Can a lunch outing tell you more about a candidate than a formal interview? Some will say: Absolutely.
At this point, you might know what you’re looking for in a good staffer: Good work ethic, dedication, passion for the job, the list goes on. But let’s face facts here. Not everyone is who they seem. Some have mastered the art of giving a good job interview, and if you’re stuck with a con-artist on your hands, it will certainly not bode well for the company.
Margaret Heffernan, author and entrepenuer, suggests a different approach. Take those job candidates out to lunch.
This is by no means a revolutionary concept. In fact, some of you may already incorporate sharing a meal with a candidate well into the interview process.
But it might pay off to start off the first round of job interviews with a meal.
Taking a job candidate out to a meal is so important because you can really get a true sense of how the candidate operates. And it all comes with their interaction with the wait staff.
Is your candidate saying “Thank you” when offered water? How about when the bread comes? Or when drinks are served? Notice the pattern?
A candidate who isn’t bothering to say “Thank you” for these little things to their wait staff suggests a sense of entitlement: They aren’t thanking because it’s part of their job. Maybe they’ll save the “Thank You”‘s for when the meal comes, or at the end of the service.
It’s by no means the only qualifier for a job interview but it should definitely stick out. Heffernan writes, “… those who never acknowledge the people who work for them are people nobody would want to work for. Making those around you feel invisible is the opposite of leadership. On the other hand, noticing everyone and making them feel valued– well, who wouldn’t want to work with that?”
Apply to other areas
A meal may not be feasible for every job interview, but you can still test this out.
Don’t ask the candidate if he or she would like anything to drink. Instead, have a receptionist bring two cups of water during the beginning of the interview and note the reaction. Is the candidate making eye contact? Does their “thank you” sound sincere?
Again, these are by no means the sole qualifiers for finding the right candidate. But it is a great baseline to determine how this person will work and interact with the rest of your team.
Try it out during your next interview and see how it works.