The restaurant business can be a dynamic industry that comes with its own challenges and adventures. As you pursue your restaurant career, you will come across a variety of hiring managers who have a wide array of questions they want to ask you. Some of those questions will be standard interview questions, while others may be motivated by experience the hiring manager has had with past candidates. Unexpected restaurant interview questions can be difficult to answer, but they are important in the recruiting process.

What Is Your Favorite Food?

A restaurant hiring manager who works for an ice cream stand may ask you what your favorite ice cream flavor is and that question can seem to come out of left field. Everyone has a favorite food, so the interviewer is not looking for you to deny that you enjoy eating. But the interviewer may be looking to see how interested you are in the product and whether you have a passion for it—not to mention the creativity of your answer.

What Song Describes Your Favorite Restaurant?

Free association questions in a restaurant job interview actually have a purpose, even though they can be quite unexpected. In many cases, the interviewer is trying to gauge how you think on your feet because restaurant customers can be extremely unpredictable and your response could mean losing or gaining a customer. Whenever you get a free association question like this, just take a deep breath and give the best answer you can think of.

How Many Pens Do You Think Are in This Cup?

Most interviewers sit at a desk that has a cup of pens on it and many do so to specifically use the pens as part of the interview. In the restaurant world, you have to think fast and process a lot of information. You must be observant and prepared for just about anything. If you get this question, just take a quick glance at the cup and take a guess. If you do it with confidence, then you will impress the interviewer.

Have You Ever Taken Office Supplies?

Restaurant employees work outside of the view of management for several hours a day. This question is tricky because the hiring manager is looking for an honest employee, but if you have stolen office supplies then an honest answer will probably disqualify you from the job. But, in any case, your best bet is to be honest.

What Do You Think of My Interview Skills?

The last thing a restaurant employee needs to be is long-winded and opinionated when it comes to work. What the hiring manager is looking for here is a short answer that gives a positive perspective, whether you mean it or not. You will deal with all sorts of customers in the restaurant business, and your ability to maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity will come in very handy. These unexpected restaurant interview questions can catch you off guard, but they’re asked for a reason. Learn how to answer some of the more surprising interview questions when they crop up, and you’ll be able to turn them into opportunities to impress the hiring manager and land the job.
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