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Lunch Interviews: How to Avoid Embarrassment

Lunch interviews seemingly combine the stress of an interview with the awkwardness of a first date. Fear not. We have tips to make sure a faux pas doesn’t derail your success

  1. Be personal. Lunch is not primarily about business. If they had wanted an efficient meeting space, they would not have suggested a meal. Lunch interviews are more about who you are than what you know. Your interviewer is trying to get a sense of what you are like and how you would fit with the team. Focus on being genuine and building rapport.

  2. Be neat. Be careful what you order. Avoid messy dishes with splashy sauces and foods that you have to pick up, like sandwiches or tacos. Something that can be eaten with a fork is ideal. The last thing you want to do is be slurping spaghetti or sloshing soup.

  3. Be timely. Keep pace with your interviewer’s eating. The amount of food on each of your plates is a tangible measure of how you are doing with the give and take of conversation. And once the food is gone, it doesn’t mean your meeting is over; take your cues from them as to when to wrap it up.

While lunch interviews can be daunting, they allow you a unique opportunity to connect with your interviewer. Food brings people together and you can form a meaningful connection that will lead to a call back.