You applied for a job, made it through a couple of interviews and now they want to take you and maybe the final candidates to lunch. Are your table manners up to par? If the position you are applying for requires you to wine and dine with clients chances are they are taking you to lunch to check out your table etiquette.
Your typical interview may include:
1. Listening to the interviewer
2. Answering his/her questions
3. Asking intelligent questions
4. Appearing relaxed
Now, throw in a two or three course meal, well this can get messy. Although meal interviews may seem less formal they are just as important. During a meal interview you are being evaluated on your social and table etiquette among other things.
In order to surpass at a meal interview not only do you need to remember your basic table manners (which fork to use, napkin goes on your lap, which is your bread plate, etc.) remember the following as well;
- Try to avoid food that is messy such as spaghetti or ribs
- Avoid food that is heavy on garlic or onions…you don’t bad breath
- Avoid alcohol
- Although your meal is more than likely free, you should not order the most expensive meal. The general guideline is to follow the interviewers lead and order the same as the interviewer, if that is not an option then stay close to the price of the meal the interviewer ordered
- Follow your host do not begin eating or drinking anything not even water until your host does
- The interviewer should never eat alone, if they order coffee or dessert, then so should you
- Never offer to pay for the meal
- Remember to thank the interviewer for the meal and you may mention a positive comment on the meal
- Never ask for a doggy bag
- Don’t forget to express how much you enjoyed talking to the interviewer and ask what the next step is
- Send a thank you note within 24 hours
If you are up against others with equal qualifications, table manners can be the deciding factor if you are hired or not.
Jules Hirst is a sought after speaker and a recognized etiquette coach. She conducts lectures, workshops, seminars and webinars in business and social etiquette. Jules co-author Power of Civility where she shares strategies and tools for building an exceptional professional image.