right amount of preparation and
research, will ensure you interview well and maximise your chances of landing your dream job.