Top Job Interview Questions Employers Ask Cooks

Handling complaints and standing for a long time make this list

Focused female chef plating salad tweezers restaurant kitchen
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If you're interested in working as a cook or you're already a cook and seeking new employment, prep for your interview by familiarizing yourself with the top questions employers ask job seekers in your field.

Knowing how to answer these questions ahead of your interview can give you the edge over other candidates. Employers want to know if you take the initiative, handle conflict or manage long hours.

They'll also want to know the basics, such as what training (formal or informal) you have had in cooking.

Taking the Initiative

Taking charge is a valuable asset for many professionals, including cooks. So, employers may be likely to ask you about a time at work when you did something without being asked. 

Specifically for cooks, an employer might want to know what you would do if a product is getting low, but you are working on a completely different task. What would you do? Do you ignore the problem, stop what you're doing to get more or let someone else know about the diminishing product and tell them to take action?

There's no one right answer. Simply think about what you would do or what you've done in the past during similar situations.

Similarly, an employer might ask a cook how you would proceed if you need to make a dish but do not have all the ingredients you need. What would you do?

Improvise and use a substitute ingredient instead? Make another dish entirely or enlist the help of one of your colleagues to solve the problem.

Responding to Problems

Conflict is part of any professional's life. But an employer might want to know what you would do if multiple people complained to you about a meal you prepared.

How would you handle their complaints? Would you get angry and defensive, offer to remake the dish to their liking and find out what the problem was or waive the fee for their meals?

Alternatively, sometimes it won't be you having the problem but your colleagues. Employers might like to know about a time you helped a coworker who was struggling to complete a task.

Sometimes the problems you encounter won't be from customers or from products running low in the kitchen but related to tension between you and a colleague. With that in mind, employers might ask you to describe a time when you had to work with a co-worker with whom you were not fond. How did you handle the situation?

Working Environment

Kitchens are fast-paced environments. The stress may be difficult for some people to manage, prompting employers to ask questions about your performance under such circumstances. For example, they'll want to know how you work in such a setting. How long can you stand on your feet without a break, they're likely to ask. 

A busy setting can lead to accidents, so employers may want to know what measures you take to ensure safety in the kitchen. They'll also want to know how you will go about completing tasks in the allotted amount of time in a chaotic environment, and how you'll manage to keep your workspace clean.

Wrapping Up

In addition to job specific interview questions, you will also be asked more general questions about your employment history, education, strengths, weaknesses, achievements, goals, and plans. Be ready to answer them.