Tag Archives: Dining for Success

Dine Your Way into Your Next Job or Internship

By: Diana Martinez

Congratulations on making it to the next round of interviews! Let’s go down the checklist: suit, portfolio, business cards, resumes, dining etiquette…wait, what? That’s right; increasingly employers are holding later round interviews or pre-interview sessions over full-course sit down meals. Definitely expect this if you will be interviewing with any large Fortune 100 or company holding super-days. 

What’s all the fuss?

Besides allowing you to network with prospective colleagues, it offers recruiters a rare opportunity to test your social skills, assess if you are a good match for the organization’s culture, and test how well you deal with stressful and social situations. To help you navigate the sometimes unavoidable mealtime interview, below are some tips to help you shine next time you have one.

Give Your Phone a Break

Turn off or silent your phone. No one likes interruptions. While we’re on the topic: no texting, tweeting, Facebook, or any other social media. Nothing says “I’d rather be anywhere else, but here” than spending more time with the phone than with your host. It’s rude and actually makes you appear antisocial. The focus of your attention during the meal should be your host. This is a great dating tip too!

Pre-Game and Food Selection

Have a small snack before going. If you’re starving, your attention will be on the food instead of networking and making a great impression. Select foods that are not messy and are easy to eat. Some recruiters intentionally select menus that have these danger foods to see how you will navigate this obstacle course. Avoid anything with sauces, anything that will require you use your hands to eat, can be messy, and salads! Yes, salads and foods like kale, and broccoli, can be tough to eat and can lead to awkward conversations when they get stuck in your teeth. There are times when you can’t avoid salads. In that case check out this great Table Manners 101 video on etiquette and other issues such as proper use of utensils and dealing with salads and soups.

Say No to Drinking…Alcohol!

Even if offered, politely decline any alcohol and select water, soda, or other non-alcoholic option. This is another trap! It is used to assess your judgment. And no one likes dining with a drunk, not to mention the smell of it during a professional event!

Mind Your Manners

One can devote an entire series of articles on just this topic. Here are the basics:

  • If you have more than one fork, begin from the outside and work your way in
  • BMW: Remember this acronym and you’ll never mix up your water, salad, or bread with your neighbor’s. Starting from your left is Bread and salad, in the center is your Meal plate, and to your right is your Water glass. This graphic is also helpful to remember.

 

  • If anything falls on the floor (napkin, utensils, etc.) it stays on the floor. It is acceptable to ask the wait staff for another one
  • Never talk with your mouth full
  • No slurping or blowing on your soup
  • Cut food into small bite sizes and bring them to your mouth
  • When you do speak and/or need to put down your utensils, never put them on your napkin or table — instead place them on your plate
  • Keep your elbows off the table
  • Leave some food on your plate at the end of your meal and never request a “doggy bag” to take home – no matter how much food is leftover or how delicious the meal is! 

Learn to Make Small Talk

Get this down and you’ll have a strong advantage. We all have stories where we just looked at another person across the table and smiled in awkward silence. Here’s how to avoid that: do your homework. Research the company, industry, and current events in news and other areas. This will allow you to discuss an array of topics. Unless you are interviewing for a position to be a lobbyist, stay clear of religion, politics, or anything that can be turned into a debate. Bonus tip: People love talking about themselves. So, you can never go wrong with asking someone what they do at their organization, how they got where they are, and why they work at that company.

Say Thanks

At the conclusion of any interview, you should ask for a business card and follow up within 48 hours with a thank you letter or e-mail. This is no different. Your host went through a lot of trouble; the least you could do is thank them! You would be surprised how many people forget to do it and this is the reason why they don’t get called back for a follow-up interview.

Those Who Invite Pay…To a Point

The company will pay for the meal. It is expected. So, when the bill arrives, no one is expecting you to offer to pay nor is acceptable to offer to split the bill or leave the tip. That said, this doesn’t mean you order the most expensive menu item. Follow your host’s lead. If your host doesn’t make a suggestion or asks you to order first (another clever pitfall), you can never go wrong by ordering meals that fall between the cheapest and most expensive. Bonus Tip: Since the restaurant’s name will be provided to you ahead of time, look it up online and review their menu and price list. Plan what you want to eat and have a back-up in case the item is not available.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

The great thing about a mock interview is you can rehearse interviewing and make mistakes in a safe environment. The same holds true for dining. One fantastic way is by taking advantage of opportunities to combine all your interview skills with small talk and dining. In November, The Wasserman Center will be holding its signature event: Dining for Success. If you’re serious about nailing that next job, attend this event. You can be sure your competition will!

Here’s more information about the event:

Dining for Success (For Juniors, Seniors and Graduate Students)

Thursday, November 6, 5:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. The Smith, 55 Third Avenue, between 10th and 11th

IN-PERSON REGISTRATION AND REFUNDABLE CASH DEPOSIT REQUIRED! Dateline to register is Thursday, October 30th!

Enjoy a great three-course meal with top employers and the Wasserman Center at the Smith! Mastering interviewing skills is hard enough, but what about when your interview is over a meal? Don’t let your dining etiquette stand in the way of getting the job! Join NYU Recruiters from Ernst & Young, PwC, AOL, Peace Corps and more to practice these skills over a three-course meal!

Additional Resources:

Dinner Interviews: How to Prepare + Our Dining for Success Spring Events

Employers are more frequently holding interviews over a meal or coffee, and the added factor of food and drink can make your interview day seem more daunting. However, if you take the time to prepare, you’ll find that the interview can be tackled – maybe even enjoyed! The best way to practice is by attending Dining For Success. This will give you real experience dining with employers while keeping up a conversation and keeping track of all those forks. Before any dining interview, there are a few things you can do to make sure you’re comfortable and prepared when you take your table.

1. Review the Menu

In the age of Yelp, we know that you never pick up coffee without studying the shop’s reviews and tips, and this should be no different. Especially if you have special dietary restrictions, taking time to review the menu a day or two in advance will allow you to spend more time face to face with the employer during the interview. If you have very specific dietary needs, call the restaurant ahead of time to ask questions about the dishes you are considering. You always want to be sure to choose a mid-priced entrée, and be prepared with an appetizer or dessert choice you’d enjoy if the employer decides to order these courses. This is also a chance to see the atmosphere of the restaurant and decide whether or not you also need to spend time studying the navigation of formal place settings.

2. Choose your Wardrobe

Interviews over food or drinks often last longer than a traditional interview, so you want to keep this in mind when choosing what to wear. As always, you want to consider the dress code of the company and then dress one step above that. Avoid wearing clothes that will get in the way while you are eating – leave long flowing sleeves in the closet for this one. Choose an outfit that will allow you to sit comfortably and move your arms to eat and to pass items to your tablemates. If you have long hair, style it in a way so that it stays out of your face (and your soup).

3. Read the News

You can expect more small talk at a dining interview than you would during a traditional interview. The employer wants to get to know you and understand if you will fit in with the culture and environment of the company. To be sure you can participate in the conversation, review the company news, industry news, and current events before the interview. You don’t have to be an expert on every topic, but making sure you can contribute a little to the topic on industry trends and to the topic on the latest big news story will make you more at ease.

4. Plan for Comfort

Even though you are sitting down to eat with the employer, the focus is not on the food. If you tend to eat a lot, consider having a small snack before you go so that you’re not ravenous and distracted from the conversation. Likewise, if you get very thirsty, have a tall glass of water before the meal so you don’t miss out on key points while you’re flagging down the waiter for your third refill. Definitely eat and enjoy your food, but don’t let your hunger be a distraction from the true task at hand: landing that job.

Want more practice, come to one of our upcoming industry-focused Dining for Success dinners.   In-person registration at NYU Wasserman required.  More details available via NYU CareerNet.

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner… at Next Week’s Dining For Success!

Below are just some of the companies and organizations dining with us at next week’s Dining for Success on Thursday, October 3, at The Smith East Village. Spots are still available – register at Wasserman Center or Wasserman @ NYU-Poly front desks with your $20 deposit by this Friday, September 27 to secure your spot!

EY (Ernst & Young) is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services they deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. They develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on promises to all stakeholders. In so doing, they play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

PwC focuses on audit and assurance, tax and consulting services. Additionally, in the US, PwC concentrates on 16 key industries and provides targeted services that include — but are not limited to — human resources, deals, forensics, and consulting services. It helps resolve complex issues and identify opportunities through its multifaceted approach and dynamic opportunities.

Chase is a national bank that constitutes the consumer and commercial banking subsidiary of the multinational banking corporation JPMorgan Chase. The bank was known as Chase Manhattan Bank until it merged with J.P. Morgan & Co. in 2000. Chase offers more than 5,100 branches and 16,100 ATMs nationwide. JPMorgan Chase has 260,965 employees (as of 2012) and operates in more than 85 countries.

Fluitec examines the cause-effect relationship between stresses on a machine or body and the fluid contained within. Its core competency is the understanding of oxidative stress and the monitoring of antioxidants. Its mission is to be the world leader in data collection, analysis, and mitigation of these stresses. Fluitec values truth, knowledge, long-life, wellness, high performance and individuality in its employees, products and services and delivers these values to our customers.

Richland Equities is a registered mortgage brokerage firm with the New York State Department of Financial Services for the past twenty-five years. Its primary function is real estate financing, transacting mortgages for both residential and commercial through exclusive wholesale and retail lending channels. Its commercial business dealings are nationwide, and are able to transact using various lending products across the United States. Richland Equity Resources Corporation has established solid relationships with many investors and other resources who respect its method of doing business, its highly qualified staff, and the presentation of files for credit decisions. In addition to complete realty divisions, Richland has have three other areas of expertise that are pertinent to the financial sector: investments, market research, and sales licensing.

Sotheby’s International Realty is a luxury real estate brokerage agency that offers a collection of luxury homes, estates, and properties for sale throughout the world. Sotheby’s International Realty offices were founded in 1976 to focus on the brokering and marketing of luxury residential real estate. Sotheby’s currently has real estate offices located around the world with over 500 offices and 11,000 sales consultants.

Interested in attending Dining for Success this semester on Thursday, October 3, at The Smith East Village?


Register for the event by dropping off a $20 deposit at the front desks of ether The Wasserman Center (133 East 13th Street, 2nd Floor) or The Wasserman Center at NYU-Poly (6 MetroTech Center, JB359) no later than Friday, September 27. Spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis.


Please note: This semester’s Dining For Success program is geared towards juniors, seniors, and graduate students interested in pursuing careers in Accounting, Finance, Engineering, Technology, and Small Business. You will be asked to list preferences upon registering for the event. If you have a general interest in the event, regardless of career areas, you are more than welcome to register.

Top 10 Tips and Tricks to Dining Etiquette

Whether you’re at a coffee shop meeting a professional for an informational interview, having a meal with a potential hiring manager, or enjoying a drink and hor d’oeuvres at a networking mixer, etiquette is key! With Dining For Success around the corner on Thursday, October 3, The Wasserman Center provides you with tips and tricks below to perfect your etiquette with an employer or professional… when it involves food!
10. Start from the outside and work your way in… on the dinner table.

With a collection of forks, spoons, and knives, where do you start? Every piece of silverware corresponds with each course of a meal. The fork, knife, and spoon placed at the ends of your place setting are used when enjoying an appetizer or starter. Conversely, the silverware closest to you are used for your main course or entree. Dessert utensils are typically provided immediately before the course is served. When in doubt, take the lead from your counterparts and work your way from the outside in.

9. Salt and pepper stick together.

Be cognizant of side dish and condiments. LIke items, such as salt and pepper or olive oil and vinegar, should be passed to a fellow table guest together. Use two hands to pass or receive a side dish, leveraging both the dish and serving utensil. If a guest would like you to serve an item on their plate, place the dish in your left hand and serve the item with your right.

8. The text can wait.

A phone is a prime distraction in the classroom and during meal time. Make sure to silence your phone and conceal it in your pocket or bag. Unless there’s an emergency, there is no need to respond to a call or text. Remember, your attention should be placed on the person in front of you. Putting your phone away is considered as sign of respect.

7. Pass on the lobster tail.

Even though you may be at a fancy restaurant that you would never visit, order an item off the menu that typically lies within the average price range for an entree. Take the lead from an employer when ordering an appetizer. Do not overindulge with your main course, or order very little and pretend you’re not hungry.

6. Suit & Tie

How do you stay comfortable over a meal in business and professional attire? Leave coats and bags at coat check, place your jacket around your chair, and place your portfolio or notepad to a lower corner of your table. Be mindful of potential spills on your ties when dining. Brush your hair behind your ears and shoulders to decrease chances of hair falling into your plate.

5. Posture & Attention

Sit upright with your shoulder resting back in line with your ears. Straighten your back as much as possible. Resist the temptation of slouching into the arch of your chair. Bring your chair and its backrest as close to your seat to support your comfort and an attentive appearance at a table. The more (physically) engaged you seem, the much more personable you may appear to your dinner guest.

4. To dessert or not to dessert?

Interested in satisfying your sweet tooth or grabbing that post-meal coffee? Take the lead from an employer. Feel free to order dessert should your interviewer do so, but do not be discouraged if an employer chooses not to and ends the meal. They may need to head to their next meeting or appointment.

3. It’s not about the food. It’s about you.

Whether a light appetizer or full entree sits opposite you and your interviewer, your main goal at the moment is to showcase relevant qualifications, skills, and abilities that you make you a marketable professional or hirable candidate. Be sure to get these points across to your interviewer in a succinct and clear manner. Do not let your meal sit between you and a great opportunity.

2. Do eat something!

Meal time interviews and networking receptions can make an individual feel nervous or anxious, and eating something can make you feel comfortable. Be sure to order an item that is familiar, something you’ve enjoyed in the past, and does not take more time to carve out than your response to a question.

1. Practice makes perfect.

The best way to learn or correct your dining etiquette is to find opportunities to practice, either at a restaurant, mixer, event, or with friends during dinner

…And what better way to practice than by participating in Dining For Success!

Interested in attending Dining for Success this semester on Thursday, October 3, at The Smith East Village?

Register for the event by dropping off a $20 deposit at the front desks of ether The Wasserman Center (133 East 13th Street, 2nd Floor) or The Wasserman Center at NYU-Poly (6 MetroTech Center, JB359) no later than September 26, 2013. Spaces are available on a first come, first serve basis.

Please note: This semester’s Dining For Success program is geared towards juniors, seniors, and graduate students interested in pursuing careers in Accounting, Finance, Engineering, Technology, and Small Business. You will be asked to list preferences upon registering for the event. If you have a general interest in the event, regardless of career areas, you are more than welcome to register.

Dining For Success Profile with Sean Liu, Class of 2013

Xiao (Sean) Liu, is a 2013 Stern alum, now working as a Proprietary Trader at T3 Trading Group. Here, he shares some helpful tips and recalls some fond memories about NYU Wasserman Center’s Dining For Success event.

What’s the best part about Dining for Success? The food! Also the opportunity to extensively network with a successful alum over a few hours in a relatively relaxed setting.

What’s something you didn’t know before about dining etiquette? Salt and pepper shakers always travel together…

What’s the most important lesson you learned from your dining experience? The way a person presents himself at a dining table leaves an extremely long lasting impression, probably more so than any other social situations.

Why should other students participate in Dining For Success? Networking over a meal is a better way by far compared to OCR events, as the atmosphere is way less awkward, the professionals are not swarmed by other students, and you can actually make connections on a personal level instead of in the run-of-the-mill manner. If nothing else, you still get an awesome dinner from The Smith at an unbeatable price.

Interested in attending Dining for Success this semester on Thursday, October 3, at The Smith East Village?

RSVP by dropping a $20 deposit at either of the front desks at The Wasserman Center (133 East 13th Street, 2nd Floor) or The Wasserman Center at NYU-Poly (6 MetroTech Center, JB359) no later than September 26, 2013. Spaces are available on a first come, first served basis.


Please note: This semester’s Dining For Success event is geared towards juniors, seniors, and graduate students interested in pursuing careers in Accounting, Finance, Engineering, and Technology and Small Business. You will be asked to list preferences upon registering for the event.