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Posts Tagged ‘Interview Meals’

Interview season is quickly approaching for the five schools that are hiring sociologists this year.  If you are fortunate enough to land one of these interviews, you don’t want to blow your opportunity by doing something stupid while eating a meal.  I always thought this was the kind of thing that graduate programs told their students, but given that others I know had vastly different graduate school experiences, I suppose it doesn’t hurt to pass this sort of information along.  With this in mind, a recent Inside Higher Ed post has some helpful advice about what to do (and not to do) while eating with potential colleagues.  Some highlights:

Choose an item priced in the middle range of the menu offerings. You need not order the least expensive, but do not order the most expensive item. Accept menu items “as is.” Refrain from asking for substitutions or asking that ingredients be excluded.

If you choose to drink any kind of alcohol, be sure to drink slowly — and be mindful of your drinking. Have a glass of water along with your beer, wine, or mixed drink. Given the circumstances of interviewing, remember that you may be tired, possibly hungry, and perhaps nervous — all factors that have implications for consuming alcohol.

To this I would add not to eat anything complicated (crab legs) or likely to fling sauce on your interview attire (spaghetti).  In the case of alcohol, the advice I’ve received is to let others order first and follow their lead.  You do not want to be the only person at the table ordering alcohol, but if somebody orders a bottle of wine for the table there is some social pressure to join in.  At one of my interviews last year there was about a glass worth of wine left over at the end of the meal and I was encouraged to take it with me to my hotel to unwind before the next day’s interviewing.  I did.

Even more important than what you eat and drink is this piece of advice:

As a job candidate, you will be focused on wanting to make a good impression and getting the offer. However, remember that you too are conducting an interview. Sharing a meal with prospective colleagues offers an opportunity for you to consider if you want to work with them. Here are some questions to consider:

  • What is their rapport?
  • Are they respectful of each other?
  • Do they seem to get along well?
  • Are they collegial?
  • These are people you might be working with closely for many years. They need not become your close friends, but you do want to have a sense of working successfully with them as colleagues.

    Cheers!

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