Etiquette 101: Getting Hired Over Lunch.

An instant career killer that may cost you a paycheck?  Inappropriate behaviors that may be deal-breakers during a job interview over lunch.

In a highly competitive job market many job seekers are invited to an interview lunch; the interview is actually conducted over a meal. This tactic separates equally matched candidates from the competition and may come at a high price; getting hired.

Dining Image

Silver Platter Hiring.

Useful tips to kick-start a successful job interview over lunch:

Show up on time and at the correct location. Be sure to map out your route if going to an unfamiliar location. BE ON TIME. Heads up! Some hiring managers select a difficult location and have used this tactic to challenge and determine the ability of a job seeker to navigate effectively.

Tip:  When possible, drive by the restaurant the night before and scope out the area; avoid getting “lost” and have a plan for parking, projected mishaps or construction delays.

Unable to resist that piece of gum? Gum chewing becomes an issue when you do not know what to do with that sticky glob once seated at the table before serious discussion. Additionally, the hiring manager or recruiter may face Chiclephobia (The fear of chewing gum.), just ask Oprah Winfrey, no one was allowed to chew gum in her studio when she was a talk show host.

Tip: Opt for mints.

Waving, pointing, or flailing the silver? When engaged in conversation do not wield the knife and fork around as you are speaking. This creates a distraction and is seen as unprofessional.

Tip:  Never, never, never, lick the last bits of mashed potato or other delight from the blade of the knife, at the table, during the job interview (or any other time, for that matter…).

Do you salt or pepper your meal before taking a bite? Think again. This action has been known to send a non-verbal message of making hasty or rash decisions and could cost you that job. Why? You “assumed” the meal needed salt or pepper prior to tasting.

Tip:  Always sample a small bite before adding salt or pepper. In addition, use caution when dousing ketchup, dipping sauces or other condiments to a meal, it may send off a “red flag” and can be seen as an insult to the chef.

Remember, you were not invited to the meal because you are hungry!   Avoid ordering expensive menu items, finger foods and difficult to manage items (ribs, lobster, fried chicken, spaghetti, etc.). Also, if a food item is difficult to eat, you spend more effort on eating the meal and less on building rapport with emphasis on the main mission; GETTING HIRED.

Tip: A salad may be cumbersome, not all leafy greens are cut into bite size pieces; opt for the soup instead.

Avoid alcohol. Alcohol inhibits the ability to recall important details, impairs the ability to remember names (especially in a networking setting), may cause improper conversations to emerge, and is not advisable when being considered for a job.

Tip:  Sparking water and a lime make a good substitute.

The purpose of the interview lunch? To determine your social savvy.  Many times this form of interview is one of THE determining factors in hiring.

Tip:  You are an extension of the company brand when hired; demonstrating good manners set you apart from the competition. It is NOT about the food; it is about the relationship building process and “how to be” may determine “cultural fit” depending on the industry and/or position you are seeking.

These are just a few dining etiquette fundamentals and if traveling abroad be sure to research each culture and the differences when conducting business or a job interview over a lunch or a meal.  Good luck!

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Job Interview Strategy: Employment and Facebook Privacy.

Employment and Facebook Privacy.∗

There have been recent reports that companies are asking prospective candidates for their username and passwords to their social media content. This is in direct violation of the terms of service agreement that a user has made with the social media provider and compromises not only their information but also compromises the privacy that is expected by all of the connections/users.

How do your respond to such a request? Example: “While I respect the fact that you would like access to my account; unfortunately, I must adhere to the Terms of Service Agreement presented by (insert social media provider, i.e.Facebook) for the privacy and safety of my account and those connected to my account and therefore will be unable to do so. As you can imagine, I would also not provide the username and passwords that would be issued by this company, in the event I am hired, and I hope you can appreciate my integrity in this matter.”

Also consider, this could be a test to see how trusted you would be in situations that could compromise the security and policies of the organization. How? Well if you are too quick to give up your Facebook username and password, not to mention violating the Rights and Responsibilities as a Facebook user, would you do the same with their company information too? Something to think about.

Ethics and Integrity in the workplace are valued commodities and you would want to question the ethics and integrity of an organization that would choose not to hire you in the event you stood firm on your commitment to avoid relinquishing or compromising your privacy and the privacy of other Facebook users.

DO NOT relinquish your Facebook or social media username and passwords to a prospective employer as a precondition of hire , in this case, you would be violating your agreement to the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and compromising the privacy of your connections. Even if you feel you have “nothing to hide”, this is not only about you, but the expectations of privacy on behalf of your connections as well.


Registration and Account Security∗∗

Facebook users provide their real names and information, and we need your help to keep it that way.  Here are some commitments you make to us relating to registering and maintaining the security of your account:
1.  You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
2.  You will not create more than one personal profile.
3.  If we disable your account, you will not create another one without our permission.
4.  You will not use your personal profile for your own commercial gain (such as selling your status update to an advertiser).
5.  You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.
6.  You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender.
7.  You will keep your contact information accurate and up-to-date.
8.  You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.
9.  You will not transfer your account (including any page or application you administer) to anyone without first getting our written permission.
10.  If you select a username for your account we reserve the right to remove or reclaim it if we believe appropriate (such as when a trademark owner complains about a username that does not closely relate to a user’s actual name).

∗Disclaimer: This is strictly the opinion of Denise Anne Taylor and should not constitute legal advice, if you question your rights please seek legal counsel.

∗∗Extracted from the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Job Interview Strategy: Tell Me About Yourself…Solved.

jobinterview-70292-largeThis is NOT a trick question…

…many candidates appear bewildered and befuddled because silently they are thinking, “Well, what do you want to know?” or “Where do I begin?” or “Why don’t you just ask me specifically what you want to hear?” so let’s review what this question really reveals…

#1. Your Communication Style. If you are unable to clearly communicate about who you are, where you have been and your key skills and abilities in an effective manner; how can the interviewer expect you to clearly communicate about their products or services effectively once you are hired?

#2. Organized Communication. When you can communicate in an organized, easy to follow manner, then this demonstrates your ability to communicate in that same capacity once you are hired.

#3. Confidence. An individual that can exhibit a confident demeanor while expressing their work history will make a more significant first impression.

#4. Extended Conversation. It allows for the interview to take on a greater depth, and allows you to expand on accomplishments that correspond with the job posting. In other words, you get to sell yourself.

Most candidates self-sabotage their ability for success in this all important area by saying too much or saying too little or providing information that is of little value.

One of the most asked questions during the job interview is “Tell me about yourself…”, and it is the single greatest question posed when looking for a job, networking, and when meeting new people.

Maintain a chronological format and keep your reply under two minutes, practice, practice, practice, and continually evolve shorter versions for career fairs and networking events (also known as a 30-second commercial or sometimes called the “elevator pitch”).

Step 1: Start with your most recent position/role, state company name, your title, and job responsibility overview (one or two sentences) and a key accomplishment. Be brief.  Your goal is to generate interest and you can expand further as the job interview progresses.

Step 2: Next, take the job interviewer back to the beginning of your career history (How I began my career…) and walk them forward (chronologically) back to your current position/role; (dates in this statement are not required) stating company name, position and job responsibility overviews, add a key accomplishment, here and there, that applies to directly to the job posting.  Tip:  Bring a copy of the job posting with you to the job interview and use it for reference.

Make  Connections For The Interviewer.  “I accomplished…..and saw that you were looking for someone with this particular skill, expertise, etc., in the job posting…” or “This is where I gained the experience noted in your job posting.”

Step 3: Speak with confidence, enthusiasm, and practice so that you sound as though you actually did the work; avoid sounding as though you are uncertain as this will create a “red flag” for the hiring manager, recruiter, or job interviewer.

Avoid talking about hobbies, family matters, where you were in kindergarten etc., keep it professional. If you left the workplace for personal reasons (stay at home mom, caregiver, health, etc.) state something like; “I made a personal decision to leave the workplace to attend to family matters ( to further my education, care for my mother, etc.) .” Keep it simple.  Focus on your skill and abilities and the job role.  If you are confident about your choice; they will remain confident.

Good luck!