Job-Hunt.org just published a fabulous, practical guide on optimizing a breakfast, dinner, or lunch job interview.
The article made me think about the biggest mistake you can make at a meal-based job interview. I realized, “Simple answer, it’s scheduling that type of interview at all!”
The Problem with Interviewing Over a Meal
That’s because there’s a fundamental problem with eating during an interview. You go to an interview to talk, to share information about yourself. That’s so much easier to do when your mouth is empty.
When I recruited, I used to schedule breakfast and lunch job interviews with candidates. I stopped because I noticed:
- They didn’t get to finish their meals.
- I didn’t get all of the information I needed from them.
How to Avoid Eating & Interviewing
Thus, when you get a meal-based interview invitation, be upfront about your concern. You can say, “It’s hard for me to talk with my mouth full. Can we schedule a different time? If not, will you be comfortable if I just order coffee and a snack so I can answer your questions?”
You can probably get away with that for a breakfast or lunch interview but not a dinner interview.
When is Eating & Interviewing OK?
As you move through the interview process, you might be invited to a dinner interview. That’s pretty much a command performance. Your potential employer probably wants to get to know you better, see how you act in a common situation, and figure out whether or not they’d want to go on a business trip with you.
If that’s the case, then click on Job-Hunt’s guide above, watch Betsy Salkind’s slightly NSFW video below for what not to do (really just because it’s funny), and get prepared to impress and enjoy yourself. Oh, and decide whether or not you would want to go on a business trip with your interviewer.
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Updated March 2019
© 2015 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, writes all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by leading business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Ask.com, Social Media Today, IT World, SmartBrief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse. Let her background and experience inform your job search strategy and decision making.