Chick-fil-A Owner/Operator Interview Questions

Updated Feb 18, 2015
2 Interview Reviews

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Owner/Operator Interview

Anonymous Employee in Atlanta, GA
No Offer
Neutral Experience
Average Interview
No Offer
Neutral Experience
Average Interview

Application

I applied through an employee referral. The process took 12+ monthsinterviewed at Chick-fil-A (Atlanta, GA) in December 2013.

Interview

The process is designed to be extremely personal, probing and intentionally long. It starts with a benign questionnaire on their website. CFA receives ten of thousands applications each year and have a relatively small staff to review them. Add to that the many internal applicants gunning for leadership positions. Any blemish on that initial application, and you won't get a call. At every step in this process, the recruiting team selects a subset of applicants to make it to the next step, and they validate as a team your previous answers (from the interview you had a few weeks or months before) and determine a rank. The only formula to succeed is to make yourself vulnerable putting it all on the table.

You will then get an invite for a web chat in which you meet with one of their recruiters. Most of the probing questions here are geared towards determining your position on Leadership. Leadership and management are not the same thing and CFA wants to promote leaders, not managers. Speaking of servant leadership and how you apply these into your every day position gets you through this initial step. Of course, if you fail to have any of the fundamental qualities of a leader or have no history in business management, dealing with people or resolving conflict, it will be unlikely that you'll proceed to the next round.

After this, you'll be invited for an in-person interview (at your expense) on premises, or nearby to their HQs near ATL. Here you'll meet with other members of the recruiting team that will start drilling down on your character, makeup, drives, strengths, weaknesses and aspirations. Make sure you can answer the basic question: Why do you want to fry chicken for a living? They also want to ensure you fit their perfect view of a restaurant operator...remember, they can be very selective. When I went through this step, they were looking to open just a few hundred restaurants in the coming year. The mathematical odds favor CFA, not the applicant.

Once through this step, you visit their HQ, take the tour and meet the rest of the recruiting staff (if you haven't already). This is where the "getting to know you" phase ends and the real competition for the few restaurant-opening-available-slots begins. At this point, they know you can run a restaurant. After all, you've proven through the previous steps to possess the leadership and business acumen required. So, it's the differentiators that they're after in this step. Will you be a good fit with their business consultants? Will you uphold the CFA way? Are you ready for the CFA lifestyle? The recruiting team is looking to find a match to any of the available stores, and if you make it through this step the questions become more direct and guided towards that specific opportunity (as you would be meeting with the actual team that would support you as an operator). During this time they will also set time to talk to your references.

Overall, the biggest negative with the process is the communication from the recruiting team. They will call/reach out, you'll have a conversation, and they'll go dark - sometimes for a few months. For a company that has leadership as its cornerstone, they have a lot of room to improve in this area. At every point in the process, they'll will remind you that they will not tell you the reasons if you're not selected for the next step/round, and they only send a "dear John" when it happens. My advice to CFA is that after a year (or more) of getting to know an applicant and having him/her spend lots of emotional capital on CFA, an impersonal form letter informing them you've decided to pursue other applicants is contrary to every leadership quality you pursue.

Interview Questions

  • Leadership vs Management   1 Answer
  • Servant Leadership   1 Answer
  • Frying chicken for a living...   1 Answer
  • Entrepreneurship   1 Answer
  • How's your wife doing? What about her work/career if selected for this position?   1 Answer

Other Interview Reviews for Chick-fil-A

  1. Helpful (7)  

    Owner/Operator Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Atlanta, GA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 12+ monthsinterviewed at Chick-fil-A (Atlanta, GA).

    Interview

    CFA uses a very rigorous 12-24 month screening process for selecting Owner/Operators. It is based on the book "Who" by Smart & Street. There are seven stages to the process and each stage has a specific purpose As an example, in the Topgrading stage the interviewers review your educational and employment history in EXTREME detail. They start at high school and work forward to the present. In this stage they are looking for trends - positive and negative.

    The interviewers are extremely professional and courteous. They reflect the high value the CFA organization places on valuing the individual. They are very quick to give you the results of your most recent step. They understand that the lengthy nature of their process can be disruptive and they work very hard to minimize that.

    This company is a class act.

    Interview Questions

    • You told us about leaving Employer A because Employer B made you an "offer you couldn't refuse". But certainly there had to be something at Employer A that wasn't quite as you wanted it to be to make you leave. Can you tell me about that?   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    No negotiation.

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