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Lunch/Dinner Interviews

Being interviewed over a meal presents some unique challenges. While you may feel more relaxed in this setting, your meal is not a break. Employers are still evaluating your abilities and paying attention to your manners.

Student with employer during a meal

Your host

  • Follow the lead of the interviewer; they are your host
  • Allow the interviewer to accept the check
  • Thank them for their hospitality and the meal

The food

  • Order a menu item that will be easy to eat
  • Do not order wine or beer, even if your interviewer does
  • Taste your food before seasoning anything

Good conversation

  • Conversation is the point of the meal, not the food
  • Engage in enthusiastic conversation
  • Draw attention to your communication savvy


  • When in doubt, look to your host and follow their lead
  • Your napkin belongs in your lap when you sit down
  • If you must leave the table before the meal is finished, place your napkin in your chair to signal to the waitstaff that you will be returning
  • When the meal is complete and you are leaving the table, place your napkin beside your plate
  • Utensils depend upon the number of courses. Begin with the utensils farthest from your plate and work your way in. Your dessert fork/spoon is located above the plate.