The Lunch Interview
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The Lunch Interview

Lately, interviews conducted over lunch have gained popularity.

What is the reason behind this? Well, for starters most employers have busy schedules. In order to better manage their time, they like it when they can accomplish two tasks at once: lunch and an interview. What better way to kill two birds with one stone?

Reasons for a Lunch Interview

Apart from saving time, another major reason for a lunch interview is that the interviewer has an opportunity to see you in a social setting and evaluate how well you adjust to your surroundings. If meeting clients and adapting to various social situations will be a part of your job, then it is important for your potential employer to know how you will conduct yourself. Regardless of the reason, you should prepare for a lunch interview as you would any interview.

Things to Consider
  • Always follow proper etiquette. Wait for your interviewer to take a seat before you sit down. It is seen as a sign of respect and will leave a lasting, positive impression on your interviewer. This also shows that you are professional, and that is what the interviewer is looking for.
  • Always sit up straight and keep your feet flat on the floor. This is the proper posture for any interview, and other things such as leaning, crossing your legs, etc., are frowned upon and will seem too casual.
  • Unfold your napkin and place it on your lap when the food arrives. This shows proper table manners and will prevent you from staining your clothing.
  • Try to order something that is less expensive than what your interviewer is ordering. If you are asked to order first, choose something in the medium price range. This is common courtesy when dining out, and your interviewer wants to see you demonstrate respect.
  • Eat slowly and take small bites. You will be asked questions about the job as you are eating, and you want to make sure you can answer those questions without taking too long to chew and swallow.
  • Keep your arms off the table; it is unprofessional to lean on the table or have your arms on it. However, folding your hands on the edge of the table is acceptable.
  • Use proper cutlery for your meal. If you do not know about cutlery etiquette, research it or ask someone to teach you.
  • Remember the purpose of the meal; this is a job interview and you want to get hired. Don’t get caught up in the food or an off-topic conversation for too long.
  • Don’t let your guard down. The meal interview might make the atmosphere very friendly and the employer may seem casual. If there is something you wouldn’t bring up in a formal interview, do not talk about it in an interview at a restaurant either. Maintain a professional presence regardless of how casual the interviewer may seem.
  • If you are nervous, visit the restaurant ahead of time and picture what it would be like having an interview there. If you cannot physically go to the restaurant, you should at least look the place up on the Internet. Familiarize yourself with the menu, the environment and the surroundings.
  • A lunch interview is a balanced, two-sided conversation. Make sure you have prepared by going through your past experiences in advance.
  • Use the lunch interview to your advantage. If your interviewer asks you a question while you have food in your mouth, use that time to think about your response. If you are unsure of an answer, take a small bite to allow yourself time to think.
  • Don’t be too indecisive when you are ordering. Looking at the menu beforehand will prevent this. You should know what you want and not have to think about it for too long.
  • After the meal, make sure to thank your interviewer for his or her time and the meal. Speak professionally and with courtesy.

Follow these tips to have a successful interview, and enjoy the meal!

If you need help preparing for your next interview, or if you are interested in upgrading your technical skills to better market yourself for employment in the IT field, please feel free to contact us. We provide intense Microsoft, Citrix, VMware, Cisco, Linux and Red Hat courses. We are located in Mississauga near Toronto, Milton, Hamilton, Oakville and Brampton and offer courses to students looking to change their career or improve their professional skills.

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