The job market is quite competitive, and you need all of the help that you can get. One interview that requires a new set of skills is the dinner interview. This meeting may seem casual, but there are a lot of things that could make or break the entire evening. The following are four tips to help you impress your future employer at a dinner interview.
Treat the waiter right
It is very important that you treat your waiter with the utmost respect. This means that you should thank your waiter, or say ‘please’ whenever you request something. Try to get everything you need from the waiter when he or she arrives instead of frequently asking for additional items. Be sure to ask for the waiter’s name and use it when appropriate. Showing such respect and manners is a good way of showing the employer how he or she can expect you to treat others that you’ll be working with—this is especially important if you are applying for any type of manager or director position.
Etiquette for ordering
Stick to moderately priced foods, like chicken or fish. You do not want to be the person who orders the most expensive meal on the menu, and you do not want to order a meal that is a little too heavy either. Of course, if your employer purposely takes you to a steakhouse, then you may be able to consider getting a steak. A good rule of thumb is to ask the employer what he or she is thinking about ordering. This can help you to gage the price range that you ought to stick to. Ordering something that is expensive or that costs way more than what your employer is getting could show you might have a selfish side to you. Not only that, but by keeping the cost into consideration could should how much you respect your superiors. Supposing that the employer would be paying for the meal, offer to cover the tip and be generous with that as well—you should give the wait staff 20 to 25 percent.
Although you should not order alcoholic beverages unless the interviewer has given the okay, the opportunity to drink a delicious glass of wine or two might come. Let the employer be the one to initiate this, though. He or she will reach for the wine list, which gives you permission to do so too. Know that some employers may use this as an opportunity to test you on both class and personality. If asked to choose the wine, make sure to choose one that pairs well with both yours and your employer’s meals. Of course, knowing something like this might take some learning beforehand. Research the wine list beforehand and know what each might go best with salty foods—such as seafood. So if you see champagne, such as one from JJ Buckley Fine Wines, then you’ll know that it goes best with If given the bottle to pour yourself, don’t make the mistake of filling it too full. You should note, though, that the etiquette for this depends on the type of wine: red wines should be at one-third full, white wines at half full, and sparkling wines at three-quarters full.
You might want to talk about whatever is on your mind, but be careful. It is important to stay away from sensitive subjects, such as religion or anything that can sound political. Keep it professional, but let yourself be casual enough that you can let some of your personality shine through. Talk about what interests you, your passions and goals. However, don’t let the conversation be all one-sided either. Get the employer to talk about themselves too and do your best to connect to what he or she says.
Hopefully, the above tips will help you to get the job that you’re hoping to get. Just remember to send a ‘thank you’ note to the interviewer(s) as soon as you can—hand deliver it to the receptionist as mail tends to take three or more days to arrive and their final decision might have already been made by that point. Good luck to you!
Have you ever had a dinner interview? How was it? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us your experience at @CareerCamel.