If an interviewer wants
to talk over lunch or dinner, be on your best behavior. You’re
being seriously considered for the job and the company wants to
get to know you in a less formal environment, to observe your
social graces and how you treat strangers. (You should use this
opportunity to see how they treat others as well.)
When should you be
ready to break bread? The job you’re interviewing for could
require entertaining and they will want to see how well you do in
an out-of-the office setting. They may want to meet your spouse or
partner because a) he or she may be meeting clients when you
entertain, or b) they’re trying woo you and want the other
person to feel comfortable. Or your interview could be in another
city or an all–day affair.
difficult places to hold serious conversations. You have to work
at staying focused. And you also want to use this time to get to
know each other better while making a good impression. Here are
some tips on how to be at your best:
• Don’t go
famished. You need to concentrate on the main reason you’re
there—your presentation, getting information and getting to know
• Order food
that’s easy to eat. Trying to twirl spaghetti or handle a messy,
three-layered sandwich is probably not the best choice.
• Don’t order an
alcoholic beverage. You’ll need all your faculties.
• Brush up on your
table manners. If you have a briefcase or folders, leave them
under the table until the entree plates have been removed. If you
absolutely must take notes (I don’t recommend it) or show
papers, don't cover the table with them. When it comes to
ordering, let your host direct the server to who orders first. If
you don’t know proper dining etiquette, get some advice from
someone who does. Do not make or accept calls on your cell phone.
Just turn the darn thing off.
The interviewer will
be watching you closely over a meal, observing all kinds of moves
you make and making judgments about your competency and
credibility. Your poise and professionalism can make or break the
© 2001 by Andrea
Kay. All Rights Reserved. Copyrighted work used with permission.
consultant Andrea Kay is the author of:
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