How to Handle Lunch (Dinner) During Interview (Tips for 2024)

An interview is a set of expertly crafted questions that not only test your grip on the core profile and subjects but also evaluates your intellectual ability and body language. It is for this reason that an interview session consists of the most awkward and perplexing interview questions having the ability to unsettle your nerves and disturb your body language. Now, as if this was not enough, imagine your table manners and ethics getting tested too. There are always a few instances when you will be having your interview session organized while having lunch. Well, do not get stressed or become anxious as through this article we will be presenting you some of the best techniques following which you can ace your lunch interview.

How to Handle Lunch Dinner During Interview

Thirteen Best Tips To Ace Your Lunch Interview (Step By Step)

1) Know Your Location Precisely

The first impression is always the last impression. If you arrive late for your interview session, be ready to face the wrath of your interviewer as it is highly expected from you that you would reach the restaurant on time. In order to do so, double-check the location of the restaurant and understand the whole route preferably using any online service. Further, make sure that you have pre-booked a can at the correct time and correct date, so as to ensure there are no last time glitches or any human error. Reaching on time at your interview restaurant is the first and foremost which must be followed in order to ace your interview session.

2) Be Aware Of The Latest Developments

Lunch interviews are more of a chitchat type of interviews designed primarily to check your level of confidence, personality, and awareness of the surroundings that directly affect and influence you. Hence, it is advisable from our side that you always keep tabs on the latest news and recent developments. In order to do so effectively, you can read the newspaper in the morning and especially look for news related to:

  • Finance
  • Stock market
  • Latest appointments
  • Budding issues and its causes
  • Any other latest developments

While reading the newspaper make sure that you are not wasting your time in reading news related to movies, entertainment, or any gossip/blarney of whatever kind.

3) Dress Formally

It is fine, that you are being called upon for a lunch interview. Some people might take this lightly and dress casually instead of a proper business suit with a tie. Now, this is a grave mistake that you will be committing and this would simply imply that either you are not serious about the position or lack the basic ethics, aptitude, and approach necessary for appearing in an interview session. Dressing in a casual manner, with jeans and a T-shirt on would further imply that you lack self-confidence and are absolutely not worthy of getting a job.

4) Reach Earlier Than Your Interviewer

We already discussed the importance of reaching on time at an interview restaurant in point number one. There are high chances that your interviewer would be a person of repute who surely understands the value and worth of time. Therefore, it is possible that he or she as a good gesture, reach 5 or 10 minutes earlier than the fixed time. Now, as per our understanding and research, an interviewer always prefers candidates who reach before them. Hence, in order to thoroughly impress your interviewer and display your level of seriousness, commitment, and loyalty towards the organization, always try to reach at least 15 minutes before the stipulated time.

5) Wait In The Lobby and Greet

Usually, in a lunch interview, the tables are pre-booked. However, we do not recommend you to wait for your interviewer at the designated table. Instead, spend your waiting period in the lobby of the restaurant. Waiting at the designated table displays reverence and disrespect for your interviewer. As soon as you see your interviewer, approach him or her and greet with a Good Morning/Evening. Post this, share your name and tell them you are the one, who has been called for this interview session.

6) Ordering Issues

The first battle with the time is now over and you are finally living the moment pragmatically. However, the story is just about to begin. The first hurdle that you would experience in a lunch interview is the order that you are supposed to make. Your interviewer would always insist, you make an order first. At this juncture, you are advised not to argue with your interviewer and try to order something (explained in point number 7) by gently opening the menu card.

7) What To Order?

The ball is in your lap and you are the first one who is ordering. It is highly advisable that you order two things, the first one being any non-alcoholic beverage (iced tea and sparkling water is the best option) and the second one being any small dish that you could eat using your fork and knife. Large dishes such as lobsters, fried chicken, or maybe a big hamburger is a big no-no.

8) Pay Due Attention To The Rates

Further, it is important to remember that you pay your due attention to the rates as well while ordering any dish or beverage. It is recommended that you order a dish that is neither too expensive nor too cheap, as ordering an expensive dish would reveal that you are too ostentatious, and ordering a cheap dish would simply show that you are degraded and possess a low opinion towards yourself. The best option would be to order something in the middle of both these ranges of price.

9) How To Refuse A Food Recommendation From Your Interviewer?

An interviewer totally understands that you are nervous as after all, it is an interview session, hence in order to make you feel relaxed and calm, he or she would offer you a few food items. We all people have a few allergies, likes as well as dislikes towards some particular foods. In case the recommendation, does not fit well for you, try to refuse in a very polite and gentle manner. The denial must be short, crisp, and to the point which should necessarily contain the exact reason of refusal.

10) Speaking While Eating!!!

A lunch interview not only tests your personality and your grip on the core profile but also analyses your table manners. There will always be a few instances when you will be asked a few questions while you are having your lunch. You simply can not ignore those questions so as to put on display your high level of ethics. But, the best way to answer these questions is to respond in between taking your bites. Chew your bite completely, respond to the question and again take the bite. Never speak while you are chewing as this not only looks absurd but also shows your lack of professionalism.

Major Benefit Of Lunch Interviews

Traditional interviews are speed-based wherein you have to come up with a response almost spontaneously. But over here, lunch interviews are more of a slow kind of interviews, wherein you are the sole person getting interviewed at a point in time. With no strict restrictions of time, you can take your time while giving a response. The chewing time as mentioned above is the best time, which you can use to craft a superb and impressive answer.

11) Be Polite With Everyone

During your lunch interview from the starting till the end, you will be encountering and interacting with a lot of people, ranging from security guards to servers to waiters to receptionists. It is highly recommended that you maintain a positive and polite attitude with all of them, as your way of communication with all these workers would reveal a lot about your personality which is duly noted by your interviewer at different points in time.

12) Keep Your Composure

The primary task of a lunch interview is to evaluate your personality from all aspects and angles. Even the thought of such an exhaustive analysis might make you nervous and anxious. Hence, it is advised that you keep faith in your skills and abilities and respond to each and every answer with high confidence and merit. Always remember that the relevance and appropriateness of the answers would always fetch you a high score and in order to do so effectively, you are advised to understand each and every question asked from you in the best possible and complete manner.

13) Finish Like A Pro

Everything eventually comes to an end as nothing in this world is permanent. Finally, the moment would come when your interview session would be done and dusted. However, only your interviewer knows when that moment would come. Hence, as soon as you see your interviewer standing up, immediately but cautiously fold your napkin and keep it on your side of the table. If you are offered a handshake, politely accept it and greet your interviewer with some righteous words. This would mark the end of your lunch interview, which only you know, how well did it go.


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