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How to Interview Candidates for Your Pizzeria

Posted by Brad Brooks

Brad is the Sales & Marketing Director at SpeedLine Solutions and is always looking for an opportunity to tell people about his Viking heritage. Rather than relying on his warrior genes, Brad instead chooses to depend upon his 20 years of experience in the restaurant technology industry to help him lead the sales and marketing teams to victory.

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Hiring is a necessary evil when it comes to managing your pizzeria. For many, it’s a process that you never get used to, and are always looking to improve. In previous articles, I’ve talked about the general hiring process, such as advertising positions and building job descriptions. In this article, I want to narrow in on the interview process itself.

Once you have a shortlist of candidates you think might be a good fit for your restaurant, at least on paper, it’s time to call them in for an interview. Many employers will use the first phone call as an opportunity to pre-screen applicants, to ensure they aren’t wasting time interviewing someone that isn’t a good match.

 

The steps in an interview

 

Pre-Screening

During the pre-screening phone call, ensure you find out the hours they are available to work, what skills they might have that demonstrate reliability and willingness to learn, and how they found out about the position (did they take the initiative to visit your website?). If there is anything you need them to bring to the interview, like a driver’s abstract, let them know so they can be prepared.

Look for someone who answers the phone courteously, as they will often be doing that on behalf of your company. And remember to be polite yourself--while you may be interviewing the candidates, they are also deciding if your restaurant is a good fit for them.

 

Interview

To prepare for the interview, ensure you have a private space in your restaurant to speak with the potential hire. It should be someplace that you won’t be interrupted, so you can devote all of your attention to them. Before the actual interview, review the candidate’s resume and come up with a good mix of questions based on their experience to add to a few standard questions that you ask every candidate.

 

Hiring is really asking questions—lots of questions. I can't get that across to our management enough. It is really good to understand these people, get to know them, ask open-ended questions (not just yes and no), and just see how they react. If you get a person with a good attitude, a good work ethic, a little bit of attention to detail, but with a sense of urgency, those people are invaluable. - Adam Shorter, owner of Cosmo’s Pizza

 

Below is a list of interview questions you can pull from:

General Pizzeria Interview Questions

  • What previous experience do you have in restaurants?
  • What can you tell me about [name of your restaurant]?
  • How do you feel about working shift work? What is your availability?
  • Tell me about your experience working under pressure?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • How would you deal with an upset customer?
  • Have you taken any training specific to restaurant work?

Job Specific Interview Questions: In the Kitchen

  • What experience do you have preparing multiple orders simultaneously? Have you had other jobs where you had to multitask?
  • In past positions, how were orders communicated to the kitchen?
  • What experience do you have that would help you prepare orders for delivery?
  • What experience do you have with portion control tools, such as weights and portion cups? Why do you think portion control would be important?
  • Do you have any food safety certifications?

 

Job Specific Interview Questions: Delivery Drivers

  • How do you feel about using your own vehicle for deliveries?
  • Do you have a clean driving record? Do you have any moving violations or accidents on your record?
  • What would you do if you got into an accident on a delivery?
  • How would you ensure that orders were complete before leaving the store?
  • What would you do in a situation where a customer refused to pay?
  • What would you do if a child answered the door?

By the end of the interview, you should have a good idea of whether or not you want to hire the applicant. If at any point during the interview you decide that the candidate is not a good fit, it is ok to end it there and thank them for coming in. There is no point in wasting time asking more questions once you’ve made a decision.

 

“If you're hiring somebody whose job would include standing all day, interview the person standing. Standing energy and sitting energy are totally different. For every individual role, find the person with that energy and see how they perform in that state.” - Arjun Sen, Zen Mango

 

Ensure you ask the candidate if they have any questions for you and that you outline any pertinent details like pay, hours, and benefits. This will prevent any misunderstanding later if you present an offer. Thank the candidate for their time, and give them a timeline for when you will get back to them with your decision.

Learn more about employee management in the webinar How to Hire, Train & Retain Great Pizzeria Employees.

 

 


Posted on Wed, Mar 10, 2021 @ 09:03 AM.
Updated on August 20, 2021 @ 1:06 PM PST.


Tags: Employee Management, Restaurant Management

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