Lunch interviews can be a terrifying concept. Whether you are self-conscious about eating in front of others or a hotdog eating champion, there are some ideas everyone should keep in mind when participating in a lunch interview.
Eat Before – “But it’s a lunch meeting. Why would I eat before?” As you can imagine, the majority of your interview will be an interview, which is a lot of talking with minimal time to actually eat. Keep your stomach grumbles at bay and keep from concentrating on the food by eating beforehand. Make sure you brush your teeth after!
Order Smart – Sure, we would all like to take advantage of a free meal and get whatever we want, but some choices are not great for interviews. Stay away from things that could get messy like sandwiches and anything with a bone in it. When you go in for a final handshake, no one wants saucy hands. Avoid things that are difficult to get on a fork like spaghetti or salad, and steer clear of anything that you have to slurp like soup. Order food that is bite-sized, easily cut, does not require eating with your hands, and will not have tiny pieces to get stuck in your teeth.
Take Notes the Old-Fashioned Way – There is something about seeing someone on a laptop, tablet, or phone that makes them seem closed off. Taking handwritten notes opens you up to the person across the table both physically and mentally. It helps you maintain a great seated power stance, which makes you more approachable and confident. Also, some restaurant tables leave minimal space for writing, so it’s a good idea to keep a small notepad in your padfolio with your résumé.
Alcohol – Just don’t do it. Even if your interviewer offers and has something to drink, do not follow suit. You may also want to ask yourself if this company maintains an appropriate level of professionalism.
Dessert or Not – Follow the lead of your interviewer. If you are having a great conversation, they may want to keep it going by adding another course to your meal. Just keep the Order Smart rules in mind!
~Danielle Marciniak, M.S., Roseman ’18, Chicago administrative extern