How to Ace A Job Interview Lunch
Not having been brought up in the US, I am daunted by my upcoming lunch with the man who is interviewing me. What are the dos and don't?
Learn about the restaurant. Then about the place setting and use the utensil starting from the outside working in toward the plate. Watch your host, because he seats himself first and begins eating first. Mimic what to do when. Since He sits first, he motions to where you would sit. Cover your lap with your napkin.
Lift the food on your fork, or spoon, up to your mouth and never lean down to put your face closer to your plate. Never leave the table, because you will have used the restroom before the interview, and you do not want to rudely put your back to the interviewer and leave him unattended. Should there be an accident of spilled water, etc., don’t make an incident out of it. The upset should not be the interviewer’s take-away from the meeting. Lay your napkin discreetly over the spill, spread out neatly and leave it there. Swiftly brush crumbs into the palm of your hand and deposit them on the bread plate. Crumbs aren’t actually a distraction to anyone, but the person who makes them.
Always leave used utensils on the plate, even when you have not finished eating. Once you’ve used a utensil, it does not return to the tablecloth. How the interviewee interacts with the waitstaff has it’s own nuance: Be professional, by not being rude or overly-friendly. In other words, you would not engage the waiter in chit-chat.
Absolutely, do not wave your utensils or scrape them noisily against the china, because they are unpleasant distractions.
Nor would the interviewee order a drink before the interviewer’s arrival. If the interviewer orders a drink or wine with the meal, follow suit, but drink it slowly and only have one, even if you’re the only one not having more than one. It is part of the test. If you don’t drink, then simply say, “I don’t drink.”
The point is that an employer wants to know that the employee represents the company in every way. Socially as well as professionally. The interviewer wants to be assured that their employees can be trusted to act civilly with clients. For instance, no touching or off-colored or political jokes, even if the interviewer makes the first move, because he may be baiting the interviewee. Some employers will want to know that you can represent him in the event that he cannot make a business lunch.
Leave the napkin to the left of the plate setting loosely folded. Send a thank-you note either handwritten or an email within twenty-four hours.