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Job Interviews During A Meal

It is rare that a first interview will take place during a meal; more commonly second interviews could involve lunch or dinner (but not always). In any case, if you are having a discussion in an office which then continues over a meal, remember that you are being "interviewed" in both settings. What you say and do will be under review until you say goodbye.

A few guidelines will help to make the meal less stressful. If you have questions about table manners, brush up with an etiquette book. Order something that is easy to eat-stay away from items such as shish-kebab, french onion soup, and spaghetti or linguine. Beware of finger food. You will want to be able to eat small bites of your food without dropping or spilling anything.

Follow the lead of your host(s) regarding which courses and generally which items to order. You may want to ask, "What do you recommend here? " so that you will have an idea of what they are likely to order. Order items within the same price range or lower, and never order the most expensive item on the menu. If others are ordering an appetizer and an entr�e, you should do the same. If no one orders dessert, you should refrain.

Ninety-nine percent of the time it is unwise to drink alcohol in an interview setting. If you are at a group dinner or a cocktail reception where wine is served and your host(s) are having a glass, you may want to have a glass to be sociable, but don't drink all of it. Even a small amount of alcohol can impair your judgment.

Be prepared to ask a few questions during the meal, or you may end up with a full plate of food when others are ready for coffee. A meal may be a good time to ask your interviewer(s) about his or her career path(s). Whatever happens, remember what your parents told you about never talking with your mouth full!

Seven Things To Never Order at a Meal Interview

  • Spaghetti
  • Pizza
  • French Onion Soup
  • Most expensive item on the menu
  • Least expensive item on the menu
  • Any fish with the head or bones still attached
  • Any food that requires fingers or a bib

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