Tips for Acing a Lunch Interview
Table manners are obviously incredibly important for these types of interviews. This involves keeping your elbows off the table, chewing with a closed mouth and using your napkin. It may also be a good idea to familiarize yourself with silverware so that you do not use the wrong fork for the salad. You never know how picky the hiring manager might be.
You should also pay attention to what you order. You are going to need to be able to speak throughout this lunch, so you should order something that will allow you to speak easily and will not be sloppy. Getting a salad, soup or sandwich is often recommended since they are foods that are easy to accommodate. It is also good to refrain from ordering appetizers or desserts since you do not want to leave the hiring manager with a huge bill at the end. Keep your meal modest. The focus should be on the interview, not on getting a huge meal.
One of the most crucial aspects of the lunch interview is the politeness you display. You need to be courteous to everyone you come in contact with, including the wait staff and potentially other customers. This means you need to treat everyone in a professional and dignified manner. If you are brought the wrong meal, it is often best to just ignore it. Sending it back and waiting for another meal can lengthen the meal considerably and inconvenience the hiring manager. It is best to just ignore it, but if the interviewer draws attention to it, just say that you are not picky and would not want to draw out the interview.
The End of the Lunch Interview
At the end of your meeting, you should thank the interviewer not just for meeting with you but also for the meal. They will be paying for it without expecting you to chip in, and it can be offensive to offer to pay for the meal yourself. You do not need to offer to pay, but you do need to show your appreciation and not make it seem like you are ungrateful for getting a free meal. Make sure to shake hands at the end as you are parting ways and thank them for their consideration in the position.
Although lunch interviews require additional considerations, you still need to prepare for them just like you would a regular interview. That means doing plenty of research on the company beforehand and preparing responses for common interview questions. You need to dress and groom yourself properly and arrive 10 to 15 minutes early, just like you would ordinarily. Lunch interviews typically run longer than interviews conducted in an office, so it is a great opportunity for a prospective employer to learn more about you. Being able to ace a lunch interview will put you miles ahead of the competition and give you a great chance to land the job.