Scenario : An employer announces a walk-in interview. The number of candidates that shows up would typically be above fifty. Most of candidates would be seated in conference rooms or waiting rooms while they await their interview slot.
While we are all waiting for our turns, the employer's HR representatives often provide refreshments (sandwiches, packaged drinks etc). Sometimes, the refreshments are brought in after candidates have arrived, at which point the HR rep bringing in the refreshments announces that they are for the candidates. Everything would be fine until then.
Sometimes, one or two candidates thank the HR rep bringing in the refreshments with a simple, 'Thank you so much' or similar, and the HR rep reciprocates by smiling or by saying, 'Welcome.' However, there are certain scenarios where the HR rep seems to get offended by such Thank You statements.
Recently, I attended such an interview session, and one of the female candidates said, 'Thank you for this gesture' upon being presented with the refreshments. At that point, the HR rep's face turned red. The HR rep was a senior guy, must have been in his later thirties or early forties. He was staring at her for the entire time and it was quite an uncomfortable situation for her.
What should the norm be in these kind of cases? Is 'Thank you for this gesture' a little overwhelming for this situation? How can a candidate acknowledge these kind of gestures?