Luncheon interviews have the advantage of allowing you to build rapport with your interviewer in a more informal setting. However, the lunch interview has its own set of pitfalls which you must be aware of if you are to master this type of interview. While the goal of any interview is to determine fit and technical qualifications, the lunch interview is all about your social skills. Here are 7 tips to help you avoid any awkward missteps and ace the interview.
1. Do your research. Your focus should be on getting the job; therefore you don’t want to be stressing about the venue and what meal to order. Look up the restaurant’s website and familiarize yourself with the menu ahead of time. Check out the dress code and setting too. That way, you can focus on being social during your interview and not be fretting about what to order.
2. Let your host take the lead. Not sure what to order. Ask your host for menu favorites. Use the suggestions to determine a safe price range. If your host recommends the Coquet St Jacque you can feel safe ordering something a little more expensive. Remember you are juggling eating and talking, so order something that is not messy and something that you can easily and gracefully eat with a knife and fork. In other words stay away from spaghetti, spareribs and big fat sloppy sandwiches.
3. Choosing beverages. Your interviewer is likely to let you order first. Whatever you do, stay away from alcoholic beverages. Instead, consider either sparkling water or ice tea. Both are grown up and non-alcoholic.
4. If you have a portfolio. If you have a resume or other documents you want to share mention that you have them up front and drop the subject. Let the interviewer decide when to bring them out. Typically after the plates have been cleared is a good time.
5. Remember your table etiquette. This interview is all about social skills and a great time to remember all those table manners your mom drilled into you. So, don’t talk with your mouth full. Don’t put your elbows on the table. And, use a napkin. Eating small bites that you can easily chew is also advised.
6. Treat your servers with respect. Always be polite to the servers even if your meal is not up to par. The way you treat your servers says tons about your character. If something isn’t quite right, let it go. This meal is not about the food, it’s about how well you conduct yourself in a public setting.
7. Closing the meal. When you are finished with your meal fold your napkin and leave it by your plate. You are not responsible for the tab. Remember you were invited! Graciously let the interviewer pick up the tab. Of course, remember to mention the meal in your thank you note.
A lunch interview requires that you juggle a meal, good manners and answer interview questions persuasively. You will be evaluated on several fronts including your technical competencies and social acumen. It may require more preparation than you think. Don’t be caught off guard. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.