Written by Jolene Potter
Students at Eastern Connecticut State University attended a business luncheon with local employers on Sept. 22 to learn about proper etiquette for lunch and dinner interviews. The event was sponsored by Eastern’s Center for Internships and Career Development (CICD).
“This event was an opportunity for students to engage with employers,” said Clifford Marret, director of the CICD, who arranged for professionals from Cigna and the accounting firm Nicola, Yester & Company to attend the event. “It allowed students to practice skills in networking, professionalism and etiquette while enjoying an excellent meal.”
Jeffrey Kwolek, director of Chartwells, Eastern’s food service provider, facilitated the etiquette portion of the event, explaining proper dining manners and conversation protocol.
Among his advice, Kwolek told the students to arrive 10 minutes prior to the scheduled interview time as well as to turn off their cell phones before entering the restaurant. “You want the employer to know that you are fully engaged and focused on the interview,” he said.
Regarding conversation protocol, Kwolek said, “Avoid topics such as politics and religion. You want to keep the conversation geared toward what you will bring to the company as an employee.”
Students were also given tips regarding what type of food to order, where to place utensils and how to maintain positive body language. For instance, when browsing the menu, Kwolek suggested to stay away from messy, large or overly expensive items.
Students were taught the basics of table setup, learning to use their silverware from the outside in for a meal with multiple courses. They were told to drink from the glasses to their right and to use the bread plate to their left. Students were also advised not to place a used utensil on the table, as it is considered unsanitary.
“This was a fantastic event,” said Tessa Jordan, a certified public accountant at Nicola, Yester & Company. “As an Eastern alum I think it’s so important to promote employer and student interaction. This event helped us connect and relate with students.”