Meal Interview Do's and Don'ts

You may find yourself attending a breakfast, lunch, or dinner interview (or an "eating meeting") during your company-site visit. This is usually a good sign that you are under strong consideration. Following are some of the basic do's and don'ts:


  • Wait for your host to gesture the seating arrangement
  • Place your napkin in your lap as soon as you are seated
  • Remember everything your Mom taught you about table manners, then put them to good use
  • Order light; you are there to interview—eating is only the sideline distraction
  • Know what you are ordering; avoid exotic items
  • Chew and swallow before you speak; no airborne food particles, please
  • Be polite to waiters and waitresses, but not chatty
  • Keep your elbows off the table (your mother was right!)
  • Thank your host for the meal


  • Bring your briefcase; your writing portfolio is plenty
  • Open your menu until your host has done so first
  • Become lax in your presentation style; it is still an interview
  • Drink alcohol, even if your host offers
  • Be indecisive in ordering—make a decision and stick with it
  • Begin eating until everyone is served
  • Attempt to pay the bill or split the cost; it will be covered by your host
  • Smoke, even if your host does
  • Criticize the meal or the restaurant
  • Order a doggy bag