Mastering The Lunch Interview
Interviews can be nerve-racking, brain-draining, headache-inducing
experiences. These days, recruiters have found a way to make the
interview even more difficult by combining the experience with a
meal. This means that in addition to listening to the interviewer,
formulating intelligent responses, and trying your hardest to be
confident, you now have pay attention to how you look while eating.
Interviews over lunch or dinner are an increasingly popular
recruiting tool. This http://www.WorkTree.com career article gives
you the need-to-knows of the meal interview.
1. Mind your manners
2. The dish dilemma
3. Consume and converse
4. Finish with a bang
1. MIND YOUR MANNERS
It may seem unnecessary to mention, but those basic table manners you
were taught as a child still matter. In casual settings, poor manners
are not always corrected. Therefore, you could have picked up some
habits that your mother would be ashamed of and more likely than not,
your interviewer probably will not be too be impressed by them
Here are just a few of the habits you should be mindful of during a
- BE POLITE. In addition to evaluating your answers to questions, an
interviewer is also assessing your personality. Be courteous and
respectful to everyone, especially the wait staff. Words such
as "please" and "thank you" speak worlds about your character.
- BE AWARE. Keeping you elbows on the table, chewing with your mouth
open, talking with your mouth full all convey a negative
impression. Pay attention to even your smallest actions.
- BE PREPARED. If you feel uncertain about your table manners,
consult the experts. Emily Post's books on etiquette are
considered to be among the definitive works on etiquette. There is
no shame in doing research; after all, this is an interview.
2. THE DISH DILEMMA
Even though you are being treated to a nice meal, you are not free to
order any dish you like. You are in an interview, and therefore, you
have the duty of maintaining a certain level of professionalism and
formality throughout the meal.
There are no definitive rules of food selection, and you may have to
make a game-time decision. However, following these rules will help
you steer clear of trouble:
- AVOID MESSES. Steer clear of foods that have to be eaten with your
hands or have a tendency to splatter. It is hard to recover from
the embarrassment of splashing your interviewer with spaghetti
sauce, nor do you want to inadvertently adorn yourself with gravy
or cream sauce. So stick to foods that can be cut into small
pieces with a knife and fork.
- NO STENCHES. Avoid foods that have a strong or unpleasant order.
You are better off having an interviewer not remember you at all
rather than as the candidate with bad breath. So no matter how
much you love onions and garlic, lay off the stinkers for one
- KEEP IT QUIET. You need to be able to conduct a civil
conversation. Avoid foods that are crunchy and noisy to eat. In a
public setting there is a lot of noise that could drown out the
voice of a person sitting across from you so try not to order food
that would add to the problem.
- FOLLOW THE LEADER. You may be wondering if a menu item is priced
too high or if to order an appetizer first, etc. The answer is to
follow your interviewer's lead. Try to order food in the same
price range as the interviewer and order the same number of
courses. You do not want to be sitting idle while the recruiter is
3. CONSUME AND CONVERSE
You are at an interview and also dining out. This means you need to
not only be talking, but also eating. It can sometimes be difficult
to do both.
Try and keep these issues in mind when posed with the challenge of
eating and talking at the same time:
- YOU ARE IN CONTROL. Don't feel so pressured to talk that you don't
eat at all. This can be interpreted as nervousness.
- ASK QUESTIONS. When going to an interview, it is always a good
idea to have questions. This will allow you get more information
on the company and show that you have done your homework. During
the meal interview, it will also give you the opportunity to
actually eat as your interviewer responds to your questions.
4. FINISHING WITH A BANG
Unlike that of a standard interview, the end of a meal interview does
not just end with a handshake and a "Thank You". There are other
things to keep in mind including:
- DON'T OFFER TO PAY. It's never expected of a job candidate, and
you don't need to do it.
- NEVER ASK FOR A DOGGY BAG. No matter how delicious the meal was,
requesting to take a portion of it home is not appropriate for the
- REAFFIRM YOUR INTEREST. Let the interviewer know how much you
would like to work for his/her company.
- A "Thank You" AND HANDSHAKE CAN'T HURT. As in any interview, don't
forget to thank the interviewer for taking the time to meet with
you. In addition, be sure to be gracious and say that you enjoyed
the meal and end the interview with a firm handshake. Make sure to
follow up with a thank you letter in the morning.
The meal interview is tricky, but not impossible. With a little
guidance and a lot of confidence, you can sail through them with
flying colors. Just try to keep these helpful hints in mind. Good
luck and bon appétit!
We hope you found this edition helpful Selin, and we promise to bring
you even more valuable career advice and tips next month.
This article can be read directly online at:
"Helping You Find More Jobs Faster"
Nathan Newberger is the job and career expert at http://www.WorkTree.com Nathan has over 10 years experience in staffing and human resources. He has worked both as a recruiter and career counselor. Mr. Newberger has been the Managing Editor at http://www.WorkTree.com for the past 5 years and his articles have helped thousands of job seekers.
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