A lunch interview is a common portion of the interview process. Often, a lunch interview is an opportunity to have a more casual conversation with a candidate over a meal while still getting to know them as a person and as a professional. Many employers even opt to do to the entire interview over lunch instead of in an office setting. Like all interviewing methods, a lunch interview has unique advantages. Check out this list of reasons to do a lunch interview.
It presents an opportunity to meet with a candidate on a more personal level.
Formal in-office interviews are typically more tense situations for candidates. A lunch interview, while it should still be taken as a formal interview, also invites the candidate to relax a bit more and be themselves. While they should still show a certain amount of nervousness, as it shows they are taking this seriously, it allows for more openness and casual conversation over a meal. Once the questions do start rolling, the candidate has been given an opportunity to ease into getting to know the interviewers as well. This type of interview also serves as a great indicator of emotional intelligence. How easily is conversation flowing? Do you feel like connections are being made? Are they able to laugh a little?
A lunch interview can reveal manners and decorum.
Interaction with servers, table manners, and sense of presence all can reveal much about a candidate. Watch what your candidate orders: is it a more expensive item, or are they being conscious of the fact that this meal is on your company’s tab? How is your candidate treating your server? Do they say thank you each time their drink is refilled? Have they glanced at their phone at all during the lunch interview? Are they sitting up straight with elbows off the table? How are they interacting with everyone at the table? Is this how they will carry themselves in a meal with a client or customer as well?
It sends a great message to your candidate(s).
Opting for a lunch interview might be unexpected for candidates, but it also sends the message to them that you care about them, about their time, and about their comfort. What’s a better introduction to working with your company than paying for their meal? This is an opportunity for building brand reputation by creating a friendly atmosphere for them to get to know more about you and about your organization. Questions often flow more easily for candidates in the atmosphere of a lunch interview as well. What’s more, for candidates who may currently already hold a job, this gives them the opportunity to not step away too much from their current role, showing them your respect for their time and their current employer’s time.
Lunch interviews aren’t right for every candidate (technical and technology roles, for instance), and they aren’t right for every employer. Also, there is certainly great merit in having the candidate(s) invited into the business and the office. But leveraging this unique interviewing tactic also opens itself to great benefits.
Join us TOMORROW for an opportunity to gain a SHRM credit in our “Interviewing Techniques for Employers” webinar. Check out our other webinar and workshop opportunities on AgCareers.com.