Hiring process information for an interview at Olive Garden
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
How long until you get notified?
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?
Customer Service Questions
The issue of customer service comes up frequently during Olive Garden interviews, primarily in the form of behavioral queries such as:
- "Can you describe the best and worst customer service experiences you've ever had?"
- "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.
Insider TipsWe talk to former employees about working for Olive Garden.
Olive Garden Host Interview Video
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.