Monday, November 18, 2013

Lunch and Dinner Interviews - Mind your manners.

Have you ever been a candidate or an interviewer that was given the meal slot?  How do these interviews differ from office setting interviews?

The short answer is other than setting they are still absolutely an interview and the majority of the same rules apply…but now you add table manners and etiquette. If you are meeting at the restaurant a hand shake is still in order.  If you know the name of the restaurant ahead of time you can usually review the menu on line and make a selection ahead of time.  Something neat and easy to eat so you are not distracted wrestling with long pasta noodles and sloppy sauces. 

If you never had a formal education in dining manners here are some easy tips that go a long way. 

·         None of your belongings should be on the table (including phones…which should be silenced).

·         Place your napkin in your lap when the food arrives, when you are finished your napkin should be placed neatly back on your plate.

·         Chew quietly with your mouth closed.  If you are asked a question mid bite, take your time to finish and answer when you are comfortable your mouth is empty.

·         Unless you are choking wait until your food is swallowed before taking a drink.

·         Keep your elbows off the table while eating.  When the food is removed your elbows can be on the table for conversation.

·         Don’t slouch or lean too far back in your chair.  Sit straight and lean slightly forward.

·         Cut one piece of food a time as you eat it.

·         Ask for things to be passed to you rather than reaching for them.

·         What about alcohol?  None at lunch.  If it is dinner and the interviewer is ordering a drink as a candidate one glass of wine is perfectly acceptable and it is safest to stop at that.

·         Always say ‘excuse me’ when you need to leave the table.

·         Be courteous to the restaurant staff and other patrons.

·         If you are the interviewer you should pay for the meal.  Candidates however should not assume this is the case.  When the server brings the tab you can reach for your means of payment and offer to buy.  If the interviewer indicates they are paying, do not object just say “Thank you.”

We would love to hear if you have any interesting meal interview stories!   If you want to know what clients we can set you up to interview with, contact me at

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