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Do's and Don'ts: Lunch Interviews

Published: September 18, 2014 Author: Kelsey Davis Tags: Job Hunting - Interviewing

As we all know, job hunting is quite the process. It can take several weeks to get the interview you really want, to hear back from your potential company and to finally land the job. From personal experience, I have had to wait several weeks to hear back from a potential employer just to hear that I did not get the job. As devastating as that is, I have also had the experience of landing my dream job, like the one I have now!

When interviewing for my current job, I was surprised by the interview process. They wanted to meet me for lunch. I was beyond surprised about this proposal and was nervous about how I should and should not act, what to and what not to order and all the other motions about do's and don'ts at a lunch interview.

I am not sure how many of you have been in this position before but I can tell you that this may just happen during your job hunt. However, no need to fret! I am here to give you some pointers about how to go into your lunch interview with all the right tips and tricks and confidence you need to land this job! Or maybe get to the next round of interviews!

These are the "Do's" you will not want to forget:

Tip #1: Arrive at the restaurant early. You do not want to show up even a minute late and have your potential boss waiting on you, the guest.

Tip #2: Follow your hopefully new boss to the table. Let him or her take the lead and do as they do.

Tip #3: Enter and exit on the right side of the chair and place any items you are carrying on the floor to your right. If you are a woman and are carrying a purse or pad folio, place it on the floor on the right side. This is the same for men if you are carrying a pad folio or a briefcase.

Tip #4: Remember to always place your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down. Only use for blotting, don't go wiping or blowing your nose and ruining everyone's lunch!

Tip #5: Make sure to order easy to manage food. You do not want to order a messy sandwich or a hard to eat dish. Remember, there are no finger foods in an interview lunch. Also, stay away from items served rare unless you are following your host's lead.

Tip #6: If you are at a more formal restaurant and you see multiple forks and spoons, don't fret. Start from the outside moving inward as you select your silverware per each course. And, again, follow your host's lead.

Tip #7: If you are like me, you love bread and cannot pass up grabbing a roll from the center of the table. If you cannot resist, break rolls in half with your hands then tear off a small piece and make sure to only butter one bite at a time.

Tip #8: When passing items around the table make sure to pass to the right. Don't be all willy-nilly passing things over others' plates or the center of the table.

Tip #9: If you have to use the restroom during your lunch, do not place your napkin on your chair or on the table. Make sure to place the napkin on the back of your chair. This tells your waiter that you are in fact coming back.

Tip #10: Always, always, always write a follow-up thank you note for the delicious meal!

Now for those especially important "Don'ts":

Tip #1: Some of your potential employers may be the, "let's celebrate and get a few drinks" type of people but do not give in! During a lunch interview always say no, politely, even if asked by your host. During a dinner interview, follow your hosts lead.

Tip #2: You may be wanting to chew your arm off either from nerves or just being plain old hungry but wait! You do not want to begin eating until everyone at the table has been served.

Tip #3: You may think this is an obvious thing not to do, but you would be surprised how many things you forget when you are nervous! As obvious as this may seem, do not lick your fingers, belch or talk with your mouth full.

Tip #4: Make sure to never use your cell phone at the table. With that being said, turn it off. You do not want to be at a lunch where you need to prove yourself and then your ring tone, "Baby Got Back" starts blaring. Talk about embarrassing as well as extremely unprofessional!

I know this may seem like a lot to remember but once you do it, it all comes a lot easier the next time.  Just remember to breathe and act as if you are at your grandparents for a Holiday dinner. We all know that's when our manners are expected to shine!  And honestly, that's all these tips are, common manners.  In all, do not be nervous about asking your Clearpoint recruiter for tips and advice.  These are just a few, but someone you know may have even more to-dos and not-to-dos.  Good luck and knock your next lunch interview out of the park!

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