Monday, November 21, 2011

Interview Meal Etiquette: Everything You Need To Know

Here is everything a person should now about interview meal etiquette. The four general questions all hiring managers/ recruiters are seeking answers to during the interview are; Can you do the job?, Will you do the job?, Do you Want to do the job?, Are you a Cultural fit?. All of these four questions should be addressed and answered based on your etiquette.

Listed below are a few of the most important and common opportunities for a successful interview meal:

The purpose of the meal . . . to eat or seal the deal? All eyes are on you. Regardless of the manners of everyone else, you alone are being judged. The meal is about your ability to engage, relate and converse—not eat. You are being judged on how well you will brand the company’s image vis-à-vis your etiquette. You can eat until you are full at a later time.

Linen secrets. Wait for the host or hostess to put his/her napkin in his/her lap first. If everyone is just putting them in their laps, do likewise but never be the first. (And regardless of what everyone else does, yours still goes in your lap.)

The most practical way to place the napkin in your lap is to fold a third of it over (instead of in half). That gives you plenty of coverage for your clothes in case there is that run-a-way piece of food. And with a third of the napkin folded over, when you get something on your fingers, it is much easier to clean them off because you have a “pocket” you can slip your fingers into for wiping.

If you need to get up from the table, place the napkin in your chair—not on the table.

Pasta, steak, burger or chicken? Pasta – Do not order anything that is messy. Yes, people have ordered spaghetti and walked away with red spots on their white shirt. Not cool. Steak – Unless that is what the host/hostess is ordering the answer is no. You want to show that you think about the company’s money. Thus, never order anything that is out of line in terms of pricing. Burger – Don’t order anything that you have to eat with your fingers. Chicken – Yes. Chicken, fish . . . ordering anything that can be cut into small bites is the right answer.

I really want a beer! Before evening? Too bad! Evening? One beer, or one glass of wine. No more. No hard liquor. If the position you are interviewing for involves the benefit of a company
car, no alcohol, period!

There are too many utensils here! The forks are to the left of the plate, with the salad fork being to the far left. (If salad is the main course for you, it is permissible to use the dinner fork.) When finished with the salad, leave the fork on the salad plate/bowl. The fork closest to the plate is your dinner fork.

Salt and pepper . . . ? They are passed together, never separately. But NEVER use salt or pepper without tasting the food first. That can demonstrate that you make hasty decisions without having all of the information available to you.

Lastly, any other issues that might be while at dinner (ex: you find hair in your food, etc.), be as discreet as possible. Kindly inform the waiter/ waitress without making a scene. Your ability to handle an issue such as this will show interviewer your ability to handle other issues when they arise.



  1. This is a very useful article. Like the article says, all eyes are on you when you're at a meal. This article gives some good tips to avoid embarrassment for yourself and the people around you. People should be wise when choosing what they eat and be aware of any mess or noise that might occur from eating it.

  2. Ive noticed a good amount of people are not aware of their poor meal etiquette. People will looking at you, and if your messy your really embarrassing yourself