I'm looking for a job, and this recruiter that I've already applied through sent me an email that effectively said:

Sorry I don't have any new information for you. Let me take you out to lunch to make up for the wait.

Is this common? Realistically, a simple lunch isn't going to make me wait on this job if they take too long, so I don't understand the invitation. Should I be anticipating any ulterior motives?

  • Free lunch answers below are all good so I won’t add one. Just consider they get a better « picture » of you as a candidate and can represent you better to possible employers...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 2:24
  • 1
    He needs an excuse to put a nice meal on his expenses claim. Don't read anything more into it than that!
    – alephzero
    Commented Mar 16, 2019 at 17:32

3 Answers 3


Recruiters rely heavily on their connections. It might not make sense to lunch someone with no update in a straightforward pragmatic sense, but from a networking perspective it is important. They probably don't want to lose you as a potential client and are looking to reassure you that they are still working for you. Not only that but some time down the road if you are in a position to help them you might do so because you think favorably of them.


Taking people out to lunch is a common professional-level behavior, especially for anyone involved in something in or adjacent to sales and service. Its called relationship building, I think is the most popular current term.

It is also generally something someone in such a professional position can expense. Free lunch for you, and also free lunch for them because they can expense the whole thing as a business lunch. And if it helps them develop a relationship in a way that is profitable for them, double-bonus. But if not - again, free lunch for them, too.

If you don't want to go, you are not obligated and can politely decline if you like. But if you are open to going it generally isn't something terribly weird in my experience, and you should get use to business lunches if it isn't something you've done before. Its just a chance to chat and, well, eat. It should go without saying you'd still need to treat is as a business function, dress appropriately, etc. - just because its a casual lunch doesn't mean it isn't a form of interview on its own.

  • 2
    +1 it's an expense. It won't likely cost them out of pocket
    – Summer
    Commented Mar 15, 2019 at 23:00

They want to maintain a good relationship with you so that you will keep using their services. It's pretty straightforward, there's nothing particularly malicious going on. Enjoy your free lunch!

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