8 Etiquette Tips for Dinner or Lunch Interviews

November 2, 2016

By Nicole Dauria, Executive Recruiter

So you have been asked to a lunch or dinner interview…

One of the major reasons a future employer will ask you to a lunch or dinner interview is if the position you are interviewing for has a lot of client interaction, but whatever the reason, there are some good rules to follow:

  1. Being on time is the first order of importance. Make sure you have the address in your GPS, you have allotted enough time for traffic, and time to get lost and also find parking.
  2. Dress for success. If you’re not sure of the attire, it is always best to over dress than under dress as a rule of thumb.
  3. In the day of having your cell phone managing much of your life, this is the one opportunity you need to TURN IT OFF! There is nothing worse than trying to have a conversation with someone and they are constantly looking at their phone. First impressions are everything and you don’t want to ruin an interview by not making eye contact or being distracted because of your phone.
  4. One of the most important facts you need to keep in mind is what to say and not to say during an interview. NEVER say anything bad about anyone or anything. You never know the affiliations your interviewer may have. Most of all, never talk with a mouth full of food.
  5. In the event you have never taken an etiquette class, there is plenty of information on the Internet to help you through dining etiquette.  Just remember to not talk with a mouth full of food or eat with your hands. Just imagine your mother is sitting next to you!
  6. Greeting your interviewer with a firm handshake and make sure you make eye contact is a must. Thank them for having you when you meet and make sure to thank them for the meal afterwards. This is the best time to ask for that next step in the interview process too!
  7. Make sure you are polite and courteous to the wait staff as well as everyone that joins you for the meal. Keep your conversation cautious and not overly personal. The majority of the interview should be taking place before the meal is served so the conversation can flow and not be interrupted by chewing food.
  8. What to order and not order off the menu is important too. NEVER order alcohol even if everyone at the table is drinking. Try not to order an entre that will entail you eating with your fingers like ribs or chicken wings. It’s a good idea to only order a desert if the interviewer is doing so and asks you if you want something. Most importantly, don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu!

Good luck and bon appetite!

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