Ask HR: Can we do “working interviews?”

Dear HR: We are recruiting a new chef for our restaurant. We have a reputation for having the best food in town so we need to be sure our potential new hire will be able to keep up with our fast-paced kitchen, and that their skills measure up. Can we have the top four applicants come in for an evening shift for a “working interview?”


HR Answer: Under wage and hour laws any work to be performed would be considered employment. This means minimum wage and overtime must be paid and there are certain record-keeping requirements that would apply.

If you decide to have applicants do a working interview as a trial run, keep in mind that you have now officially hired them for the evening. There should be a clear understanding as to what this probationary employment agreement includes, making sure you do not create any unnecessary liability along the way. If you would like assistance hiring right the first time or scheduling working interviews, please feel free to contact Cardinal. We’re here to help you get the workplace solutions that fit your business!