Olive Garden Interview Questions & Tips

Hiring process information for an interview at Olive Garden

Company Overview

One of the most recognizable restaurant chains in the country, Olive Garden hires new workers constantly to maintain optimal staffing levels at more than 780 locations nationwide. The extensive network of Olive Garden restaurants continuously offers employment opportunities ranging from entry-level host, line cook, and server positions to professional restaurant management careers.

Scheduling an Interview

After applying for Olive Garden jobs, prospective workers typically wait an average of one to two weeks before receiving notification of an impending job interview. Some applicants receive word of an Olive Garden interview the day after submitting the materials needed to initiate the hiring process, while other candidates, especially managerial ones, sometimes spend up to three months awaiting initial contact. Job seekers applying for employment at certain Olive Garden locations are occasionally instructed to call the restaurant and set up the interview personally.

Initial Phone Screening

While entry-level interviewees almost always meet with Olive Garden hiring managers face-to-face, managerial applicants usually encounter phone interviews to start. The first Olive Garden interview for aspiring managers may even take place online, via webcam, with a human resources representative or recruiter. After passing the initial screening, candidates seeking management positions generally complete two or three more interviews in-person to finalize the Olive Garden hiring process.

Multiple Face-to-Face Meetings

Each applicant participating in the Olive Garden interview process ultimately ends up meeting with a hiring manager multiple times. Potential employees must typically complete two or three Olive Garden interviews in order to work for the Italian-inspired restaurant chain. Olive Garden hiring managers usually interview job seekers one-on-one or as part of a panel, accompanied by another manager.

What to Expect During the interview Process

A majority of Olive Garden interview sessions take place onsite at specified restaurant locations. Applicants often go on a tour of the Olive Garden restaurant as part of the interview process. The Olive Garden interview process frequently includes ethics tests and personality assessments, as well. Successful interviewees are normally subject to background checks and drug testing before starting Olive Garden jobs.

Common Interview Questions

When interviewing entry-level job seekers, Olive Garden hiring managers consistently ask general questions, such as:

  • "Why do you think you are the best candidate for this position?"
  • "What is your weakest skill?"
  • "How long do you see yourself working here?"
  • "Can you describe the best and worst customer service experiences you've ever had?"
The issue of customer service comes up frequently during Olive Garden interviews, primarily in the form of behavioral queries such as:
  • "What would you do if a party of guests was upset and you didn't know why?"
  • "How would you handle the situation if you messed up an order?"
Availability also serves as a popular topic of discussion, with prospective Olive Garden associates sometimes having to list hours available for work on a form provided at the interview. Candidates often need to prove ability to promote Olive Garden menu items by describing a dish in as much detail as possible, as well.

Interview Process for Managerial Candidates

Olive Garden area or regional directors usually interview prospective managers using questions like:

  • "What do you hate to do at your current workplace?"
  • "How would you describe the strongest and weakest assets you could bring to the company?"
Like entry-level job seekers, managerial candidates typically field a series of Olive Garden interview questions which directly relate to the job duties and responsibilities specific to managing a restaurant, such as:
  • "Can you describe a situation where a restaurant guest made you upset; how did you handle it?"
  • "Could you give an example of a time when you anticipated a customer's needs?"
  • "How do you balance the needs of employees with the company goals of Olive Garden?"
  • "How do you go about making important decisions?"
Generally lengthy, Olive Garden interviews for managers regularly last an hour or longer, with some applicants interviewing for up to three hours at one time.

Olive Garden Host Interview Video

Video Transcript

Interviewer: Please describe your job title and primary duties.
Olive Garden Hostess: At Olive Garden, I was a hostess, so basically I came in… we had a lead hostess, so she basically delegated responsibilities, and we would seat people and just greet guests.

Interviewer: What was the work environment like?
Olive Garden Hostess: Really upbeat, fast-paced. We were busier on the weekends. On the weekdays, during lunchtime, it was a little slower. Really diverse staff, so I really liked that. It was really friendly people.

Interviewer: How would you describe the application and interview process?
Olive Garden Hostess: I did an online application, and then I got a, I think it was, email or phone call for an interview, and then came in and met with the manager. Just a face-to-face interview.

Interviewer: What questions did the interviewer ask during the job interview?
Olive Garden Hostess: They just asked about what I knew about the company, how I handle high-stress situations, how I interact with people. Just pretty general things about being a people-person.

Interviewer: What set you apart from other candidates?
Olive Garden Hostess: At the time, I think maybe my experience because I hosted at another restaurant. I think mostly just me being outgoing and open to learning new things, being flexible. That’s definitely a big thing within the restaurant world. I think just me having that overall holistic qualities of someone who would greet people.

Interviewer: What other advice would you give to a job seeker looking to gain employment?
Olive Garden Hostess: I definitely say do a little research on the company. Employers love when you know about the company. Dress business casual. Make sure that they know that they want the job first of all, and make sure they look like they want the job, so they can portray that to the employer that they really do care.

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16 thoughts on “Olive Garden Interview Questions & Tips

  1. Letty

    I want to apply to be a cook at olive garden. I graduated from le cordon bleu and I want to know what kinds of question do they ask when you apply for a cook? Please someone help me.

    Reply
  2. gary corshia

    I work there so dont be afraid of the questions it’s more of a personality based questionnaire kitchen is well organized and fun to work in only down side is the company darden restaurants that owns the brand seems to be a on shaky ground they cut the salary of all the bussers and bartenders to 5.00 an hr

    Reply
  3. Biswajyoti Ghosh

    I have an upcoming interview with one of the Regional Managers as regarding Management Positions (Restaurant).

    Kindly give me the tips as of what is accepted as well as the approach while appearing for
    the interview.

    Thank you

    Biswajyoti

    Reply
  4. Holly

    You don’t need any experience to be a cook, actually. A friend of mine applied there and went into the interview expecting a hostess/waitress position, told them she was going to culinary school in the fall, and they gave her the job as a line cook. In less than four months she is now a sautee chef.

    Reply
  5. Leah

    I’m interested in a server position with and am curious as to what someone with my experience should expect or submit for salary requirements. The extent of my experience was a seasonal server position that I held for 6 months in 2008.

    Reply
  6. shaquana

    I have a interview for hostess does anyone know what kind of question they ask?

    Reply
  7. Daisy

    They asked “explain a situation where you and your manager had a dissagreement” and “what have you done to go out of your way to please a customer” and they always ask if you have questions for them so think of at least 3. They ask what your responsibilities were in your past jobs ect..

    Reply
  8. mexican. ma

    I just applied online for a job position and should I call to get a job interview?

    Reply
  9. Devin McClain

    I just had an interview with Darden for a server position. They asked what the most difficult guest experience that I have ever had to deal with. They also asked what was the best situation that I have delt with. A lot of questions about me and why I chose Darden. They like to talk about the company so if you did some research on the company before interviewing you could impress with that. Good luck. I have my interview with the GM shortly. Hope it helps.

    Reply
  10. Robens pierre louis

    i just applied for a job position. should i call to get a job interview?

    Reply
  11. PJ

    DON’T call the restaurant and ask about the status of your application. All the applications are done online as well as a questionnaire. The managers will not see them unless they NEED to pull applications. After completing, the management team interested in interviewing you will contact you on an as needed basis. Example: They need more servers, they pull all applications for servers off the database and begin setting up interviews 1 on 1 with a manager. Try not to apply for every position in the restaurant. This looks like desperation. If you have experience in a particular area, apply for that and wait to see if you are contacted. You may also apply one time on the website and select multiple restaurant concepts (OG, Red Lobster, Longhorn, etc) at the same time. So applying for a server position at once for all those restaurants near you is a snap. Also, front of house: no visible tattoos or piercings. Good Luck!

    Reply
  12. MCS

    I recieved an e-mail request to call the manager at my local OG for job interview – it’s tomorrow. 🙂 Do not call them unless it is to check on hiring status a few days after initial interview.

    Reply
  13. Jenny

    If you just applied, don’t call. managers won’t see the application at all unless they look it up at a need-to-hire basis. They’ll email you if there is an opening and if they are interested in hiring you. It might take a while. I applied a couple weeks back, and the Olive Garden in my area only just emailed me about a server position. I have an interview tomorrow! Wish me luck!

    Reply
  14. Kaitlin

    I have an interview with OG tomorrow for a server/sales person. I am so nervouse and I’m not sure what to say. I saw someone post that I should go dressed in a shirt and tie, is that necessary? And should I wear high heels? I and wearing a hire tank under a nice black top with sleek black dress pants. Am I too overboard and pushing this out of context? Please let me know of you have tips for me! 🙂

    Reply
  15. Rhondalisa

    My interview for the Hostess position is on Wednesday and I feel confident on knowing what to expect based on the useful commentary on this website. Also experience in past restaurant jobs I believe I will come out victorious in my quest to become a member of the Olive Garden Team!

    Reply
  16. arlene

    I applied online and a month later i got a response to call them cause they accepted my application. I called and had an appointment for an interview. After meeting with them they showed me the restaurant then told me i would receive a call back for my 2nd interview. Does this mean i am hired or am i not getting that call back?

    Reply

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