Interview Tip: How to Handle a Lunch Interview

February 27th, 2009 by lewis

Alison Doyle,’s Job Searching Guide, offers some tips on how to handle lunch interviews. Lunch (or dinner) interviews are tough. The old saying is true, you shouldn’t talk and eat at the same time. But unfortunately, job candidates rarely have a choice, so here are my tips on how to do your best in a tough situation:

  • Don’t expect to eat anything at lunch. Sure, you’ll order lunch and have a few bites here and there. However, you don’t want to give your interviewer the impression that you’d rather eat than answer his “What’s your biggest weakness?” question. The corporate cafeteria calzone may look delicious, but resist the temptation! You’re at the interview to get a job.
  • Choose a quiet location. Let the interviewer choose the lunch location but request that it be a quiet location. It’d be a shame if the rowdy rugby fans at local pub silenced your perfect answer to the “Tell me about yourself” question.
  • Bring water and snacks. Don’t let an empty stomach ruin your post-lunch interviews. Bring your own food and water; nibble and replenish in between interviews.

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2 Responses to “Interview Tip: How to Handle a Lunch Interview”

  1. February 28, 2009 at 5:44 am, Darlene McDaniel said:

    Thanks for sharing your link at bizzia:Careers:

    Please feel free to stop by anytime!

    Darlene McDaniel

  2. September 25, 2009 at 6:21 pm, George Main said:

    Thank you, Lewis, for your wonderful blog and insightful comments. Your writing shows that you draw from a treasure-trove of experience and knowledge. Lewis, I add a comment to your suggestion: “Don't expect to eat anything at lunch.” I’d rephrased the admonition this way, “Prioritize the lunch meeting: talking first, eating second,” or something like that. During a lunch interview, if I give the impression that the questions interfere with my meal, the interviewer will likely eat my lunch. However, if I pick at my food I convey a multitude of possibilities: I don’t know what to order; I don’t socialize well with others; or the interviewer gives me indigestion. Mothers say "eat," right? I make a practice of ordering vegetarian or fish (if I trust the restaurant) dishes that are moist and cool to avoid dry-mouth and blowing on food. I spot a water carafe and bring it to the table if I can.

    Thank you for real, positive help for those in great need!