Ten foods you should never eat on a job interview

Categories: The List

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The unemployment rate remains over 9 percent -- about the same as it was a year ago. But you already knew that, educated readers of Cafe Society. What you didn't know, or maybe haven't thought about, is what you shouldn't eat if you find yourself in that third or fourth level of the job-interview dimension, when things get serious and you're asked to grab a bite to eat with your prospective employer. Never before (except maybe on a first date that you actually cared about) has choosing what you eat said so much about you; never before has it mattered so much if you spill your meal down your shirt and onto the tie you were planning on returning if you got the job. So as a public service to all our readers looking to land that dream job, here are ten foods you should never, ever, not even for a second, think about ordering while on a job interview.

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10. Salad
This should be a no-brainer, but why order the Caesar salad when you're not paying for the meal? No one is suggesting you ask "What is today's market price?" about any menu item, but you may as well eat well. Another reason not to get the salad: It says you're not taking this meeting seriously. You just want to eat and go. You want to look busy, but not too busy to relax for a few and nosh on something of substance with your future/could-be boss.

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9. The Kids' Menu
One, if you're going to a place that offers a kids' menu, you should ask yourself, "What kind of job is this?" But if for some reason there's a kids' menu, just stay the fuck away from it, even if you really want the star-shaped chicken nuggets.

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8. Just booze
"Oh I already had dinner." (You didn't and you don't want to eat in front of a stranger because it's weird.) Yet for some reason you order cocktails. It'll loosen you up, you think. And your could-be boss ordered one first, so it's acceptable. You just drank on an empty stomach, sir, and when it comes time for another round or two, the person on the other side of the table has a base of meat and potatoes to soak up those alcoholic toxins, and you're way ahead, commenting on the server's figure. Yikes.

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7. A meatball sub
Have you ever tried to eat one of these? It's a food best enjoyed alone. Meatballs go everywhere, as does the neon-orange grease and marinara mixture. If it's a casual lunch, this will almost certainly be on the menu, so avoid it at all costs.

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6. Something more expensive than what your boss orders
Avoid extravagance (see item #10), but make sure you're in the same ballpark. This rule is only broken if the boss notices. If not, chow down.

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Nothing says confidence like a bib.
5. Anything that requires a bib
This should be self-explanatory, but just don't get the ribs. While wearing a bib should make for a good conversation piece and show you're okay with a little self-deprecation, old-school types may just think you're an undignified buffoon.


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