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Career Development & Internships

Dining Etiquette


Tips on Dining Etiquette

It is very important to observe proper table etiquette. If your interview involves dining, make sure you observe the following:
  • If you have dietary restrictions, make sure that the interviewer is aware of that when you make the appointment.
  • Turn off your cell phone!
  • When you order, choose items from the middle of the price range that are easy to eat; avoid items that you eat with your hands (i.e., sandwiches, fried chicken). Do not order large quantities of food. Order simple dishes that are easy to manage and aren't messy. Allow the interviewer to order first if possible, and follow his or her lead.
  • Do not order alcoholic beverages.
  • At the table, use the utensils farthest from your plate first and work your way in.
  • Put your napkin on your lap once you sit down. If you must leave the table (i.e., to use the restroom), leave your napkin on your chair until you return. Avoid using your napkin as a tissue; if you must wipe your nose, leave the table.
  • If you drop a utensil, leave it and ask the waiter for another.
  • When eating a roll or bread, put a pat of butter on your plate, break small pieces of bread, and butter each piece as you go.
  • When you take a break from eating, place utensils so the tips are resting on your plate, not on the table.
  • It is not proper to ask to take your leftovers home with you.
  • If a food item is being shared, designate a serving fork, knife, or spoon rather than one you will be eating with.
  • Do not speak with food in your mouth. Take small bites at a time and chew with your mouth closed. If asked a question while you are eating, finish chewing, swallow, and then speak.
  • At the end of the meal, put your napkin back on the table (but not on the plate).
  • When dining is part of a job interview, generally the interviewer pays. (When dining with co-workers, generally each individual pays for him- or herself.)
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