Wednesday, 16 January 2013

How to Dine with a Potential Employer

Having an interview is already a lot on our plate...but sometimes the plate could be actually standing right in front of you, between you and the interviewer....yes, during a meal interview.

What should I do? Are there different rules of etiquette for meal interviews?

Of course, it’s a yes! If you are having an interview with someone from the same nationality, then you are likely to be well acquainted with most of the etiquette rules that are required during a meal. However, if you are being interviewed by someone from a different nationality, then you should really be culturally aware of the many differences that could emerge during the interview. (More about this topic will be written in future blogs shortly.)

Muovo is sharing with you the following article, courtesy of SparkHire, regarding the etiquette required during meal interviews. If you have any experiences or suggestions that you would like to share with us, feel free to send a comment!

What you should first consider is your wardrobe. As SparkHire rightly states, there is no difference as such regarding clothing choices between a meal and an in-office interview. You do want to consider the general dress of the restaurant though, which should be readily available online. While you never want to spill, a general rule of thumb would be to go with more forgiving colours. A stark white shirt will show even a speck of food; and loose blouses for women are begging to brush up against food. Also, be sure to wear comfortable clothing, nothing too tight around the stomach.

When you arrive at the restaurant, wait for your entire party. It is polite in any scenario, but especially so if you’re waiting for your interviewer(s). You do not want to give the impression that you have been waiting a long time (and hence becoming impatient!), or have a misunderstanding on where you’re sitting. If your interviewer is running late, go to the bar and order a drink. The drink you order depends of course on the time of the interview and type of restaurant (so don’t order a mulled wine or whisky for a lunch interview in a cafeteria).

An article from provides some great meal interview etiquette tips from a local etiquette expert. The article gives you some of the basics like silverware and plate arrangement; also, it states why you should never drink during an interview and chew with your mouth closed. It also gives you some thought as to when to start eating and never arriving to a meal interview hungry.

Although meal interviews are not that popular locally than in-office interviews, learning proper etiquette is useful outside of job interviews as well. For some more tips on dining etiquette, The Art of Manliness offers some general tips for proper meal etiquette. (Don’t worry, most are gender neutral!)

View this PDF for Dining Etiquette Tips

Best wishes!

Nikita Pisani at Muovo


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