I have posted several times about not bringing coffee to an interview at someone’s office. My premise is simple, if it turns off only 5% of the interviewers, then why take a chance? A couple of weeks ago I came to a new realization – people actually bring coffee into restaurant while interviewing.
I met a friend at Maialino in the Gramercy Park Hotel, which is a great place for breakfast and a very good place for interviewing since the tables are reasonably spaced. I was early so I was chatting with the maitre d’. I noticed a gentleman sitting at a table with a Starbucks coffee cup. I couldn’t believe that someone would actually bring their own coffee into a restaurant. I remarked about it to the gentleman I was chatting with. He then told me that what surprised him most was the huge number of people who brought coffee into the restaurant while obviously being interviewed for a job. I was blown away by this realization.
It is one thing to bring coffee into someone’s office, and while I don’t approve, it is relatively harmless. However, bringing coffee into a restaurant interview is not only rude, it is an outrageous. After all, that is how a restaurant makes its money.
As a result of that encounter, I have been taking a quick survey at restaurants which are open for breakfast and asked about the frequency of this. To my shock and dismay, I find out it is very common. One hostess told me that on any given morning, I would find half a dozen people with their own coffee, many of them on interviews. Yiikes.
I can only believe that the rudeness in unintentional – people are so used to their morning routine of buying coffee on the way to the office, that when they go to a restaurant, it never crosses their mind not to buy and bring coffee into the restaurant. Mostly, I believe that they don’t even realize that they have done so because it is so much a part of their routine.
I can’t think of a faster way to blow an interview. If the candidate is unaware that bringing coffee is a no-no, I guaranty that whoever is interviewing them is aware of the brought coffee. If bringing coffee into someone’s office turns off 5% of the people, bringing it into a restaurant has to offend 95%. If I were in human resources or was a hiring manager, I would never hire anyone who is that unthinking about their environment, no matter how inadvertent it is.