Dining with the hiring manager: Foods to avoid and who should pay.
For many Americans, job interview has become synonymous with the word R-R-E-C-E-S-S-I-O-N! If you are asked to attend a lunch or dinner interview as opposed to a formal interview held in the office, you should definitely keep in mind that all of the “interview” rules still apply.
I’ve done some research and think these tid bits will be helpful…
Before the meal:
- The utensils are used from the outside (for salad) in (for the entrée).
- Do not drink alcohol at the meal unless the host presses (and you are over 21), in which case do not have more than one drink.
- Stick to simple, easy-to-eat foods such as chicken breast, vegetables or fish. Rice, spaghetti, and dishes that are loaded with sauces can be difficult to maneuver.
- Lastly, consider the cost; follow the host’s lead or stick with a medium-cost dish.
During the meal:
- Use your napkin sparingly. Place it on your lap when you sit down and lightly brush your lips when needed. Do not use it to blow your nose!
- Take undesirable foods out the same way they went in (i.e., with your fork or hand). This attracts less attention than trying to discretely spit it into a napkin.
- Cut one piece of food at a time.
- Break off one piece of bread at a time and butter it individually.
- Close your mouth when chewing. Do not make noises, do not talk with your mouth full, and no elbows on the table. Sit up straight (everything your parents taught you)!
- Do not dip your food into sauces, olive oil, or other dips. Place a little bit on your plate before using.
- Eat a normal amount of food—not very little, not a huge amount. Follow your host’s lead in terms of pace
- Interpersonal skills are vital in this setting as in all others. Keep the conversation on business and other non-controversial topics — avoid bringing up religion, politics or parties.
- Do not chew gum or answer your cell phone.
After the meal:
- Place all used utensils on a flat dish so that they do not touch the table.
- Do not fight over the check. The host will pay.
- Be polite to everyone in the restaurant. Everything you do makes an impression!