Wimpy Handshake aka: The “Meet & Greet” Remember your mom taught you to offer a…
The lunch interview. The lunch interview can be a minefield. This can be a make or break during the job interview process. Careful, careful. Remember that EACH person you interview will be making recommendations back to the hiring manger. First, order something that is NOT messy, and moderately priced. DO NOT EVER ORDER ALCOHOL unless you are interviewing for a job with a brewery and they want your opinion! (Yeah right…) NEVER EVER answer your phone or text under the table. Yes, believe it or not, we had a candidate do this on a lunch interview. Sometimes you will go off to lunch with folks who might be reporting to you, or employees who may be at your level. Do not rise to their bait. They may launch into complaints or even trash talk the hiring manager. Take it all with a grain of salt and do not get sucked in. Nod your head and use indirect responses. You never know how your responses could be reported to the hiring manager. Lastly, use the good table manners your mom taught you.
How to Ace the Lunch Interview:
One of the final hurdles to clear in your interview process can be treacherous: the lunch interview. It is always difficult to balance being professional in your demeanor with being more sociable in a casual luncheon setting. Here are a few tips to help you nail the lunch interview:
While it is imperative to look your best during an interview, you must keep in mind that for a lunch interview, you may find yourself walking several blocks or more to your company’s restaurant of choice. Thus, go with a pair of shoes that look sharp but are also comfortable. It is tough trying to act sociable and friendly when your feet are killing you.
In a lunch job interview, it is common for multiple interviewers to be present. You may also be attending lunch with folks who might be reporting to you, or employees who may be at your level. In any case, give equal attention to the people interviewing you, no matter their position. You can make everyone at the table feel equally important if you make eye contact with all of your interviewers. Make sure to address everyone so that no one at the table feels snubbed. At many companies, employees on levels above and even below you will have a say in whether or not you receive an offer. Thus, you don’t want to ignore or alienate the more junior-level employees by attempting to impress only the senior-level associates at the lunch.
ALSO, when interacting with folks who may be at or below your level, DO NOT rise to their bait. They may launch into complaints or even trash talk the hiring manager. Take it all with a grain of salt and DO NOT GET SUCKED IN. Nod your head and use indirect responses. You never know how your responses could be reported to the hiring manager.
Believe it or not, your interviewers will evaluate everything about you, including what you order at lunch. Order something that is NOT messy, and moderately expensive. Also, DO NOT EVER ORDER ALCOHOL, unless you are interviewing for a position and at a brewery and they want your opinion! (Yeah, right…). Lastly, use the good table manners your mom taught you.
In addition to finding out more about your professional background and experience, your interviewers may try to gauge whether or not you are a fit at the company on a personal level. Be prepared to discuss your own personal interests. If your interviewers feel that you are a well-rounded person, they will be more inclined to offer you the position. Think about a couple of hobbies or interests you feel comfortable discussing at lunch. Sports and travel are generally safe subjects to bring up. Remember: being someone who has fascinating interests outside of work makes you a more attractive candidate.
Believe it or not, we once had a candidate do this on a lunch interview.