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Lunch Interviews, Dinners, and Retreats

Basic Etiquette

Here are some useful etiquette tips for your meal interviews:

  1. After sitting down, place the napkin on your lap or allow the server to place it for you.
  2. Your bread and salad plates are always on your left, and your drinking glass is on your right. Utensils start from the outside in, and the dessert fork is by the dessert plate. Placing your fork and knife side by side across your plate signals to your server that you are finished.
  3. Order easy-to-eat items. There is no graceful way to eat barbequed ribs. If you order a fish, you may want to make sure it does not have any bones. Stay away from soups if you tend to slurp.
  4. Never ask the server to customize your order.
  5. Pass bread, appetizers, and other items to the person on your right.
  6. Do not reach for something across the table. Always ask the person nearest you to pass it.
  7. If someone asks you to pass the salt, pass both salt and pepper.
  8. If soup is served, hold the spoon away from you to help stop the drips. Sip from the side of the spoon and do so quietly. To get the last little bit of soup, tilt the bowl away from you. When you are finished, leave the spoon in the bowl.
  9. When someone passes you the butter, cut a small piece, place it on your bread plate, and pass the butter to the person on your right. Tear off a small piece of bread to butter.
  10. Always thank your companions for the meal, even though the firm is paying.
  11. Additionally, remember to thank your interviewers for their time. They are spending precious, otherwise-billable time to take you out and tell you about the firm. Do not assume they are there because they have nothing better to do, or because they want a free meal. Eating takeout while billing time allows them to go home early, and it surely beats having a two-hour lunch with a stranger. To them, this is a time commitment, not a treat.

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesLaw Job InterviewsLunch Interviews, Dinners, and Retreats - Act Professional, Never Let Your Guard Down, What To Order?, Table Manners, Basic Etiquette