Dining With ConfidenceInterviewing for jobs—whether for your first job or a promotion— can be intimidating. What do I wear? How will I answer all of those typical, expected interview questions?

…How do I navigate through a business lunch or dinner??

Initially, most interviews are not conducted over lunch. When preparing for this important job search, make sure that you look your best and can verbalize effectively about what you want and what your strengths are.  Also, spend some time thinking about how to correctly use your silverware, just in case you make it to the third interview.  You never know if a potential employer, or a new employer, will request that you attend a simple business lunch or a company dinner at an upscale restaurant. Do you know which fork is for salad and which fork is for dessert? Do you know how to properly fold and use your napkin correctly?

Perhaps most people have faith in their common sense to guide them flawlessly through their first business dinner. But imagine how embarrassing it would be if you were the only one at the table to sit down before the dinner host, oblivious to the fact that your behavior was rude. Or perhaps you unknowingly used your own utensil to serve yourself from a dish being passed around the table.  Would either one of these examples be a cause for death by hanging?  No, not really, but it is not a good idea to risk making a bad impression because you are out of your element.

If you want to be calm, cool, and collected around a potential or brand new employer, you need to feel confident in any environment where business can be conducted.   College  graduates  are accustomed to a lifestyle of fast food and relaxed social gatherings. They are not educated in  dining  etiquette and could risk a potential career opportunity due to poor manners. It probably feels like being thrown into the lion’s den.

Don’t allow an already intimidating situation to become a daunting or horrifying experience.  Be prepared for anything. You may have no expectations of being invited to dinner where there are multiple utensils at each place. But if you are comfortable handling yourself at a five star restaurant, then certainly a more casual business lunch will be a breeze.