Interviewing Over A Meal

If an interview has been scheduled over a meal, there are things you can do to ensure you make a good impression.


  • Turn off your cell phone before arriving.

  • Dress professionally

  • Remember to shake hands, smile and use good posture

  • Follow the lead of the employer throughout the entire interview

  • Never order alcohol.  If the interviewer insists, then limit yourself to one

  • Order in moderation – don’t order the most expensive meal, but not the cheapest either

  • Always be polite to the wait staff, host etc., and never complain about your meal

  • You are not expected to pay, so don’t offer. Thank the employer for the meal and the conversation.

Table Manners

  • Keep everything off the table – this includes, keys, gloves and elbows

  • Which fork? Always work from the outside in toward your plate.  For example, if there are 3 forks, the outside fork is for your appetizer, the second for salad and the inside fork is for your main course.  The fork (or spoon) at the top of your plate is for your dessert.

  • If something awkward happens, like you drop your fork.  Leave it on the floor and politely ask the wait staff for another.

  • The bread and butter plate is on your left, the water glass is on your right.

  • If you are served first, wait until the interviewer(s) have been served before you begin eating.

  • Never place cutlery back on the table once it has been used

  • Don't choose a messy dish.  Use utensils rather than your fingers, and cut as much as will comfortably fit into your mouth.  Remember you will be doing most of the talking; never talk with your mouth full.

  • Bring your food up to your mouth, don't duck your head down to your plate.

  • If you must excuse yourself during the meal, do so politely and place your napkin on your chair (never on the table) and push your chair in.

  • At the end of the meal, place your cutlery together on your plate with the handles toward you.


Basic Dining Etiquette- Using Utensils

Basic Dining Etiquette- Table Taboos