Job interviews take on many different forms and formats. Most people think of the traditional interview where the candidate and interviewer(s) sit in an office and talk to one another. However, interviews also include lunch or dinner or a tour of the office or factory. No matter where you are during an interview, stay focused and stay in the interview.
Don’t let your positivity slip
One of the basic tenants of any interview is to be positive about everything. Most candidates are aware that they should not say anything negative about prior employers during an interview. However, when talking informally at lunch or when taking a tour of a facility candidates make slips. For example, when walking through a production facility a candidate mentioned how outdated and antiquated his previous employer’s machines and production processes were. Too much negativity!
During a lunch or dinner it is natural to become less formal and more relaxed, however you are still being evaluated for the job. Certainly, table manners are critical so brush up on your Emily Post. In addition, keep the discussion focused on professional issues as much as possible. You want your personality to come through and you want the hiring manager to like you. However, it is not a time to talk about your quirky side or any unusual habits. Also, stay away from controversial issues like politics or religion.
Meeting potential co-workers
During a tour of the office or factory you will be introduced to company employees. They are part of your interview and you need to connect with them as well. A firm handshake, good eye contact, and a smile will support your candidacy. Any brief conversation you can engage in will also communicate a friendliness and leave a positive impression. Potential co-workers includes receptionists and security staff. Be friendly, be positive, interact, connect.
If you are taken to lunch or for a tour of the office/facility that is a positive sign. Poor candidates are shown the door not the office. You have probably made a good connection with the interviewer and they want to “sell” you on the job as well as evaluate how you impress potential co-workers. By staying focused and “in the interview” you will ace the interview and land the job.