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Old 11-24-2015, 02:45 PM
 
1,115 posts, read 1,995,926 times
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One of my previous companies did this. They had an asinine reason, but here it is... They said it allows them to see how the candidate acts in personal settings and what their real personality is once they get some food and drink in them, (yes they encourage the candidate to drink - the company picks up the bill). I say its all bull****, especially for more introverted people, but its all part of this "they have to fit our CULTURE" thing currently trending.
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Old 11-24-2015, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Erie, PA
2,865 posts, read 1,258,732 times
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I work in HR and have mixed feelings on lunch interviews. I'm not in an industry that does them frequently, but I have worked at one particular company that seemed inordinately fond of the lunch interview.

Some companies do them right. A lunch interview should be conducted professionally but should be less formal and also will include a couple of people other than just the hiring manager. The interviewers also should not bombard the candidate with questions, so that s/he has time to actually eat. I also make sure that the restaurant we take the candidate to has a large selection of choices--you never know if the candidate has food allergies, dietary preferences, religious dietary restrictions, health restrictions, etc. I don't like a large crowd at lunch interviews, so try to limit it to 4 people at the maximum.

In some cases, the hiring manager/HR manager can judge the candidate during the lunch interview. The lunch interview is not the time to have sloppy table manners, complain about the food/service, or whine about the restaurant choice. I can overlook some of this personally since I know people get nervous, but I can't overlook being rude to the waitstaff. If you are rude to them...how are you going to be at work with people who you perceive to be in 'lesser' positions?

The lunch interview is also mostly about "fit" and yup--pretty much a popularity contest. Sorry to put it bluntly like that but I guess I've spent too much time in unionized factories to be subtle. The group is basically gauging how likeable you are and how well that you are going to blend in with the team--how compatible is your personality with the rest of the group.
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Old 11-24-2015, 07:29 PM
 
1,040 posts, read 890,969 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jowel View Post
Did you end up working there? If not, they may have been doing you a huge favor by giving you a glimpse into what you'd be dealing with. And just think, if they acted that snarky during the interview, where everyone is supposed to be on their best behavior, just imagine how they'd be once their true colors really started to show. Yikes! And by the way, that doesn't sound like such a huge meal for someone who had been traveling and was tired and a little jet lagged.
Yeah, I had a hotel with no food, and I had no transportation to go out and get any. I had arrived late the night before and they were picking me up early. It was really weird to even think I was overeating.

There were a few other really awkward exchanges later in the day.

I did get offered the job, but I ended up declining the offer for several reasons. I don't regret it.
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Old 11-25-2015, 07:11 AM
 
149 posts, read 262,980 times
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To kind of take this topic in a different direction, I recently got a call back for an in-person interview at a public university in a couple of weeks. The interview will be all day (8am-5pm), so I'm assuming there will be lunch involved somewhere. However, after I accepted the invite, I was told that the head of the search committee would like to meet with me for dinner the night BEFORE as well.

Has anyone had TWO interview meals over the course of an interview? Any recommendations for what to do/say? How do you come up with enough to talk about over 2 meals with complete strangers? I feel like I'm going to learn more about my interviewers than I know about some of my friends by the time I'm done.

This is even more nerve-wracking for me as I'm more of an introvert and enjoy listening to other's in a conversation as opposed to doing all the talking.
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Old 11-25-2015, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
8,967 posts, read 8,406,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NovaDragon View Post
To kind of take this topic in a different direction, I recently got a call back for an in-person interview at a public university in a couple of weeks. The interview will be all day (8am-5pm), so I'm assuming there will be lunch involved somewhere. However, after I accepted the invite, I was told that the head of the search committee would like to meet with me for dinner the night BEFORE as well.

Has anyone had TWO interview meals over the course of an interview? Any recommendations for what to do/say? How do you come up with enough to talk about over 2 meals with complete strangers? I feel like I'm going to learn more about my interviewers than I know about some of my friends by the time I'm done.

This is even more nerve-wracking for me as I'm more of an introvert and enjoy listening to other's in a conversation as opposed to doing all the talking.
This is pretty typical for academic hiring. I have done as many as 5 meals with various people over the course of 3 days.

Contrary to most people on this thread, I don't mind interview meals. Relax, order what you want, order alcohol only if it is specifically approved by the host and s/he orders it first. It isn't much different from going out on a date. Use common sense in your food choices, so you want to avoid splashy foods like spaghetti, and garlic wouldn't be wise either.

This is a good opportunity to ask questions about the area. Housing; social events; entertainment; shopping; weather. You can chat a bit about the interviewers, how long they have worked there, how the dept interacts with the rest of the university.

Small talk is also acceptable. How was the flight, the hotel, weather back home, hobbies.

Think of one or two cheerful anecdotes to tell that people might find amusing. Do you have a silly cat story? An unusual travel experience?

Yes, you are being judged are your social skills, but unless you do something horrible, it isn't going to veto your job prospects. The interviewers want to make sure that you aren't weird, that you don't casually drop racist thoughts when you are relaxed, and you can conduct yourself with a minimum of social grace.
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Old 11-25-2015, 09:58 AM
 
149 posts, read 262,980 times
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Appreciate the advice fishbrains (I feel like I'm insulting you, but I'm not, I swear ). Yeah, I've done a couple all-day interviews but the multi-day ones are new to me.
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Old 11-25-2015, 11:15 AM
 
930 posts, read 537,775 times
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Not to mention it's extremely difficult to eat and discuss business at the same time. I was taken out to lunch by my current manager during my interview with him and I just remember not really having an opportunity to eat. I was pretty famished at that point, after five hours of intense interview sessions.
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Old 11-25-2015, 09:41 PM
 
Location: Buckeye, AZ
27,326 posts, read 15,780,516 times
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I hate it when it is set meals for interviews or luncheons only because of the obvious issue of food allergies and what items are in food for set meals (which often happens for these.) Say for me, I can't do salad except for spinach salads (even still I am not entirely fond of those) because I never ate lettuce as a kid due to mold allergies so it's a texture issue as well as a taste. I also can't do anything mushroom as mushrooms don't agree with me whatsoever. This maybe a bit off-topic but I don't know why in the day of special diets and food allergies we do this.

That said, another issue I see is the awkward timing of knowing when we should eat or answer questions and if it is too late to respond. As we all know, it is rude to talk with our mouth full and that we can choke from talking right after chewing so it can be an issue sometimes.
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Old 11-26-2015, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Western Washington
8,967 posts, read 8,406,922 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Analyst View Post
Not to mention it's extremely difficult to eat and discuss business at the same time. I was taken out to lunch by my current manager during my interview with him and I just remember not really having an opportunity to eat. I was pretty famished at that point, after five hours of intense interview sessions.
It's not that difficult. There are ebbs and flows in the conversation, eat during the lulls. Eat when the people with you are eating.

Topics of conversation at lunch are different too. I would not set up a lunch meeting to discuss something detailed and technical. I would set up a lunch meeting to discuss big picture planning though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkpunk View Post
I hate it when it is set meals for interviews or luncheons only because of the obvious issue of food allergies and what items are in food for set meals (which often happens for these.) Say for me, I can't do salad except for spinach salads (even still I am not entirely fond of those) because I never ate lettuce as a kid due to mold allergies so it's a texture issue as well as a taste. I also can't do anything mushroom as mushrooms don't agree with me whatsoever. This maybe a bit off-topic but I don't know why in the day of special diets and food allergies we do this.
Interview meals don't usually have set meals. With one exception, every interview meal that I have done has been at a restaurant where one has had the full choice of menu selections. Conference meals, on the other hand, are generally set menus with all if the disadvantages you note. I have graciously eaten more mushrooms at conferences than I care to think about, although I can't stand the damn things.

Quote:
That said, another issue I see is the awkward timing of knowing when we should eat or answer questions and if it is too late to respond. As we all know, it is rude to talk with our mouth full and that we can choke from talking right after chewing so it can be an issue sometimes.
This is partly what the interview meal is about. Do you have the social skills to navigate such situations? Or do you sit at the table and single mindedly wolf down your meal to the exclusion of others?
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Old 11-26-2015, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Buckeye, AZ
27,326 posts, read 15,780,516 times
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The point I made is there is a simple difference between food you just don't want to eat and foods that you can't eat because they will make you sick due to your diet, things you are allergic to or things you eat and instantly don't agree with you.
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