You finger the collar of your brand new outfit nervously. Beads of sweat glisten intensely on your forehead. Is the temperature inside the restaurant really this hot? You try to catch a reflection of your hair in the stainless steel knife on the table. Was it a bad idea to get a haircut right before the meeting?
Tick. Tick. Tick. Are you early or is the interviewer late? Oh, wait - they’re coming. You get up as gracefully as possible to respectfully greet the CEO who could potentially offer you a dream job. This dinner could legitimately make or break you.
No need to be so nervous, says NYU Abu Dhabi’s Career Development Center, which prepares students for these types of mealtime interview scenarios, whether for an internship or full-time job after graduation. To successfully navigate a meal or even coffee with a potential employer, remember these 10 important tips:
1. It’s not about the food. This dinner is about you convincing the person across from you that you’re professionally capable and a good fit for the company. That's not easy with a mouth full of food or stubborn shred of spinach stuck between your teeth.
2. Choose your food wisely. Order items that are familiar and easy to eat, like a salad. It may seem uncomely if you badger the server about what’s in each dish. If you don’t know what’s in it, don’t order it.
3. Always abide by the golden rule of ordering food only after your host. In doing so, you can gauge the price limit that you must adhere to. It could be embarrassing to order lobster while the interviewer goes with a simple salad.
4. Take pre-emptive measures and inform the restaurant about any allergies, if possible.