How to nail the most awkward kind of interview: the lunch date

Ah, the lunch interview—an audition that two-businessmen-shaking-hands-at-lunch-meeting-493585563-57717b175f9b585875c2d789combines the stress of a job interview with the awkwardness of a first date. To ace it, you’ll need to make a professional impression in a casual environment. That’s no easy feat.

“Hiring managers typically do lunch interviews because they want to see your personality come out and see how you behave in a casual setting,” says Amy Wolfgang, CEO at Austin, Texas-based Wolfgang Career Coaching.

But as the interviewee, you need to be strategic in your approach. “There’s a temptation to let down your guard and let it become a social event, but it’s still a job interview,” says Carole Martin, job interview coach and author of Boost Your Interview IQ.

The good news: “If a hiring manager is going to expense a meal for you, the person is seriously interested in hiring you,” says Martin.

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