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  1. #1

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    What should you eat at a lunch interview?

    I have an interview at 12:15p on Friday, and it just occurred to me that, uhm, its lunch hour and I wonder if the dude plans on making this over lunch? I worked at this company many years ago as a co-op, so I know the cafeteria is right inside the door I am entering at, plus there is a sit-down service style cafe where managers take lunch meetings. If, on the off chance, that this ends up talking over lunch, what kind of food should I eat? Is a simple sandwich okay? How about if they have a salad bar and make a small salad? Lord I hope it is not! I totally cannot eat and talk!

    Plus this complex is HUGE, and I know the buildings I will be escorted to for next interview, then next, then 4th. Its a LOT of walking just between buildings! What the heck do you talk about during all the walking, whether it be the manager or someone sent to pick me up? I suck at small talk!
    Last edited by BaileyCatts; 11-18-2011 at 04:33 AM.

  2. #2
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    Nothing with parsley or something that would stick to your teeth. I like creamy soups. Too much broth equals possible drips. I like sandwiches as long as they aren't huge stacks that are wider than my mouth.

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    Salads are terrible choices, IMO--they require a lot of chewing, things stick to your teeth, and if you drip dressing, you have a big, greasy blotch on your clothes. Not that I have experienced this personally, mind you

    Wraps are also very bad for sticking to teeth, as is squishy sandwich bread.

    Pick something that is easy to chew and can be eaten in tiny bites without a lot of mess.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    If you eat a sandwich, you will probably end up with bread between your teeth. Depending on the type of bread, there can also be lots of crumbs. Soup gets my vote, too.
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    A big rack of juicy spareribs.

    Good luck.
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  6. #6
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    Don't have spaghetti. She says from experience.

    I think soup is okay but a slab of meat and veggies is almost always the easiest to eat in public for me.
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    No beans.

    Imagine it's a first date, which mean that you'll eat almost nothing . Order something simple and not likely to leave a mess while eating.

    Try to make small talk about the company, what the work environment is like, the people, how he likes the job, etc. Tell him how how your morning has been, what you've liked about the company so far, etc. Sure you've already asked those same questions to the other interviewers that you've met before him, but it doesn't hurt to ask him those same questions again just to get the conversations flowing. I think also sometimes the interview relaxes during lunch interview and will ask you about your hobbies, interests outside of work, etc.

    Just take a deep breath. You'll survive Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    Don't have spaghetti.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    I suggest you eat something before hand so you won't go hungry even if there is no lunch. Besides if you are not hungry you will be free to order anything small, polite and inexpensive.

    I hate business lunches or dinners too but I have attend a lot of them. In fact, yesterday, today AND tomorrow. And Holiday season hasn't officially started yet. One thing I've learned is nothing drippy, smelly or loud. Make sure it's something can be handled easily with knife and fork.

    Anyway, good luck!

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    A granola bar, or just a juice/milk/coffee. You could politely say you generally skip lunch.

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    Anything that doesn't require a lot of manipulation. Gnocchi works in an Italian place. Scallops in a fish place. A basic stir fry if going Asian. The way I decide is to find the thing that I can get from the plate to my mouth with minimal fuss that requires minimum chewing.

    As for the walking and talking, how about how the complex has or hasn't changed since the last time you were there?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    You could politely say you generally skip lunch.
    It the interview is meant to be a lunch interview then I think you will leave the interviewer at an awkward position if you decline lunch.

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    If you're in that type of restaurant, a thin slab of meatloaf and mashed potatoes are less likely to stick to your teeth or drip on your clothes. They are also soft and more quickly chewed up and swallowed for quick replies to questions. Hold the gravy, though.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    A granola bar, or just a juice/milk/coffee. You could politely say you generally skip lunch.
    Quote Originally Posted by orbitz View Post
    It the interview is meant to be a lunch interview then I think you will leave the interviewer at an awkward position if you decline lunch.
    This would be very awkward. If a lunch interview, to be polite, you eat lunch.

    As others have recommended, pick something that won't cause you to get mess on your clothing or things stuck in your teeth, and which is easy to eat in front of polite company. Then eat it, so you don't make your interviewer feel like an ass, because he's 1) probably starving and 2) psyched to get lunch on the company's tab.

    For clues as to what to select, I often pay some attention to what my interviewer is getting. If he's getting only coffee and a roll, I'll also get something snack-like. If he's going for a sandwich, I'll pick something similar. If he's loading down his tray, I might order something hot.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Japanfan View Post
    You could politely say you generally skip lunch.
    This comes off as somewhat anti-social to me.

    I vote for a small salad, or a small sandwich.

  16. #16

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    I like the ideas for food that have been suggested, but part of a lunch interview IME is seeing the candidate's behaviour.

    So no matter what you eat, don't do things like
    - grabbing a bun out of the bread basket without offering it to others at the table first
    - talking while you're chewing
    - slurping your drinks
    - wolfing down your food like you've never eaten before and never will again
    - being rude or snotty to the waiter
    - ordering something $$$$ if everyone else is having something inexpensive
    - ordering a lot of extras on your meal (e.g. added ingredients, desserts, extra-size servings) unless you're specifically invited to
    - ordering an alcoholic drink (even if everyone else does)
    Last edited by overedge; 11-18-2011 at 08:27 PM. Reason: corrected typo
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  17. #17
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    I concur with the meatloaf (sans gravy) idea. Or a simple chicken cutlet type meal. Anything you can control with a knife and fork that isn't messy. I'm not comfortable with the idea of eating a sandwich with my hands in a business setting. I don't know why. Maybe it's an OCD thing.

  18. #18
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    An acquaintance swore that he always order chicken parmagiana. It was the only dish he could eat without mishaps.

    Oh and can someone enlighten me on how to properly eat penne? Do you spear it in the middle or do you slot it between the fork tines?

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by DustPuppyOI View Post
    An acquaintance swore that he always order chicken parmagiana. It was the only dish he could eat without mishaps.

    Oh and can someone enlighten me on how to properly eat penne? Do you spear it in the middle or do you slot it between the fork tines?
    I spear it, as does my hubby's Italian family.
    AceOn6, the golf loving skating fan

  20. #20
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    I had a lunchtime interview once where the interviewer ate lunch at his desk while conducting the interview, because he was running late that day with meetings. It was the most awkward situation. He offered me some chips and a water bottle, but his open-mouth chewing made me squeamish, so I declined. Couldn't wait to get out of there and never sent a thank you note.

    The guy might not invite you to lunch, it might be a quick check just to see if you have two heads, then pass you off to someone else, so don't go hungry.

    Have a small salad or something you can eat with a knife and fork. "Short" pasta dishes, like ziti or rigatoni, are okay, "long" pastas are a disaster. (Short and Long are my late MIL's terms.) Nothing hand-held or messy.

    Cream soup is a good idea, if it agrees with you. (I'm not that fortunate - travel with Lactaid pills for milk-based foods.) Never thought about cream soups controlling drips vs. broth-based soups. Good tip!

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