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Mind Your Manners!
Although some of the foods below are not interview-friendly, it’s useful to know the proper way to eat them.
Corn on the Cob
At some point during a lengthy interview process, you may be invited to dine out. Good dining etiquette is one of those skills that, once learned, can be executed effortlessly.
Once you know the date, time and location of your interview, visit the restaurant’s web site—read reviews and scan the menu. Have at least three moderately priced entrée selections in mind. Become familiar with the details—be proactive and avoid surprises.
Avoid heavy sauces, splashy soups, bones, shells and noodles. The following interview-friendly foods should help narrow down your choices:
On the Day of the Meal
Arrive with about 15 minutes to check in and get settled. If the interviewer is running late, you may choose to be seated at your table or wait in a lounge area. It is poor etiquette to start early by ordering anything—you may accept water. You are her guest, so take the seat that faces the view of the room.
As she approaches, stand up, meet her gaze, and extend your arm for a professional handshake. Allow her to introduce herself first and say your full name. Wait for her to make some type of gesture that guides you to sit.
“Order” of Business
Place your napkin on your lap. If the waiter offers a wine list, wait for her response; whether or not she accepts, resist the offer. Although you have premeditated selections, politely listen to the specials and pretend to read the menu. Limit yourself to two courses before coffee and dessert.
You’re not restricted to chatting about professional matters. Use the following hit or miss topics as a guide:
Mind Your Table Manners
After ordering coffee and dessert, the business talk begins. By this time, she may like you enough to give her stamp of approval. When it’s time to go, she will ask the waiter for the check. Do not offer to pay—the meal is part of her hiring expense. Do thank her for her time. When you stand, leave the napkin on the left side of your plate and walk together towards the door. Shake her hand, reiterate your desire for the job, and once again thank her for everything. Be sure to deliver your thank-you note within 24 hours.
Starting Out: Have Stage Fright?