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Management Interview Practicals

Filling key openings for manager positions is a lengthy process with a lot on the line. Traditional interviews often lead to inconsistent results, especially for managerial candidates, as their experiences have helped them present successfully in most interviewing scenarios. Our Food and Beverage department added additional structure to the interview process to help find the best front-of-house managers: a hands-on “practical.”

In addition to traditional interview rotations and personality assessments, applicants MUST complete a SIX-STEP PRACTICAL PROCESS:
1. Audit a menu for errors
2. Respond to a member complaint
3. Draft an action plan to resolve a service issue
4. Respond to a case study on humility
5. Teach a mock line-up training topic
6. Point out the potential problems with setup in a given room

Practical interviews are always far more revealing about an applicant’s capabilities and position fit than traditional interviews. Any club could benefit from use of management interview “practicals” – adaptation to any position is easy. Simply identify the core demonstrable competencies of a role, and create short practical exercises to help evaluate applicants.


Clubs should approach this process by beginning with the end in mind. Start by first identifying the top five or six demonstrable skill sets that are critical to that role. Vet those skill sets with other staff to ensure validity. With the skill sets in mind, begin to think of tasks, exercises, or activities that would best help evaluate that skill set. For example, in the Food & Beverage department attention to detail is a critical skill set for a manager to have. The practical process has them look over a menu that has 15 intentional mistakes to see if they can identify them.

About the author

Ryan Bender

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