I was interviewing for a really great job and the head of what would be my new department asked to meet me for an interview over lunch. I met him at the fancy restaurant that he had selected. We had what I thought was a positive interview until the very end. He concluded the interview, asked the waiter to split the check in half and then excused himself after paying his half. Was I wrong to assume that he was going to pick up the tab? Am I being overly sensitive if this makes me think twice about accepting if I receive an offer?
You dear, sweet thing. [Say this with the tone of a grand southern dame who is about to skewer you.] You do not need to worry about imminent offers if you were left with half the bill. He was probably meeting the next finalist over coffee as you were figuring out how much to leave for a tip.
The following advice is too late for this time, but if this ever happens to you again don’t be such a sap. The next time an interviewer asks the server to split the check when you expected a free ride, immediately say you had too much water during lunch and need to use the restroom but will be right back. Then go — and by go, I mean home.
— Evil Skippy
If someone invites you to a job interview over lunch, they are implying to pay. That’s what I say and I have my own world-famous blog. However, I don’t agree with ES that this guy made you pay because he had already decided not to hire you. It’s possible it never occurred to him that you expected the company to pay for your meal. I can’t actually think of a plausible reason right now why someone would think that, but I suppose there could be one.
In your place, the moment the guy asked for separate checks I would have expressed surprise. (Note that I did not say that I would express shock, anger or disdain). I simply would have said that I was surprised because I’d thought it was the usual custom for the interviewer to pay. I then would have reached for my wallet to get my credit card – and however the interviewer explained would determine whether or not I was interested in pursuing the position.
Readers – what would you have done?
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