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.