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Don't Eat Your Way Out of an Entry-Level Job Interview

Don't Eat Your Way Out of an Entry-Level Job Interview

Photo courtesy of Frank_BB via Creative Commons

Jackie Loohauis-Bennet | Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

September 24, 2009

The biggest obstacle to getting a new job may be the plate of spaghetti that falls on your lap.

Even in these days of shrinking expense accounts, prospective employers often take job candidates out to eat as a step in the interview process.

The breakfast/lunch/dinner interview makes sense for employers for several reasons, says Jill Zoromski, senior vice president and director of human resources for Associated Bank in Milwaukee.

“Employers will use a lunch interview as an informal get-to-know- you with a group of peers,” she says. “Or there will be a panel of people who are deciders, and they’ll slot you into lunch because that’s most convenient for all of them. And a lunch lets the decider get a feel for your chemistry. They’ve already decided your background makes you a good candidate, and it’s a last hurdle.”

So how do you chow down and make a great impression at the same time? Here are some tips from job-search experts you can use to get through that lunch or dinner interview with a job, not a bellyache.

It’s not about eating. It’s a job interview

Forgetting what the meal is really about is the most common mistake people make, says Alison Doyle, About.com guide to job searching.

“People have a tendency to relax and be more casual than they are in a formal job interview,” she says. “It’s important to remember that regardless of the venue, it is a job interview, and you shouldn’t let your guard down and share more personal information than you would in another setting.”

Next Page: 8 Tips for Making a Good Impression at a Meal →