April 3, 2019

Three tips to nail that job interview over a fancy lunch or dinner

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Job interviews over lunch or dinner in a swanky restaurant might shock a soon-to-be college graduate more accustomed to guzzling junk food and ramen noodles.

But society’s next class of politicians, diplomats, CEOs and philanthropists must show a refined palate and exceptional manners to land their dream job, says Anthony Cawdron, an instructor in Purdue University’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and an expert on business etiquette.

Beyond simply chewing with your mouth closed or keeping your elbows off the table,  Cawdron, events manager at Westwood, the residence of Purdue presidents, offered these three tips to nail a job interview over a meal:

* You are what you eat: “Make wise choices from a menu because it’s likely they’ll say, ‘Have whatever you like,’ but that’s not really what they mean. Have something within reason, something you can eat nicely, and if you order something just to try and show off, it’s going to backfire on you. Don’t order the most expensive thing.”

* You’re being watched: “Though it seems social, it may be listed as casual, it may not be listed as part of the day’s activities, I guarantee people are watching, making decisions on whether you can carry a conversation, whether you say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you,’ whether you smile, whether you’re polite to the server.”

* Be polite to everyone around you: “How you treat the server at a restaurant can make the difference as to whether you get through the interview. You may be brilliant, but you’ve got to deal with people who are at all levels of the business hierarchy. I use the example of the TV show ‘Undercover Boss’: You have no idea whether the server is actually the CEO of the company.” 

Writer: Joseph Paul, 765-494-9541, paul102@purdue.edu

Source: Anthony Cawdron, 765-496-7805, apcawdron@purdue.edu

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