If you’re participating in an all-day (or several hour) job interview, it’s likely that you will be eating lunch or dinner with your interviewer(s). Here are just a few tips to help you succeed in this circumstance:
- Brush up on the news. There will likely be some “casual” conversation during this lunch interview.
- Use your best manners. (This should go without saying.)
- Bring along a small notepad and pen. You may need to jot something down during the meal.
- If you know ahead of time where you will be eating, review the restaurant’s menu and choose two or three possibilities.
- Order something from the middle price point on the menu.
- Choose food that can be eaten with fork and knife, if possible. Avoid potentially messy food (like some sandwiches, soups and salads) and smelly food like onions and garlic.
- Order something light or small. You will be doing a lot of talking during this meal.
- Food allergies or sensitivities? Try to order something on the menu that you can eat without special preparation by the chef, if at all possible.
- If rolls or bread are provided, tear off a small piece (what you will eat in a bit or two) and butter just that. (Do not butter the entire piece at one time.)
- Choose something uncarbonated to drink, like water or iced tea.
- Be exceptionally polite to the servers; how you treat them is a good sign of how you may treat employees or co-workers.
- Avoid overly personal conversation. Don’t say anything you would not say in the interviewer’s office.
- Leave your cell phone in your pocket or purse. Don’t take it out even if the interviewer takes his or hers out. (The only exception to this is if you and the interviewer need to look at your calendars for planning a follow-up interview.)
- And bring a dental floss pick with you; you can use this if needed when you are in the restroom. It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
Always remember this one key tip: don’t let your guard down. Even though the setting may seem more informal during a meal, you are still being interviewed and evaluated.
Do you have other tips you’d recommend? Or a story about a lunch interview that went exceptionally well . . . or terribly?