Respectfully Yours: Lunchtime interview
I’m nervous about an upcoming lunchtime job interview. Can you please share some tips on how to prepare for a lunch interview?
You’ve passed the first phase of the job interview process and, as if that were not stressful enough, enter the lunch interview.
A lunch interview usually means that the interviewer is evaluating your social skills. Not only will you be judged on your qualifications and skills, your table manners will be scrutinized, too.
A prospective employer will be evaluating your social skills because a dining setting can reveal a lot about your level of professionalism and how you handle yourself under pressure.
In order to make a favorable impression on the interviewer, your manners must be up to par. Dress as you would for a normal interview, arrive 15 minutes early, and turn off your cellphone before you enter the restaurant.
Good table manners may give you the edge over another candidate. Take some time to brush up on your dining etiquette skills.
To calm your nerves, do some basic research on the restaurant ahead of time. This gives you the opportunity to double check the location and take a look at the menu.
Chose a moderately priced entrée. Avoid ordering alcohol and hard to eat foods like spaghetti or tacos. When the food arrives, wait until everyone at the table is served before picking up your fork.
Be aware there is an old adage that seasoning your food before you taste it is viewed as rushing to judgement, i.e., making a big decision before evaluating the details. There are interviewers who claim to watch for this behavior. When you are finished with your meal, place the knife and fork on your plate at 4 o’clock.
When the interview is over, let the prospective employer pick up the tab. The person who invited you will expect to pay both the bill and tip.
Thank your interviewer before you leave and follow up within 24 hours with a thank-you note.
Have a question? Email: email@example.com. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol and is on the board of the National Civility Foundation.
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