An Uexpected Interview Question

Last month I was interviewed for a position with a very solid company.  The interview was conducted virtually and the company was represented by a panel of four.  Overall, the interview went very smoothly and was conducted in a very professional manner. 

I was asked several questions relating to my past performance and skills related to the position.  Then about mid-way through the interview I was asked this unusual and unanticipated question; “What is the most important thing you’ve accomplished outside of work?”

Before I reveal my answer, I’d like to take a closer look at this very interesting question.  While this question relates to my life outside the workplace and at first seems out of place, it was very crucial to the interview process in uncovering who I am and what I value in life.  It also served to reveal a dimension of myself that isn’t exposed during a typical interview.

While there was no right or wrong answer to this question, that’s not the point.  If an interviewer really wants to get to know the candidate, this question can reveal more in one response than a long list of typical interview questions. 

So, how did I answer this question?  I responded, “The most important thing I’ve accomplished outside of work is helping raise my children and grandchildren and caring for my family.”

Whether or not my response served to boost my chances of getting hired or totally took me out of the running I’ll never know, however, it has caused me to focus on what is really important in my life.  Sometimes we all need to step back and take a broader view of our lives and our priorities and I am truly thankful for this reminder.

So………….get out there and keep charging in your career, but never lose focus of what’s really important in your life!

Photo credit: PIXABAY


Interviewing the autistic job candidate

The modern job interview is a highly stressful and challenging event for every candidate, but it can be especially so for those who are neurodivergent (persons with autism, ASD, Asperger’s, or any variation of these conditions).

These candidates often deal with communication and sensory issues that make the job interview a very tenuous and intimidating event. There can be misunderstanding regarding interview questions and inability to read the interviewer’s body language. Additionally, overly broad questions such as, “tell me about yourself” can leave the autistic candidate bewildered; not knowing where to start in answering. In this situation the interviewer can help the candidate by narrowing the interview questions. A better question would be, “what do you like best about your current job?”

“Linked” interview questions such as, “what are your job expectations; how do you hope to achieve them; and where do you see yourself in five years?”, can put the candidate into a panic. Those are all good questions that the interviewer may want to have answered, but the response will be much better if the questions are unlinked and asked separately.

Autistic candidates may also be adversely affected by certain conditions in the interview room such as bright lighting, background noise, odors such as perfume, cologne, air fresheners, coffee, etc. These can all impact the ability of the candidate to effectively communicate with the interviewer.

To further understand how the interview process can impact the candidate with autism take a look at this video by Taylor Heaton “Mom on the Spectrum” who is autistic and explains, from her perspective, various aspects of her recent job interview.

As an interviewer, be aware of some of the signs that you are interviewing an autistic job candidate. Inability of the candidate to maintain eye contact, excessive “fidgeting” and long pauses before answering questions can all be telltale signs. Be prepared to make some concessions for this type of candidate and you will have a much more successful interview. 

So, why does this matter? It matters because autistic candidates may not excel in the interview but would be outstanding employees. They bring many highly sought-after qualities such as loyalty, focus, creativity and high intellect. In other words, they may become the best employees you’ve ever hired!

If you’d like to find out more about this topic, Bath University in the UK has developed a valuable guide for the interviewer who may be in the position to interview a neurodivergent candidate. You can view, and download it here.

So………….look forward to interviewing future candidates with autism as you may discover the best people around to advance your company or organization.

Photo: by TOWBAR


Did I tell you about my soft skills?

In preparing for a job interview we are usually focused on our education, experience and specific accomplishments. This is to be expected and is certainly the basis for a thorough preparation. There is another area, however, that is often overlooked or marginally considered, and that is our soft skills.

What are soft skills? Before we address that, let’s look at hard skills. Hard skills consist of measurable and testable metrics that are usually acquired through education, certification and licensure. These may include educational degrees, technical or organizational certifications or licenses in a particular trade or profession. Hard skills are certainly required for most professional positions and form the basis for much of the job interview. Questions such as where did you receive your degree, or how many MicroSoft certifications do you hold, or when did you receive your master plumbers license, or how many words a minute can you type, are all types of hard skill questions you may encounter.

While the ability to meet the hard skills required for a position are certainly important, the interviewer also needs to hear about your soft skills and how they make you the best candidate for the position in question. OK………what are soft skills and how does one obtain them? Soft skills include many personal attributes that are hard to measure or quantify but are invaluable to any organization. They include such things as punctuality, teamwork, integrity, persistence, sense of humor, optimism, friendliness, loyalty, helpfulness, courage and curiosity. This is not an all-inclusive list but I think you get the point.  Candidates with superlative soft skills bring great value to any organization and the astute interviewer will be looking for those skills. It may, however, be up to you to highlight your soft skills if you are dealing with an inexperienced interviewer who is sticking closely to a set of questions that typically focus on the hard skills.

As you answer questions relating to your hard skills, be sure and amplify your answers by introducing your soft skills into your response. For example, when you are discussing your educational degree be sure to explain how you persevered over several years while holding down a fulltime job. Or when asked about a technical certification, be sure to mention how you tutored several others to help them get certified also. Share with the interviewer how you took on a task at a former job that nobody else wanted and improved the entire organization.

Soft skills are the heart and soul of your professional self and are acquired over a lifetime of experiences. Always seek out new soft skills and continuously hone the ones you already have. Soft skills are also critically important to job seekers who are just joining the workforce or who have been out of work for a period of time. Your impressive soft skills can often make up for shortcomings as you improve your hard skills.

So………..don’t hesitate to highlight your soft skills during your next interview and make yourself the candidate of choice for that great job! 



The pop-up job interview

You’re on your way home after a hard day at work when you get a call from an unknown number. Is it someone trying to sell you life insurance for your cat? Is it your cousin Joey, calling to ask you for a another loan (on someone else’s phone)? Or, is it a recruiter who’s come across your resume and is looking for someone with your qualifications to fill a great position with a solid company? What are you going to do – answer or ignore?

If you have been job-hunting, or even casually exploring new opportunities, don’t be surprised if it’s a recruiter calling. With the economy heating up and companies on a hiring binge, recruiters are scrambling to find qualified candidates and this could be a golden opportunity for you! But, are you prepared for a pop-up interview?

Remember the old adage, “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression”? Well, the pop-up interview is just the sort of occasion where you need to make a great first impression, since the recruiter has several other potential candidates on their list, and will quickly move on to the next one if you don’t make a good impression.

Are you ready?………………….

The time to prepare for the pop-up interview is before you get that call. Carve out some time in the evening or on the weekend and sketch out exactly what you will say when you get the call. Try to anticipate the questions you’ll be asked and how you will respond. The recriter will want to know these things:

  • are you available?
  • when can you start?
  • are you open to relocation?
  • what are your current job responsibilities?
  • what salary are you looking for?
  • are you available for a follow-on interview?

There may be other questions relating to specific job qualifications and employer requirements but don’t be surprised if the call only lasts a few minutes. This is why you must be ready to respond and be able to clearly articulate your answers. The best way to be prepared is to practice answering the above questions before you get the call.

So…………..don’t fear the call from a recruiter now that you’re ready for the pop-up interview!



The preemptive strike

In military jargon, the preemptive strike refers to seizing the initiative and taking action against an opposing force, before they take action against you, to maximize your tactical or strategic advantage.

Let’s consider this tactic with regard to the job interview. We all have issues that may be perceived by the interviewer as questionable or outright detrimental, and the older we are the more issues we may accumulate. So, what is the best way to handle these issues; take the burden off the interviewer; and get the job?

First, we need to understand the interviewer’s concerns. They want to hire a candidate that will provide good value for the salary offered. In addition, the candidate must fit in with the culture at the organization and be “low maintenance” with regard to management. One thing that is always on the mind of the interviewer is how to ask probing questions without getting into legal trouble. Knowing this, the candidate can conduct a preemptive strike and take much of the pressure off the interviewer.

Before the interview, sit down and go over your resume (and your life) in great detail and look for issues that may present a problem for the interviewer.

  • Do you have several gaps in your employment history?
  • Did you have several short periods of employment (job hopping)?
  • Have you had significant health issues?
  • Are you a single parent raising young children?
  • Have you been incarcerated?
  • Have you had difficulties getting along with co-workers or managers?
  • Have you been out of the workforce for some reason?

None of these issues will necessarily keep you from getting hired, but the wise candidate will take the opportunity to openly discuss their issues during the interview before the interviewer develops concerns about them.

The preemptive strike may go something like this……“you may wonder why I have a five year gap in my employment history.  I was caring for an elderly parent, and now that my assistance is no longer needed, I am returning to work, with a new-found sense of care and compassion for others”.

So…………..don’t be afraid to do a preemptive strike during the interview.  It can put you in a good light and lead to a successful interview; followed by a job offer!







There is an interesting (and very unprofessional) practice showing up in the job interview arena lately; it’s called ghosting. The practice of ghosting has been around for a while. It has mostly been confined to the workplace where a worker, for whatever reason, decides to leave the job without notifying their employer or coworkers – they just disappear. This is where the term “ghosting” got its name.

Now we are seeing ghosting affecting the job interview process as well. After a candidate has applied for a job and has been screened and scheduled for an interview, they are just not showing up for the interview; and what’s worse, they are not notifying the interviewer beforehand. This is extremely rude and unprofessional for a number of reasons.

Not only does ghosting waste valuable time for the interviewer, but it could negatively impact the candidate if they ever want to apply for a job with that particular employer in the future. There is also the possibility that the interviewer will make their counterparts at other organizations aware of the ghost which could bring about an entirely new set of problems for the ghost!

The labor market is constantly in a state of flux, and while the unemployment rate is currently low and the consequences for ghosting seem minimal, this will not always be the case. Whether or not you know it, your professional reputation is very important, and once it’s tarnished it’s difficult to get it shining again. The adage “what goes around comes around” definitely applies here!

So………..even if you have a better employment opportunity and no longer want to interview for another position, do the right thing and notify the interviewer and thank them for their consideration. Don’t be a ghost!




Where do we go from here?

You’ve done your research, practiced your responses, put on your best interview outfit and bravely engaged with the interviewer. The interview has gone well to this point and you are feeling confident.  And of course you’ve asked probing and insightful questions!

One of the most important aspects of the interview, that the job seeker actually controls, relates to the questions that they ask the interviewer. Asking meaningful and relevant questions puts the job seeker in a very favorable light and shows their interest in both the job and the organization itself.

Asking questions is expected and the interview can even be steered by asking specific questions of the interviewer. At some point, however, the interview will be concluded.  The interviewer my be looking at their watch or giving other signs that the interview should end.  This is one of the most critical points in the entire interview.

Even if the interviewer fails to remember everything that has been said to this point they will react to your final question…………….”where do we go from here?”

By asking this key question the entire dynamic of the interview has shifted.  The job seeker has put themselves in a position of strength that the interviewer will instinctively respect and respond to.  It shows that the job seeker is focused, organized and looking toward the future.  It also helps tie up the interview in a positive and clear manner.  

The interviewer may share their future plans regarding filling the position (we have three more candidates to interview), but will also be obliged to give the job seeker some insight into when the position will be filled and when/if someone will follow up with the job seeker.

So……….even though the interviewer controls the majority of the interview, you can close with a powerful and and valuable question that will put you in a very favorble position to get the job!





I’m a Veteran – Give me a Job

It’s Veterans Day, and while I’m enjoying a day off from my job I’ve been thinking about a dilema many of us veterans face. We’ve spent years learning skills and excelling in the military and when it’s time to move on to our next career it’s often discouraging and confusing when entering the civilian workforce for the first time. Our country owes a great deal of gratitude to all our veterans for their sacrifice and service – but that doesn’t mean anyone owes us a job when we get out!

In many cases we’ll have to start at the bottom (or at least a lower rung) of the ladder again when entering the civilian workforce. We may need to learn an entirely new set of skills and re-establish a reputation of excellence within our new organization.

The good news is that even though we may be starting out on a lower rung of the ladder, veterans often rise quicker and further up the ladder than our civilian counterparts due to the skills learned in military service.

There is one area in which most of us are initially deficient however, and this relates to interviewing skills. Many of us have never had to interview for a job since Uncle Sam has directed our careers since we got out of school. The job interview, for many, is uncharted water and can seem to be foreign and frightening. Don’t be discouraged; draw upon the years of experience you’ve gained in the military. Your sense of commitment, courage, integrity, and tenacity will all stand you in good stead as you prepare for your your job interview.

You should view the job interview just as you viewed any major operation or assignment in the military; planning, organization and execution all come into play – you know how to do this!

Just as you trained and exercised in the military, you can do the same in preperation for your job interview. Do your research (intel), develop your strategy (planning) and rehearse the process (exercise).

There are many great sources of information out there that will give you an edge, such as:

Corporate Gray

Veterans Administration 

So………….just because you’re a veteran, doesn’t mean that anyone owes you a job, but you do have a truly priceless advantage going forward – your military service!






Interview phobia

We all have various fears from time to time in our lives (heights, spiders, sharks, strange places, clowns) so it’s to be expected that some of us will fear the job interview.

If you feel anxious about interviewing for a new job, either in-person or over the phone, you’re not alone. Many people suffer from various types of social anxiety disorders that can affect their willingness to be interviewed.  Don’t be discouraged and don’t stay in a job that doesn’t support your goals just because of fear.

Many fears can be overcome simply by self-determination and logical thought training.  Interviewing is a skill that can be learned and developed over time.  Many of us are uncomfortable in an interview setting but there are many things one can do to mitigate and overome the uncomfortableness (if that’s a word).

Here are some things to try as you go about conquering your fear of interviewing:

  • Take stock of your life to date and recount all the exciting and uplifting things you have accomplished; both personally and professionally.
  • Think back to a time when you were truly appreciated at work and use that as an encouragement for future growth and advancement.
  • Think of the job interview as an opportunity to meet new and interesting people who really want to get to know you too.
  • Update your resume and include all your recent accomplishments; to include recent training and education, volunteer work, awards and new skills you’ve developed.
  • Meet with a friend and discuss your future goals and dreams.
  • Seek out a mentor at work, church, in your family, or a friend that will encourage you and help you overcome your reluctance to seek that new job.
  • Envision your next job or position and experience how that will make you feel.
  • Practice-practice-practice your interviewing skills with a friend or mentor and get comfortable in that setting.

Many employers today are desperate to find new qualified and motivated employees.  The labor market is really tight right now and your chances for selection for that dream job haven’t been better in years.  In other words, the job candidate is in a very good position to land that next job and move up the career ladder.

So…………what are you waiting for?  Your next great job is out there and all you have to do is GO FOR IT!

photo: pixabay



Beware the pregnant pause

In today’s environment of legal protections during the job interview (no questions relating to age, religion, political affiliation, etc), the interviewer is at somewhat of a disadvantage in how deep their interview questioning can go. This can be both good and bad for the job candidate. On one hand, the candidate can maintain their privacy regarding topics and issues that may take them out of the running for the job; on the other hand, the employer will be limited in how much they can really get to know the candidate personally.

One tactic that the interviewer can use to gain additional (and sometimes illegal) information is the “pregnant pause”. This is when the interviewer intentionally remains silent for several seconds after the candidate answers a question. This pause can often cause the candidate to assume that their answer to the last question was insufficient and will automatically try to expand on what they’ve already shared with the interviewer. BEWARE! The extended answer can often venture into otherwise off-limits areas and cause the candidate to divulge information they’d rather keep under wraps.

Here’s a typical question the interviewer may pose……“I see from your resume that you graduated from Slippery Shoe University, is that correct?” This is a legitimate question as it relates to the candidate’s educational qualifications. The candidate responds in the affirmative. Here’s where the pregnant pause comes in……….The interviewer doesn’t say anything, leaving an extended period of silence, which is intended to make the candidate uncomfortable. This discomfort will often lead the candidate to divulge additional information such as, “I graduated in 1987, with only a C average, because my duties at the fraternity took so much time from my studies. I was the party coordinator and very involved with making sure the university didn’t find out about our unauthorized parties.”

See what just happened? Without even asking, the interviewer obtained some additional information from the candidate that could reflect adversely on the interview!

While not every pause in the conversation is an attempt to pry additional information out of the candidate, it is a tactic to be aware of and to respond to appropriately. If you absolutely can’t bear a period of silence, you can fill the pause with a question of your own, such as “what does a typical day in this position look like?”

So…….. be ready for the pregnant pause and don’t be tempted to reveal something you’d rather keep to yourself (at least until after you are hired)!

photo: pixabay



It’s a fifty-fifty proposition

One of the often-debated aspects of successful job interviewing is how much should a job candidate talk and how much they should listen. A job interview is an opportunity for a perspective employer to get to know the candidate and what attributes the candidate would bring to the hiring organization. At the same time, the interview provides an opportunity for the candidate to learn more about the organization and the specific requirements of the position for which they are applying.

A candidate that dominates the conversation with long and rambling responses to the interviewer’s questions may be seen as self-centered and insensitive to others. This type of candidate may also be viewed as unwilling to listen to guidance and as a “know-it-all”. These are not attributes that most employers are seeking. Candidates displaying this type of behavior will not be viewed as team players or as someone willing to fit into the new organization.

On the other hand, a candidate that responds to the interviewer’s questions with one-word answers may be viewed as disengaged and not really serious about being hired. By not engaging the interviewer and joining in the conversation, this type of candidate may be viewed as trying to hide something or being less than fully truthful in their responses.

Either one of the above candidates will have a hard time convincing the interviewer that they will be a stellar employee.

Most interviewers will give the benefit of the doubt to candidates who talk too much or too little and they understand that nerves and emotions can influence behavior during the interview. It’s a stressful and challenging event, and candidates are not always as calm and collected as they’d like to be.

Candidates can help themselves by adhering to a simple speaking and listening ratio of 50:50. This ratio will keep the candidate within reasonable bounds during the discussions and help them avoid either extreme.

So, if you tend to be long-winded or overly shy, help yourself out at your next interview and go 50:50 with your interviewer!

Photo: pixabay




Sorry, but you’re overqualified

Many of us have heard these disappointing words at the end of an otherwise outstanding interview. After finding a position we’d be perfectly suited for, and qualified for, and knocking the interview out of the park, we are expecting to move into the compensation discussion phase only to be told we are overqualified and shown the door.

There are several reasons why you might be deemed overqualified by a perspective employer and not all of the reasons are legitimate. 

  • You may have more experience than your supervisor (this raises a concern that you may be a threat to your supervisor)
  • You may be much older than you supervisor (of course it’s illegal to discriminate due to age, so you are told you are overqualified)
  • You may want too much compensation (the employer doesn’t want to be perceived as cheap, so you are told you are overqualified)
  • The job description may not have been accurately written and the level of experience is not in line with what the employer is seeking
  • You may actually have too much experience for the position!

Whatever the case, you won’t be offered the job, so it’s best to be gracious and move on.  Besides, do you really want to work for an employer that doesn’t value your experience and isn’t willing to compensate you appropriately?

So, what do you do?  It’s time to take stock of the level and types of positions you are applying for and determine if you are, in fact, overqualified!  You may actually be selling yourself short and you may find that applying for more senior positions will suite you better and be a better fit for your level of experience.

Finding the “sweet spot” of experience and qualifications can be a bit tricky but once you have figured it out and start applying for the appropriate positions, the job offers will come and you will be glad you didn’t accept that position for which you were overqualified!

photo: pixabay


Remove the Distractions

About ten years ago, I interviewed a talented network administrator for an overseas IT position.  He was cleancut and articulate and fully qualified to fill the position – so I hired him.  After he’d been deployed for a number of months, he returned to the States for R&R and some additional training.  Much to my surprise, he was fully decked out with multiple facial adornments (rings/piercings/studs/and other various attachments).  I later came to discover that his nickname was “fishhook” which accurately discribed his facial appearance!

Would I have hired him if he’d worn all his attachments during the interview?  Maybe; but they would have been a significant distraction during the discussion and could have caused me to pass up an otherwise fully qualified and competent candidate.

The point here is, that it is usually best to remove any distractions from the mix during your interview.  This could include things such as:

  • an overabundance of jewelery
  • exposure of significant tatooing
  • outlandish haircuts
  • exagerated facial hair styles
  • outlandish hair color
  • dramatic makeup
  • clothing advocating a particular cause/sports team/political preference/religious persuasion
  • facial piercings

While there is nothing wrong with most of these things, and most are allowed in the modern workplace, they can become a distraction during the interview and could trigger an adverse bias on the part of the interviewer.  You want the interviewer to concentrate on what you are saying and not focusing exclusively on your appearance.  It’s best to hold off on expressing your individual grooming style and adornment preferences until after you’ve been hired.  While dress, grooming and personal adornment standards have been greatly expanded (relaxed) over the past decade, the person that will be interviewing you may be from an older generation and not fully embrace the new norm in personal grooming and expression.

So, if you want the job, it may be wise to come to the interview with a conventional and non-distracting appearance and reserve expressing your creative side until after you’ve actually started your new job!


photo: pixabay



So, you’ve been out of the workforce for a year or more.  You’d decided to retire, but are now having second thoughts.  How do you go about reopening the door to employment that you’d closed in the past?

There are many reasons to leave the workforce on your terms, and actually retiring is a commendable accomplishment after many decades of grinding away in the workforce.

There are also many reasons to rejoin the workforce after a period of retirement.  Some of these reasons may include:

  • Boredom
  • Financial need
  • Desire to pursue a new career path
  • Need for social interaction

If you intend to rejoin the workforce after a period of inactivity, there are several things you will need to do to.  In addition to updating your resume and references, you will want to re-energize your professional network and get the word out that you are looking for work again.  This task should not be ignored since it’s estimated that over 80% of job-seekers get a job through someone they know.  If, however, many of your professional colleagues have also left the workforce, you’ll need to expand your network through new connections.  Try to include younger friends and others that you have met during your period of retirement.  Don’t overlook those in the community that have broad exposure (teachers, bankers, business owners, realtors, civil officials).

Get ready for job interviews by preparing your response to certain questions that are unique to your situation, such as:

“I see you’ve been out of work for the past year, why have you decided to go back to work?”

“If I hire you, how will I know that you won’t decide to re-retire in a few months?”

You will have your own unique reason (or reasons) for returning to work, but be sure you can articulate your reasons in a way that is both truthful and compelling, so that you will be taken seriously and given prime consideration for the job.  Be able to clearly convey your desire to go back to work and exactly what valuable capabilities you will bring to the organization.

Enlist the help of friends and family, and practice your response to various questions you may face during the interview; especially if it’s been a while since you have interviewed for a job.

So, if retirement isn’t your cup of tea, go ahead and take the plunge back into the workforce and apply your considerable experience and talent to the growing economy!




What is your kryptonite?

An interview question that seems to be popping up more frequently these days is, “what is your kryptonite?

This can be a tricky question, since it not only requires the candidate to know what kryptonite is and what it does, but how it would relate to their behavior!  For those devout Superman fans, the knowledge of kryptonite is universal.  Kryptonite is a green crystallin substance that was formed through the explosion of the planet Krypton (Superman’s home planet).  Exposure to kryptonite takes away Superman’s powers and can even be lethal to him.  Bad guys have used kryptonite over the years to weaken and attack Superman.

When you hear this question in an interview, the interviewer is asking you what takes away your power or tends to make you weak or ineffective.  It is a question that is similar to the old standby “what is your greatest weakness?”, but with a unique twist.  Since kryptonite exerts an external force, you will need to address what external influences tend to take away your power.

The dilemma for the candidate is how to answer the question without revealing a fatal personal flaw.  We all have weaknesses or areas in which we don’t always perform at our best, so understanding this and having a truthful answer prepared will help the candidate answer this question with ease.

So, what are some typical forms of “kryptonite” that may affect you?

  • A noisy or chaotic workplace
  • Co-workers that don’t pull their load
  • Unclear expectations or guidance
  • Lack of organizational vision and goals

Notice that these are all external factors that not only affect the candidate, but can also reflect adversely on the organization itself.  This can put the interviewer in a unique (or even uncomfortable) position and give the candidate an upper hand, by deflecting the question back toward the organization.  Most interviewers will try to assure the candidate that “they will not experience any of those conditions in their organization” and quickly move on to the next question!

If, however, you happen to strike a nerve with the interviewer, who then becomes defensive about your answer, you need to see this as a red flag.  It could be that “your kryptonite” is actually embedded there already, and this may not be the place for you at all.

So……….the next time you are asked about your kryptonite, you will be impervious to its effects and ready to ace your interview!



Let’s do lunch

The lunch interview can either be lots of fun or very unsettling depending on your level of preparation.  This specialized form of the job interview is often used as a final exam for the candidate and can include several people from the organization you are hoping to join.

If you’ve been through one or more prior interviews, the employer may invite you to a lunch interview to put you in a different environment in order to discover another side of your personality and see how you interact in a more social environment.

This is where your personality and people skills really come into play, and how you handle yourself in this setting can seal (or spoil) the deal.

Let’s look at some things to do in preperation for your lunch interview:

  • Brush up on your table ettiquete – you know, the things your mother taught you, like keeping your elbows off the table, putting your napkin in your lap, etc.  Never heard these pointers before? better get a book on table manners and read it cover-to-cover!
  • Read the morning news – you will want to be prepared to discuss current events during the meal and show that you are interested in what’s going on int he world.  If you’ve had previous interview sessions with the person you’ll be having lunch with you should already know some of the issues or causes they are interested in and what sports or hobbies they follow.
  • Find out what specialty the restaurant is known for and order it.

Now…………some things to do during the meal:

  • Turn off your phone before the meal.
  • Remember the name of your waiter/waitress and address them using their name.
  • Do not order an alcoholic drink, even if your interviewer does. Alcohol can cloud your thinking and cause you to babble on about things; or worse, cause you to do or say something you will regret later!
  • Be kind and appreciative regarding the waiter/waitress – how you treat them will make a lasting impression on the interviewer.
  • Be ready to continue discussions from previous interview sessions.
  • Have a couple of probing questions ready, based on previous discussions.
  • Don’t overeat, as if this is the first solid meal you’ve had all week (even if it is).  Glutony is not a favorable attribute!
  • Complement the interviewer on their choice of restaurants and how great the food was.
  • Do not offer to pay – the meal is on the interviewer – but do thank them for the enjoyable meal and interesting discussion.

As in every interview, you are being graded, so…………. don’t let your guard down and don’t lose sight of your goal – landing the job!  Enjoy the meal and the discussion and reiterate you desire to work for the employer.




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