Tips for a Job Interview in a Public Place

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Posted by The Editors on March 22, 2012
Tips for a Job Interview in a Public Place

For whatever reason, employers or recruiters may ask to interview you in a public place—say, a restaurant, coffee shop, or even—gasp—a bar. Sometimes it’s just more convenient than meeting in their office, or they don’t have a local office. If you ever find yourself preparing for an out-of-office interview, here are a few tips to get you through:

1. Wear your interview suit. Just because you may be meeting at Friendly’s doesn’t mean you should dress down. Treat it as a normal interview and dress up.

2. Check—and double-check—the location. If your interviewer asks to meet you at a Starbucks and you realize there are five in a ten-block radius, make sure you have the right one.

3. Watch what you order. Don’t order anything that’s messy. You don’t want poppy seeds from your bagel sticking in your teeth, or a foam mustache from the whipped cream on your latte. You also shouldn’t order the most expensive item on the menu—if you’re craving the filet mignon, save it for the weekend.

4. Be prepared. Have copy of your resume, a pen and paper, your portfolio—whatever it is you normally bring to an interview. You should also prepare as you normally would for an interview—do research on the company, rehearse answers to common interview questions, etc.

5. Don’t drink. If your interview is at a bar (seriously, we’ve heard of it happening) I strongly advise you not to drink alcohol, even if your interviewer orders a beverage. It clouds your judgment, and can hinder your composure.

6. Be nice to your waitress/server/cashier. You’re being watched, so it’s important to treat people with respect and kindness. This includes tipping appropriately.

7. Offer to pay.  Just like a date, when the bill is placed on the table it might get awkward. I’d advise that you offer to pay—most (normal) interviewers will step in and offer to pay on the company credit card, or at least split it. Just go with whatever they’re insisting—whether it’s to go Dutch or for them to cover the bill.

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