The dreaded first lunch interview! I have been to too many lunch meetings to count, recently losing the 20 pounds I gained attending, here are a few things to consider.
Breaking bread, sharing a meal, lunch or in our Midwest farming communities “dinner” whatever you call it these meetings are valuable and a great way to get to know someone one better. If it is your first lunch interview, terrifying, I know! Not only do you need to remember everything on how to prepare for a regular interview… here comes the spinach salad.
5 Easy Tips for the Lunch Interview
No question, wear what you would to a 1 on 1 interview. A dress shirt and a tie are always appropriate. For the ladies, a suit never goes out of style. As a general rule, if you ever think to yourself “should I wear this?”, change… chances are it’s not the best choice.
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Look up the restaurant online ahead of time. Try to be the first one to arrive, waiting in the lobby rather than the bar. It’s lunch not happy hour. Bring along your resume, copy of the job description too. Is there anything you can learn about the person you are meeting ahead of time? Try a Google search or LinkedIn. Finally, be sure to know what is going on in the news that day before you leave the house.
You‘re ready, you know what’s going on in the news and potentially if you and your host have any hobbies in common. A lunch interview is much more casual than a 1 on 1 interview. Be on your toes but, don’t sweat it. A light-hearted conversation will exhibit a lot of your interpersonal skills.
Let’s put the table manners you learned at home to the test! You were invited to this meeting; let your host be your guide. Allow them to order first and follow their lead. If they order a cup of soup and half of a sandwich, follow suit. NEVER out order your host. This is not the time for surf n’ turf or a full rack of ribs. Chances are your host has done this before; they can be your best coach.
As a guest it is customary to let the host pick up the check. Allow them to do so, do not fight over the check or try to grab it before they can pay for it. In a networking situation you may want to alternate paying the bill if you plan to meet with them again in the future.
Your host chose a lunch interview to get to know you better, be yourself and have fun with it! Be sure to thank your host for lunch at the close of the meeting and in your follow up thank you card.