3 Lunch Interview Tips That'll Help You Nail It

Did you get called in for a lunch interview? Are you interviewing with a group or one person over lunch? Either way, you need to know the differences you’ll experience when interviewing over a meal. And how to best prepare for them.

Lunch interviews normally take place in a group setting. It’s more uncommon for it to be an interview with yourself and one other person over lunch. In a group setting, you could expect up to 5-6 people to attend the interview, all while having a company expensed lunch, and asking you to interview.

What Happens In A Lunch Interview

For the most part, this is a pretty informal interview. Normally, you’ll be asked to present some of your past work. Maybe a project or two. Introduce yourself to the team and be asked a series of questions.

Because it is in a group setting, the interview structure will be less so about sensitive interview questions and more so related to you getting yourself introduced to the rest of the tea

Companies do this because they’d like for you to get to know your other colleagues and when there isn’t enough time to do so, they encourage them to spend their lunch hour with you.

How Crucial Is The Lunch Interview

Lunch interviews aren’t going to make or break your chances of getting employed. In fact, because it’s informal, this usually ends up being your last interview of the day. And that’s normally after you’ve met with the people who have more influence on your employment offer.

But what is important is that you are friendly with everyone, you tell some interesting stories if you can get everyone to smile or laugh. Generally, be part of the culture. If your chemistry with the rest of the team seems to go well, you are doing a good job.

What’s Important In The Interview

It’s important that you are prepared to do one or many of the following in your lunch interview:

  • Tell a story about your humble beginnings.
  • Tell a story related to passion projects.
  • Tell a story related to past projects that are applicable to the job you are being interviewed for.
  • Have seemingly good chemistry with the rest of the team who is in attendance.

If you can be sure to get prepared to do one or more of the following during your lunch interview, you’ll have a better chance of success.

What Should I Wear (Attire) To A Lunch Interview

If you got a request for a lunch interview be sure that you're looking up the general dress code for the business. That's the dress code you want to wear when you go on your lunch interview. Most commonly, it will be business casual. If you aren't sure what the dress code is, you can absolutely ask your interviewer in anticipation of your interview.

What Happens After

Normally, after the lunch interview, the team will be asked what they thought of you. Of course, they don’t have as much “weight” in the decision making as someone who interviewed you in a more formal setting. That’s why it’s important that the team generally “like” you and seem to respond well to what you had to say. They’ll be asked but again, it won’t hold as much bearing on your chances of getting employed.

Sending A Thank You Email After Your Lunch Interview

When you're done with your lunch interview, don't forget to send them a thank you note. This shows that you were appreciative of the time that you spend with the interviewer and draws a line of respect between yourself and the interviewer.

If you aren't sure what a thank you email looks like, be sure to read our full guide here.

What To Be Mindful Of

During your lunch interview, everyone will be eating lunch. And that’s their main interest, food! Don’t expect them to be a lively and talkative bunch. You might not have the ability to eat as much as you’d like because you’ll be doing most of the talking. Be sure to pick foods for your lunch that is going to be easier to chew, giving you the opportunity to talk a little more. It sounds like something that doesn’t have to be said, but you might be surprised. The worst thing you could do is be the one who is eating the messiest and chewing the most without being able to talk as much as you need to.

3 Tips You Should Know

Here's the top three tips for having a great lunch interview:

  • Prepare your origin story and entertaining story related to your previous projects.
  • Be sure you don't pick lunch foods which are messy or require a lot of chewing.
  • Be mindful of having good chemistry with the rest of the team as that's the main point of the lunch interview.
author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, and many more.


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