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How to handle lunch-time interviews

24 October 2015, 09:12 Biko Rading

An interview is a place to display your talent by exaggerating yourself. Preparing for interviews mostly means refreshing technical knowledge, finding ways to relieve stress and selecting professional attire. What if you are scheduled for a lunch interview?

Yeah we are familiar with MORNING and AFTERNOON interviews but what happens when that phone rings or that e-mail got replied and they say you have an interview at 1:00 p.m/1300 hours?

Interviews are generally places where you cannot concentrate easily. If it is a situation where you have to answer questions during lunch, it definitely needs preparation.

According Paul Ouma, an independent career expert and lecturer at Strathmore Business School, lunch interviews are opportunities, which interviewers use to explore the personality of the individual.

To be more specific, the social personality of a candidate. Lunch interview is not the most common type of interviewing. It is used to interview probable candidates for top management.

Lunch interviews arranged by the company need less preparation, whereas if you hunt for a job and arrange a lunch meeting, it needs quite a lot of preparation.

Here are some of the skills that Paul Ouma suggests one should use in order to win the employer trust:

The opportunity
Lunch interviews have their own advantages and disadvantages. Many people feel uncomfortable talking during lunch. If you are such a person trying to arrange for a lunch meeting, avoid it.

Take this option only if you are comfortable. If the company has arranged for it and you are not comfortable, then prepare to appear comfortable.

If you are a fast food kind of a person and not used to table manners, it is suggested that you learn them at your earliest.

Read Also: How to avoid career suicide

The Restaurant

In case you are arranging the lunch meeting, select a proper restaurant. As this is going to be a talk, which involves the use of a printed resume, notebook to write information and possibly a laptop to show some information to the recruiter; select a calm, less crowded, bright place with tables that can fit the aforementioned things along with food.

The menu

Make sure the items in the menu are not too costly and also not very inexpensive. Choose a restaurant with a reasonably priced menu, with food items that will not disturb your talk.

Some foods are very crunchy. The crunchy sound could spoil the mood of the recruiter. Avoid saucy foods.


A lunch interview is no different from any formal interview. So make sure you are perfectly dressed.

The interviewer will like to look at your social personality. Ensure professional looking hairstyle; avoid hair colors, hide tattoos and piercings. Do not use a strong perfume.

Things to take with you

Items to be taken for a lunch interview include a printed copy of your resume, a notebook to write down anything required and a briefcase to keep these things. A laptop may be required to show a demo of your projects to the interviewer. Take 2-3 printed copies of your resume. Make sure you have a professional looking pen.


If you are not used to such situations, stress can be the tack on your racing track. Once stuck to you, it will spoil the race.

Learn ways to manage stress during an interview. Rehearse talking to your friends or family on the topic to be discussed. A mock test would be very helpful at this juncture.

The Bill

The interviewer will pay the bill if the company has arranged the interview. In case you have arranged the interview, make sure you pay the bill. Remember to adhere to table manners throughout the conversation.

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- MyNews24

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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