What questions should I ask a restaurant staff job candidate during a phone interview?

When trying to determine whether a candidate will meet expectations, ask real life questions and give them a few moments to think about their answer before giving you a response. These questions will help you make an informed decision.

  • Have you ever been to our restaurant?
  • What do you know about the restaurants' products or services?
  • Why are you searching for a new position?
  • When could you start working?
  • Are there specific days or times of day when you are not able to work? Do you have a shift preference?
  • Do you need to work a certain amount of hours (FT/PT)? Is there a limit to the number of hours you can work?
  • Is the pay rate for this position within your acceptable range?
  • What particular skills or experiences make you the best match for this position?
  • Are there certain tasks associated with this position that you enjoy more than others?
  • What aspects of your previous position did you find most professionally challenging?
  • What would your most difficult past customer say you could do to improve service delivery?
  • What areas of training would your past supervisor say you would benefit from the most?
  • What kinds of professional development would make you a more-effective worker?
  • What skills have you recently gained or strengthened?
  • For you personally, what are the most important characteristics of a good manager?
  • What motivates you in a job?
  • Give me an example of a time when you were faced with a challenging customer or co-worker and how you handled the situation. 
  • What questions do you have for me?


  • complaining about or placing blame on circumstances or on other people or past employers
  • frequently changing jobs


  • Birth dates
  • Graduation dates
  • Education level (unless a particular degree or level is reasonably needed to successfully perform the job)
  • Military discharge information
  • Race
  • Citizenship (You can ask if the person is authorized to work in the United States)
  • Maiden name or marital status (including salutation: Miss, Ms. Mrs.)
  • Social security number
  • Salary history
  • Criminal history