You have just been informed of an interview. First emotion? Excitement. Second. Intense panic. A lunch interview?! 

No need to fear, by following these suggestions, you can help ease your fears and just be yourself. Without the heartburn.


Doing some prepping and research before the interview is crucial. This often gets overlooked and can end up being costly. 

Map out where you are going. Even if you think you know where the location is. If possible, do a test drive to the restaurant as close to the interview date. This will allow you to look for any traffic issues (construction) and find the best place to park. 

Review the menu online. Being prepared by having a few options you can order will remove a level of stress and allow you to fully engage in conversation. 

Ensure that you can recognize your interviewer when they arrive. Yes, there is a chance that you may have already met from a prior interview. However, someone else may be coming along and arrive first. 

And keep an eye on the weather. No need to show up waterlogged by not realizing it was going to rain. 


Plan to arrive at the restaurant early. At least 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time is always a safe bet. Wait at the front of the restaurant rather than being seated. While you await their arrival, silence your phone and put it away. You can also take this time to mentally review your questions and notes one last time.


Since you’ve reviewed the menu already and have a few options available, let the interviewers go first and follow their lead. There is a chance that they have been there before so you can ask what they recommend. With that said, make sure you order something with a lower price point. Select something easy to manage and eat. Avoid messy dishes. “Think fork and knife versus something with your hands,” says Chuck Lotz, Talent Acquisition Leader at the Federal Reserve Bank, San Francisco. Lastly, avoid alcohol. As tempting as it may be, it is best to refrain. Even if your party is ordering. 


Even though a lunch interview seems less formal than an office setting, it is no reason to let your guard down. “You still need to be on your game and stick to your script,” says Lotz. You should also keep in mind that your interviewer(s) are going to be noticing how you interact with everyone from the hostess to the waitstaff. 

“This is still an interview so make sure that you take advantage of the opportunity to ask the questions that are important to you such as culture and company growth,” says Chief Human Resources Officer Alex Teodosio. “Think of it as another chance to build the relationship further and develop a rapport.”

Always end the meeting with a thank you and a handshake. And follow up with a thank you email as soon as you get home. 

By implementing these guidelines, there is a good chance that you will have an offer coming your way, and as Lotz is fond of saying, “stick the landing.”