Before we go on this interesting ride, permit me to paint a scenario to you below:
You had gone for an interview, taking all of the time in this world to prepare, your CV was topnotch and you were very sure of success. However, when you entered the office and you were faced with your interviewer(s), they simply brought food to you, you were expected to eat as a part of the interview process.
Some people may find it hard to believe that this do happen during certain interviews but it is the gospel truth. Many Nigerian youths have lost potentially life changing opportunities just because they failed this ‘test’.
Kindly note that when you are being asked to eat during an interview, your potential employer could be looking for so many things but usually, chief amongst them is your social comportment and your ability to display your classy side when you’re in the public, representing your company.
Having stated that, let us now go to the required etiquettes you are expected to display when you are being interviewed over a meal. I’ll break it into three parts; before, during and after the meal. Now let’s do justice to it!
Before The Meal
1. You should make sure to turn off your phone. Receiving a call is a big ‘NO’. Also remember not to put your phone on the table.
2. It is equally important to keep your elbows off the table. It is expected of you to also keep your non-dominant hand in your lap unless you are using it.
3. When you are being introduced to others, make sure to stand.
4. Once you take your seat, gently remove the napkin from where it is placed, unfold it, and put it in your lap. Do not shake it open.
5. If your napkin falls to the ground, kindly ask the server or waiter for another one.
NB: The napkin must be on your lap until you finish eating. You must not clean the cutlery, wipe your face or use the napkin to wipe your nose!
During The Meal
1. Make sure to be well relaxed and maintain a confident posture while eating.
2. Do not start eating until your interviewer(s) is/are seated or ask you to start eating.
3. Do not talk when you have your mouth full with food.
4. Eat the food slowly and gently in order to avoid the funny sounds our mouths make when we sometimes eat. You can achieve this by chewing with your mouth closed.
5. If the food you’re served is too hot for you to eat, kindly wait until it cools. Under no circumstances must you blow on your food in order to cool it off.
6. Make sure to eat at least a little of everything you’re served. Even if you don’t like it, just take a bite and move on to the other things you fancy.
NB: Eat a large chunk of the food offered to you, not doing this might appear disrespectful to your interviewer(s).
7. If you are offered an alcoholic drink, kindly turn it down. This one could be especially tricky but it’s better you don’t embarrass yourself, so it’s advisable to politely turn down the offer.
After The Meal
1. When you are done eating, gently place the knife and fork on your plate at 4 o’clock.
2. Place the napkin on the right-hand side of the table.
3. No matter how much you are tempted to, do not use a toothpick or apply lipstick at the table.
4. Always be courteous to the waiters or servers. Remember that a simple ‘thank you’ would suffice.
5. Do not push your dishes away from you or stack them for the waiter when you are finished.
6. Thank your interviewer for the nice meal.
I hope you find this educative,
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