This isn’t your typical interview process. Instead of two people sitting across from each other, with a desk or conference table in between them, this one includes food.
Recruiters and companies often use dinnerviews when vetting job candidates, sometimes having dinner with many prospective employees at once. In order to look classy and composed, here are some dining tips to remember when it comes to participating in a dinnerview.
1. Napkin Goes on the Lap
Sometimes, the waiter may even drape it over your lap for you. However, you don’t have to wait for them to do it (especially if they don’t do it). Just drape the napkin yourself.
2. Drink from Glass on Right
Your bread and salad should be on the left. If someone tries to take your drink on the right, quietly tell them that’s yours.
3. Use Alcohol Sparingly
If the employer doesn’t order an alcoholic beverage, then you shouldn’t either. If alcohol is offered, get a glass of wine and sip it slowly. You want to make sure you know how much you can handle and don’t end up reliving your craziest college days by streaking the restaurant.
4. Use Silverware from the Outside In
When salad is served, this means you start with the outside fork. For entrée, the middle fork. For dessert, the fork after that. You also typically get two spoons (the big one for soup, the small one possible for a particular portion of the meal).
5. Wait Until Everyone is Served
Before you take a sip or bite, make sure everyone has their meals first. And once everyone starts to eat, follow the flow and pace of the group, whether it’s just you and the prospective employer, or you, the employer, and other candidates/colleagues. Don’t take huge bites, as you want to be able to respond to questions in a timely fashion.
6. Use Fingers for Particular Foods
Bread most definitely requires fingers, no knives. But remember to break off a little piece to eat instead of just stuffing the entire roll in your mouth. Other finger foods include artichokes, olives, pickles, nuts, and deviled eggs (cocktail party foods).
7. Don’t Order the Most Exotic Entrée on the Menu
Sure, you’ll look cool at first, but if you hate it, you’re stuck with it. Try to be a little bit safer with your entrée selection, so you’ll at least get past the first bite.
8. Tone Down Your Distaste for a Meal
If you’re dissatisfied with an aspect of your meal, don’t make it known to the prospective employer. One, you’ll look like a snob, and two, you’re not actually there for the food. The employer is considering other matters rather than how well your steak was cooked.
9. Fork and Knife at 4 O’Clock
When you’re done with your meal, imagine your plate to be a clock, and gently place your utensils at this “time.”
10. Don’t Take Leftovers Home Unless Others Do
If you’re at a fancy restaurant, generally the rule is not to take leftovers home. However, if others are boxing up what they couldn’t finish, then you can, too.
The Bottom Line
The best advice for dinnerviews is to just go with the flow. If the employer orders coffee after dinner, feel free to partake. No coffee for him, then no coffee for you. Finally, remember to thank the prospective employer and to send a follow-up note, thanking him or her for the dinner.