Tips for Meal-Based Job Interviews

Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner – meal-based job interviews present unique challenges for the average job seeker. 


From a job seeker’s perspective, there are plenty of reasons why interviewing over a meal is a really bad idea. But like it or not, employers frequently integrate meals into the interview process. So it’s important for job seekers to understand how to succeed in meal-based job interviews.

Right away, job seekers need to understand it’s not about the food. Meal-based interviews are first and foremost interviews – opportunities for employers to evaluate your qualifications and assess how well you handle yourself in interpersonal situations. If you let down your guard, the possibility of a job offer will be in serious jeopardy.

How to Succeed in a Meal-Based Job Interview

A few common sense tips can make the difference between success and failure in a meal-based job interview:

  1. Mind Your Manners

    During meal-based job interviews, employers and interviewers are watching your every move. Wait for the interviewer to arrive before being seated, be polite to wait staff and exercise good table manners at all times.

  2. Plan Ahead

    It pays to plan ahead for lunch or dinner job interviews. In addition to making sure you have accurate directions and parking information, browse the menu online so you can focus on the interviewer when you are at the restaurant.

  3. Keep It Simple

    Remember, you’re not there for a fine dining experience, you’re there to interview. Stick to simple menu items that can be eaten with a knife and fork, and stay away from alcohol – even if your host offers to order it for you.

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