How do I manage luncheon interviews?

Corporate lunches have been in existence for years and now a new trend is emerging in Sydney, ‘luncheon interviews’. From PA to management roles, it’s not only great time saver but also an opportunity to evaluate a candidate’s skills in a social environment.

Dining with a prospective employee allows employers review your interpersonal skills in a more relaxed environment. Good table etiquette will give you an edge over another candidate, here are a few important ones to take heed of.

Interview dining tips

• It’s a good idea to check out the restaurant ahead of time. Check for parking, menu options and even where the rest rooms are located
• Remember to say “please” and “thank you” to your server as well
• Table full of silverware? Rule of thumb is to start from the outside and work your way in eg. your salad fork will be on the far left, your entree fork next to it and so on
• Liquids are on the right, solids on the left eg. your water glass will be on the right and your bread plate on the left
• The napkin is best placed on your lap once everyone is seated
• Remember keep your elbows off the table, sit up straight, and don’t talk with your mouth full

During the meal

• Avoid the cheapest and most expensive items on the menu
• Order food that’s ‘non messy’ and easily cut into bite-size pieces
• A dinner roll is always broken into small pieces
• If you need to leave the table, put your napkin on the seat or the arm of your chair
• Remember to relax, listen, and participate in the conversation

To drink or not to drink

• It’s wise not to drink alcohol during an interview. Interviewing is tough enough without adding alcohol to the mix

After the Meal

• Once finished place cutlery together at a 6 o’clock position on the plate so that the server knows you have finished
• Leave any silverware that you did not use laying on the table
• Place your napkin on the table next to your plate
• Let the prospective employer pick up the tab. The person who invited you will expect to pay both the bill and the tip
• Whilst saying “thank you” is a given, remember to also follow up with a note / card

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