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Tips on how to succeed at a lunch with a potential employer

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I passed a phone interview recently and was invited to to a second round, on-site interview at this company's NYC offices. In addition to in-person interviewing, they said that they would take me out to a group lunch with the team. I've been reading up on the company's industry and recent news to find some talking points and such, but do you guys have any tips on how to best present myself? I tend to get really nervous around senior people and higher up execs, so I really want to avoid awkward conversations or pauses.

If any of you (ahem, Douglas) want to post a snide comment on how I ask stupid questions pertaining to my job prospects, kindly keep it to yourself please.

Another minor question: they explicitly referred to it as a second round interview, but they're sending me to their NYC offices to interview via train. I would like to assume this is a final round interview, as they're going through the trouble to buy me an amtrak ticket and such. Could it be that there may be another round of interviews and that they might ask me to trek up to NYC again?

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 19
I'd get the impression that if they are interviewing you over lunch, meeting the team, and willing to provide you with transportation, you have one foot in the door already, and they are trying to ascertain how well you fit with the rest of the team. It is a giant waste of the team's time to do this with too many candidates, and so I think at that point, it's yours to lose. Good luck.
post #3 of 19
This is probably obvious but try to not order anything messy. Try to order something that is easy to eat and talk at the same time. I've been told that ravioli is the perfect food for this. Salad could work too.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt View Post
I'd get the impression that if they are interviewing you over lunch, meeting the team, and willing to provide you with transportation, you have one foot in the door already, and they are trying to ascertain how well you fit with the rest of the team. It is a giant waste of the team's time to do this with too many candidates, and so I think at that point, it's yours to lose.

Good luck.

Yup. They are going to gauge how well you fit in. Let them start the conversation and chime in.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by giraffe lookout View Post
This is probably obvious but try to not order anything messy. Try to order something that is easy to eat and talk at the same time. I've been told that ravioli is the perfect food for this. Salad could work too.

See what others are ordering. You do not want to stand out one way or another. If everyone is ordering salad then order salad.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking about just asking a lot of questions so they can talk about themselves. I'm generally very bad at talking about myself because I just assume no one really cares about what others have to say (I mean, I don't really either haha) so that affects the way I deliver my speech. I'm also thinking about emailing the analyst I've been in touch with to ask for a list of the people I'll be talking to that day so I can research them and find some possible talking points. Thoughts on that? Too demanding/direct?
post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFrog View Post
I'm thinking about just asking a lot of questions so they can talk about themselves. I'm generally very bad at talking about myself because I just assume no one really cares about what others have to say (I mean, I don't really either haha) so that affects the way I deliver my speech.

I'm also thinking about emailing the analyst I've been in touch with to ask for a list of the people I'll be talking to that day so I can research them and find some possible talking points. Thoughts on that? Too demanding/direct?

Let them direct the conversation at lunch and follow the lead.

I wouldn't email and ask specific questions on your lunch mates it seems kinda stalkish to me.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragon8 View Post
Let them direct the conversation at lunch and follow the lead.

I wouldn't email and ask specific questions on your lunch mates it seems kinda stalkish to me.

Agreed. A lunch meeting in this scenario is much like a lengthened, softer interview. They should raise topics for you to respond to. Offer your insights, show your understanding of the topic. It's a good opportunity to show them that yes, you understand what they're talking about. They'll probably also discuss the role, the company and so on, and I suspect will ask you about yourself, your experience, etc.

I had a lunch meeting with a potential employer on Thursday, which progressed to going back to the office with them to meet their sales team, which progressed to attending an evening sales event, which has now progressed to me going in on Monday to sit with the VP of Institutional Sales for lunch and the afternoon. I expect an offer by Wednesday.
post #9 of 19
i agree with Matt on this one. that's an awful lot of stuff they're doing for you, so this is the final test. don't try too hard. just ease in. use common sense and pick your spots, be normal and you're probably good to go.
post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFrog View Post
I'm thinking about just asking a lot of questions so they can talk about themselves. I'm generally very bad at talking about myself because I just assume no one really cares about what others have to say (I mean, I don't really either haha) so that affects the way I deliver my speech.?
If I was you, I would be asking lots of questions of them. What they do, what they enjoy, what they find challenging, where are they from, where did they study, how did they get started with the firm and looking for points of commonality that you share to discuss. Other than when directly asked, I would not be talking about myself much at all.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tips guys, wish me luck!
post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenFrog View Post
Thanks for the tips guys, wish me luck!

Best of luck!!!!!!!!!!
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Just came back from the interview. Surprisingly, there were 7 other candidates, so a total of 8 including me. We all got interviewed by 8 other people on the team and then they took us out to a group lunch. I was able to build rapport with two analysts by sitting next to them and shooting the shit. I felt bad for the other interviewees who sat with themselves and couldn't partake in the conversation. I felt very confident throughout the interview process. One of the interviewers said he liked me because I was confident, yet humble. The last interview was with a vice principal, and before the interview, I read up on all the current events related to this industry and the company's press releases, so I sounded very well-versed while talking with him. There was never an awkward pause. We just had an intelligent conversation all around until we ran out of time. That being said, I think I did pretty well and I'm pretty certain they're only choosing 1 person out of the 8.. so it's pretty stiff competition. They said they'll let us know by next week.. wish me luck! Oh, and for lunch, I got grilled chicken breast with sauteed corn and tomato salsa and green onion. Clean and simple. No mess.
post #14 of 19
Whatever you do do not try to force ketchup out of the bottle. it just ends up looking like your making "jacking off" motions, and the sad part is you may not even get any ketchup. I can say this, my last interview we went out to a steakhouse. I ordered fries, I picked up the ketchup bottle to throw some ketchup on the plate, and I noticed before anyone else did what I was doing, so I quickly put the ketchup bottle down. Then i couldn't help but think the two interviewers might have thought something because I "gave up" on putting ketchup in my plate. GAH!! the frustration at just the thought of their thoughts, right!?
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by dragon8 View Post
See what others are ordering. You do not want to stand out one way or another. If everyone is ordering salad then order salad.

Wrong.

You need to communicate your place in the pecking order. If everyone is ordering a salad, you should order a big, bloody, halfway-raw steak. It signals your dominant status. In fact, before you dig into the steak, you should slap the person seated next to you and loudly declare "To be clear, everyone, I am the alpha of this table. That is why I am eating the steak. When the alpha has finished his steak, you may fight over the scraps."
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