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Career Coach

Let's Do Lunch

Published April 23, 2014 8:26 AM by Renee Dahring

Today I am going to discuss an interview type that can make many job seekers a little uncomfortable: the lunch or dinner invitation.

You have applied for a job, and the practice has invited you to a restaurant. The invite might occur early in the process or it could be the last hurdle before the official offer. It might be fine dining or the local café. Make no mistake, no matter what it is called or where you go, it is still an interview so the standard rules will still apply. Dress professionally, show up on time and be prepared to ask and answer questions. But, as they say, the devil is in the details.

Here are a few etiquette pointers to help you lower your stress level.

  • 1. Order something easy to eat. Please stay away from any sort of finger food. Virtually no one is going to look dignified eating with his or her hands. Seriously, have you ever watched someone trying to eat a large burger? Not a pretty sight. Any food that you have to touch will also lead to food getting on your hands. This leads nicely into tip #2.
  • 2. No messy or drippy food. Stay away from spaghetti or foods that have a juicy filling. I don't know about you but the nicer I am dressed, the greater the chance that I will spill. I mean, isn't it a known fact that "dry-clean only" clothing attracts spills? Note, ribs and burgers violate both #1 and #2.
  • 3. If you are picky eater or have a lot of "special requests," keep them to yourself. You are going to sound like a major diva if you have a laundry list of do's and don'ts for your food. Asking for your dressing on the side can be forgiven but if you are getting into fat, salt or garnish discussions, you have gone too far. No one wants to hear that. Your goal is to be remembered for what you said during the interview rather than for how much you stressed out the server when you ordered.
  • 4. No alcohol. I don't care if everyone else at the table is having a glass of wine YOU are not to partake. The other people at the table can drink - they are not the ones interviewing for a job! In order to be on your best behavior, you should stick to nonalcoholic beverages.

I do, however, recommend treating yourself do the adult beverage of your choice when you get home. :-) 

 

 

 

1 comments

Helpful advice! However as a new grad NP with celiac disease, I am unable to eat at restaurants due to potential cross-contamination that inevitably leaves me ill for a week. What suggestions do you have to handle not being able to eat at a restaurant, without coming across like a "major diva" as you mentioned?

Jillian June 29, 2014 5:57 PM

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    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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