Wrong Fork, No Job? 10 Tips to Help You Through a Business Meal

An interview over a meal can be a minefield. You need to keep on target and project a professional image as on any interview but you also need to watch your manners. Here is a quick review of some items to remember during your business meal.

1. Remember to confirm your appointment.

2. After being seated, place your articles under your chair and put your napkin on your lap.

3. If you leave the table during the meal, do so between courses and leave your napkin on your seat.

4. Come with questions and topics of conversations in mind.

5. Allow your host to bring up business. Usually, this is after the orders have been placed and the serving of the main course.

6. Turn off your cell phone, computers etc.

7. Pace yourself with your host. You don’t want to be the first one finished or lag too far behind.

8. At the end of the mean, fold your napkin to conceal any stains and place it to the left of your place setting.

9. Avoid ordering anything messy or hard to eat.

10. If your host is having an alcoholic beverage, feel free to order one also. Just limit yourself to one.

As Oscar Wilde once said: “The world was my oyster, till I used the wrong fork.”


1 Comment

  1. KL Harris on June 8, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Great reminders! Dining etiquette, and soft skills in general, matters more than most hard skills people realize.

    Please note, leaving the table between courses is not the best strategy. When the next course arrives, etiquette dictates the group wait until you return to begin. Best to go just after a course has been served and you’ve enjoyed a taste or two. That way, only your food gets cold. This may leave a single interviewer eating alone a moment or two, however, that’s better than the alternative.

    Thanks for posting!