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How can you conduct a good job interview during a meal?

A restaurant could be where you fail or succeed in your job interview.
A restaurant could be where you fail or succeed in your job interview.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Employers might choose to interview job candidates over restaurant meals because the positions for which job candidates are interviewing might involve frequent social interactions with clients. The interviews over meals will give employers an indication of how socially gracefully the job candidates can be with the company’s clients.

In some ways the restaurant interviews are similar to regular interviews. For example, job candidates should still:

  1. Dress in a manner that is appropriate for an interview.
  2. Show up on time.
  3. Turn off their mobile phones.
  4. Refrain from smoking.
  5. Follow up the interview with a thank you note.

To make a good impression during a meal interview, however, job candidates need to be mindful of more than what is important in a traditional interview. For example, job candidates should:

  1. Demonstrate fiscal sensitivity to their host’s budget, which is paying for their meals, by ordering moderately priced food items.
  2. Order food that can be easily and neatly eaten with a fork.
  3. Eat with small bites so that there is no lengthy pause between when the employers ask questions and when the job candidates are able to answer without any food in their mouths.
  4. Be polite to the restaurant staff.
  5. Avoid any alcohol with the meal, or, if the host orders a drink for the job candidate, limit alcohol consumption to sips from one drink.
  6. Try to eat all of their food so that none is wasted, and they are not tempted to ask for a doggie bag.

Job candidates should brush up on their dinner etiquette. Examples of proper etiquette are:

  1. Asking for food that is beyond an easy reach.
  2. Not eating until everyone at the table has been served.
  3. Cutting up food one bite at a time.
  4. Putting used utensils on their plates instead of on their table cloths.
  5. Using their napkin often to dab off food from their lips.
  6. Finishing the meal soon after the host has finished.
  7. Not leaving the table until the host gets up to leave.

Good restaurant etiquette will not, by itself, get job candidates hired for desired jobs. Bad restaurant etiquette, however, can cost job applicants positions for which they are strong contenders.

Have you ever had a job interview over a meal? Please comment below on your experience.

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