Last updated on July 25th, 2014 at 02:28 pm
Most of you will be familiar with the drill for a traditional, on site, suited and booted, face to face interview. There are are rules to be followed; you turn up smart, answer the questions well and you walk a pretty narrow line.
Employers know that your guard is up during these formal interviews which is why you’ll find that some employers will also have an informal lunch/dinner interview, so they can observe you in a relaxed setting and see who the person behind the mask is. In fact, studies, such as this one from the Kellogg Business School show that that many employers value personality and culture fit as much as technical fit.
So, having a lunch interview doesn’t mean you are home and hosed and you still need to bring your A-Game to make sure you land the job. And there are several pointers to help you ace your lunch interview.
Mirror their dress. Observe the employer’s dress code during formal interviews and try and closely mirror their dress code and lunch interview so you look like an employee. It will help to build rapport.
Research your interviewer’s in advance to understand their management and working philosophies, preferred methods and techniques, hobbies and interests so you have plenty of conversational points.
Show that you are one of them. At appropriate opportunities, highlight the similarities you share with the employer in terms of management style, systems design, working style, interests etc… so they can visualize you fitting in. Mirror their body language.
Avoid alcohol or at least severely limit it. As a rule it is best to avoid alcohol and stick with coffee or tea. In a dinner setting, you might have a glass of wine with the meal if this will help build a sense of camaraderie.
Good luck at your lunch interview; you’ll probably never look at them the same way again!
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