Chef Interview – Questions to Ask When a Chef Leaves

If one of your chefs is leaving the business it can be a time of mixed feeling as change can disorientate your team – BUT – its also presents a great opportunity for you to conduct a chef interview and learn from the exiting chef about what they honestly think about their role, the team, and your business in general.

You may be saying to yourself who cares, they’re leaving the business, but if you don’t find out why, how will you hire better next time, reduce employee churn and additional costs and disruption to your business. 

The role of an exit interview should be to:

  • Enable employees who are leaving to give you invaluable and honest feedback.
  • Enable you to discover important information regarding kitchen operations.
  • Highlight common reasons why employees are leaving the business.

Exit interview feedback should help you hire your next chef faster and enable you to retain staff for longer. And although these interviews often bring up things that may be difficult to accept or take on board, they are critical if you want your business to be able to attract, hire and retain the very best people.

Below are eight questions you must ask at your chef exit interview.

1. Under what circumstances would you consider returning to the team?

Most will probably find this one quite challenging to answer. Some will be brutally honest, while others might give you an idea you can implement.

Do they want more benefits?

Better pay?

More opportunities to expand?

The reality may be that they simply want a new challenge or a senior role which isn’t available with you.

2. Chef interview: What did you enjoy most about working for us?

This is one of the more positive and simple exit interview questions. Use it as an opportunity to learn what elements are spot on within the business.

3. Do you think your job description matched what was originally advertised? If not, how has it changed?

Jobs evolve and change over-time. Unfortunately, sometimes we can ask employees to cover too many areas or not enough. Employees need to be challenged, but not overworked.

This is one of the exit interview questions that will give you a good indication of whether you need to tweak the job description and title moving forward.

4. Do you have any suggestions for improving employee satisfaction?

It’s straight, direct and will give you real insight. Were there any frictions within the team that you were unaware of? Did the employee single out certain people? Is it all work and no play?

Don’t be afraid to ask the departing employee to give specific examples. Reiterate that they will still get a reference and you appreciate their valuable feedback.

5. Chef interview: Did you feel equipped to do the job here?

This exit interview question focuses on your resources. Do your employees have the support they need to do the very best job? If they didn’t, now is your chance to find out more and make changes.

6. What qualities do you think we should look for in your replacement?

This is quite a strange one for departing employees to answer. Nonetheless, nobody knows the job better than the person who’s just spent x amount of months or years doing it!

7. Would you recommend our company to another chef? 

Ideally, you want the answer to this exit interview question to be “Yes!” It indicates that your company is generally a positive and credible place to work.

There might be small elements the departing employee is dissatisfied with, but you want them to speak highly of your company.

If they don’t feel like they would recommend your company to another jobseeker, find out why and fix it immediately.

8. Chef interview: Do you think you were well rewarded and recognised by management in your position?

You might be surprised by just how many people hand in their notices because they didn’t get a simple bit of recognition from time to time. If you hear this it’s important to take it onboard and make a conscious effort to address it going forward.

And finally,

The industry has changed, but has your approach to hiring chefs?

A smaller chef talent pool and much more competition means its vital for every employer regardless of size to utilise the most effective recruitment tools in the market to engage the talent they need.

Save yourself precious time and money by using Only Chefs – The UK’s leading chef-only direct hire platform. Plus, sign up today and get 6 weeks free access to the platform and a chance to win 12 months free access worth £3,000 (T&Cs apply, click link for more).

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