When thinking of the setting for an interview, most people imagine an office-like environment with the interviewer sitting in one chair, and the interviewee across from them in another.
This is usually the case; however, the scenery often differs for those who are top contenders for a position, as the employer wishes to test your social skills. This new environment will most likely be a restaurant, and you must be prepared to prove that you can succeed when it comes to business etiquette. These are steps you must take before, during, and after the meal.
Before the meal, it is important to make sure you know exactly where the restaurant is, the time you are expected to be there, and how you will recognize the person interviewing you. If you are not familiar with the restaurant, you may want to go there beforehand to look at the menu, decide what you will order, and make sure you pronounce the dish correctly. As far as clothes go, you will want to dress nicely (even if it is a casual restaurant), and make sure to turn off your cell phone. You should be well prepared for the interview through research of the company and practiced responses to intended questions.
Fortunately, dinner is not as aggressive as an office interview, as the interviewer has more time to get to know you than drilling you with rapid fire questions. During dinner, you want to make sure to focus on the interviewer at all times, avoid controversial conversations (religion, politics, etc.), and remain professional, relaxed and confident. For your meal, order something that is easy to eat, so that you have little chance of ending up with food all over your face or down your shirt. Finally, be polite to your waiters, because your employer will be observing your treatment toward them.
On the bright side, you will not have to pay for your meal, since it was the interviewer who invited you to the dinner. In a way, your payment is received through the nerves you had to fight off the whole night. It is important to thank them for the meal and make sure the last thing you say is about your interest in the job.
The last step you must take is to send them a thank you note for the dinner. This shows your appreciation and will once again remind them of your interest.
Image source: 123rf.com (women in restaurant)