Oh the memories

I love reading Joe Grimm’s Ask The Recruiter blog – possibly because I don’t need to worry about finding a new job anymore, but also partly because it amuses me some of the foibles that Joe Grimm’s blog highlights. One recent job interview foible he highlighted was the job interview meal, inspired by an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, via the Redding Record Searchlight:

Hungry job candidates, the lunch menu that sits before you may be a test. There are many ways to flub a job interview and – though you may not know it – ordering a steamed artichoke is one of them.

Colleen Connors, director of talent strategy for Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh, once tried to conduct a job interview with someone who ate – no, dismantled – an artichoke in full leaf-plucking, butter-dipping, teeth-scraping splendor.

“It was kind of tough to eat,” said Connors. “Normally, what works best is to think carefully about what you order so you feel comfortable.”

The article reminded me of an interview I had at the Desert Sun in Palm Springs. The editors I interviewed with (who were recent hires themselves) took me to a really nice, power-lunch kind of place. But the prices on the menu freaked me out! The only thing that seemed reasonable was a bacon avocado cheeseburger, but when it arrived – it was HUGE. You have no idea how hard it was to eat it neatly, not get it all over my clothes and give my interviewers a full view of what I was eating. I wish I’d read this article before ordering:

Take the ever-treacherous lunch ordering, for example. Connors remembers that several years ago, prospective lawyers were advised to order the most expensive thing on the menu during a lunch interview, supposedly to show that they were confident.

Today, she said, that advice no longer applies. Although she wouldn’t necessarily think lesser of someone for ordering an expensive item, the best thing is probably just to get a salad, she said.

Confusion aside, interviewers say they are reasonable people. Using the wrong fork or splitting an infinitive generally won’t cost someone a job, they say, though ordering slurpy French onion soup and messy spaghetti and then chewing with your mouth open is another story.