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To eat or not to eat, that is the question.  As an employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer, in one of my “Give Your Employees C.R.A.P…®and 7 Other Secrets to Employee Retention” workshops, one of the participants felt that having a meal with the potential candidate would help them to assess fit for the job.  It is an interesting philosophy.

You may take a candidate to lunch or dinner depending on the time and length of the interview.  After all, you don’t want to be rude…or starve the candidate to death!  The question is…do you use the “meal” process as a conscious way to help assess for fit?

Sitting down for a meal, or perhaps even a cup of coffee, can be a way to get the candidate to relax and be themselves.  I have found most candidate do relax as the process goes along depending on how the interviewer handles it.  I would always tell the candidate to relax, enjoy the meal or coffee and that it was not some test of their etiquette skills.  Frankly, I wanted to eat or to have a cup of coffee which was why I was taking them.  It was not a make or break in the hiring decision what they ordered or how poised they were with their fork and knife.

What I am trying to determine is if I would enjoy working with the “real” person and not someone that is trying to be someone else to get the job.  This is important from an employee retention strategies perspective as well as an organizational performance perspective.  As an employee retention expert, anything that helps both the candidate and the organization assess for fit should be used.  If sharing a meal or having a cup of coffee with the candidate helps you in the process, I say…”Go for it!”