California Pizza Kitchen Interview Questions & Tips

Restaurant Hiring Process Overview

California Pizza Kitchen, colloquially known as CPK, always stays on the lookout for individuals able to add to dynamic, energetic restaurant environments. With a variety of career opportunities, like cook, server, busser, host, bartender, shift leader and manager job titles, the pizza chain needs a variety of talents to staff each location. Each position holds a unique interview process. Every location conducts their own hiring processes, and interviews often vary by restaurant, as well. In every interview, CPK looks for ambitious, motivated, and hospitality-minded workers.

When to Turn in Applications

To start the California Pizza Kitchen hiring process, applicants need to submit employment forms to the preferred restaurant location. After reviewing hiring materials, CPK management may contact applicants to schedule interviews. On average, applicants wait about two weeks before receiving calls for interviews.

How Will I Know If I Got an Interview?

If two weeks pass and interviews haven't been scheduled, California Pizza Kitchen most likely pursued other applicants. In some cases, applicants may receive interviews on the spot when turning in applications. For the best chances of an on-the-spot interview, applicants want to drop off materials Monday through Friday between 2:00pm and 4:30pm.

Entry-Level CPK Jobs

Customer-serving roles with California Pizza Kitchen, like server and host/hostess jobs, typically require applicants to participate in group interviews. Most group interviews begin with applicants filling out short questionnaires that feature questions about different types of vegetables, wines, cheese, and herbs. Hiring managers may then pose fun questions like:

  • "What is your favorite California Pizza Kitchen menu item?"
  • "What made you want to work at California Pizza Kitchen?"

Following group interviews, applicant may then be asked to participate in 1:1 interviews with hiring managers. Interviews largely include behavioral questions covering employee relations and customer satisfaction. Applicants often need to respond to behavioral questions like:

  • "Tell me about a time you had to help an angry customer. What did you do?"
  • "Have you ever had a conflict with a coworker? How did you handle it?"
  • "Give me an example of a time you went above and beyond to make a guest's experience special."

Managerial Hiring Process

For management positions with California Pizza Kitchen, candidates typically need to participate in several rounds of interviews. Oftentimes, the managerial interview process begins with a phone screening, in which hiring representatives review applicant resumes. Successful applicants are then asked to come in-store for 1:1 interviews. Topics in the 1:1 interview typically stress management style and customer care.

Candidates often need to respond to open-ended questions, such as:

  • "How do you build a winning team?"
  • "How would you bring value to California Pizza Kitchen?"

Managerial applicants may also face competency-based questions like:

  • "Tell me about a time you faced a difficult challenge in your life. How did you overcome it?"
  • "Tell me about a time when you had to motivate team member to perform better."

Interviews may conclude with skills tests or salary negotiations.

Clothing, Attitude, and Follow Ups

Candidates should dress appropriately for job interviews. Entry-level job hopefuls may wear casual yet dressy clothing. Management candidates should dress in formal business attire. California Pizza Kitchen looks for customer-focused associates, and job seekers should demonstrate passion for serving guests. Job hunters should remain upbeat and provide positive answers for all questions. All responses should prove truthful, and whenever possible, candidates want to refer to past work experience. A few days after the final interview, applicants may contact personnel managers to check potential job offers.

California Pizza Kitchen Host Interview Video

Video Transcript

Interviewer: Please describe your job title and primary duties.
California Pizza Kitchen Employee: I was the host – hostess, I guess. So, basically we just greeted guests as they came in and then made sure that they were comfortable and welcome, and then we sat them at a table that was available. That’s basically it.

Interviewer: What was the work environment like?
California Pizza Kitchen Employee: Yeah, so it was like… I mean, obviously it was a restaurant environment. So, sometimes there would be like dead periods, like 3 o’clock, when nobody goes to eat, unless you’re like 80. But you… usually like dinnertime, lunchtime are the busiest times. So, they’re like… it kind of undulates, you know. So, there are a lot of rushes, things like that. Pretty busy.

Interviewer: How would you describe the application and interview process?
California Pizza Kitchen Employee: I just filled out an application, just based on my past work history, which I had zero. It was like my first job. And then afterwards, I had an interview, and they just asked the typical interview questions, like: “What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What do you think about working in a group? When was the last time you worked in a group? How did you handle the situation?” So, I think those were like the biggest questions.

Interviewer: What set you apart from other candidates?
California Pizza Kitchen Employee: I’m pretty sure I was the youngest employee there. I was like 17. I had gotten the job because my friend in high school, her dad was the regional manager of CPK for the area. So, I kind of had a reference from him to refer my good working skills, I guess. Because he knew me throughout high school. So, I would say because I was the youngest, for that job, I was the most eager to learn. I was – in terms of physicality, I was the most sprightly, I guess, because I was so young. There were people there who were working, they were like 50. So, I could move around a lot more quick. I think that’s what probably set me apart.


  • patrice harris says:

    what are some questions that cpk ask at interviews?

  • Bob says:

    1st interview after group interview: They will ask about you and have you tell them about yourself. How did you lead to the success of a company? Answer the telephone as if you worked as a host. When is a time you needed to be efficient to get something done? They’ll ask if you’ve eaten there and how was it and they’ll ask what you ordered.

    2nd interview: What does open door policy mean? What did you like least about your last job? Why do you want to work at CPK? What does hospitality mean? How would you assist a person with disabilities?

  • Nicole says:

    what time are the group interviews? and while going to a California Pizza Kitchen group job interview without being previously employed what should i expect them to ask me?

  • Yasmin says:

    what is the best attire to wear to the interview?

  • Alexis says:

    What should I bring to the interview?

Worked Here Before? Tell Us About It!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please only comment if you have worked for this company before.