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Later this week, I'm going to have dinner with a partner that flew in from another state. This will be my second interview. I was just given a date/time, location, and the person's phone number. My questions are:

  • Exactly when should I call the person? How many times?
  • How will I know where he's sitting?
  • How early should I arrive?
  • Should I dress business professional?
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  1. Call the person during business hours. Leave a message if no response, then call again in 24 hours.

  2. Ask him.

  3. Based on response to 2. If he says to meet him in the lobby before being seated, get there 10 minutes early and wait until he arrives. If he's already been seated, ask the host(ess) for him (if it's that kind of restaurant), or ask to look for him.

  4. Look up the restaurant, the menu, and the prices. Dress for that. If it's a super-nice restaurant, suit and tie, or maybe sport coat without tie. If it's anything less, a collared shirt and slacks is probably the most dressed down you want to be.

  • Even if it is fast-food, dress for the interview. That can still be casual, but maybe not. – user8365 Apr 17 '14 at 19:29
  • I think there is this saying about first impressions "where people making an opinion within the first 30 seconds of meeting you". There is another saying "dress to impress" both apply to this meeting. – Ramhound Apr 18 '14 at 11:28
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Rule number 1: don't be late.

Assuming you have been given the name of the restaurant then determine if they have a dress code. You will want to dress just as you would for a regular interview, with the additional requirement that you meet the standards of the restaurant. It is never wrong to be over-dressed for the restaurant, but very bad to be under-dressed for the restaurant.

The reservation should either be in the name of the partner or the name of the company. That is how you will find them. The staff at the restaurant will escort you to his table. If they are not at the restaurant, wait for them to arrive. If the place doesn't take reservations you will have to call them a few minutes before the agreed time to meet.

I wouldn't call the person before the agreed to time. Treat this as any other interview. If you didn't call them multiple times to confirm the initial interview, then don't call multiple times for this one.

You may want to drive buy the restaurant to find parking or public transportation in advance. This prevents confusion in the critical minutes before the meeting. Also decide what you will order before going to the restaurant. Pick items at the lower prices levels. Take the partners lead on the question of alcohol, but decide what you will order based on the options.

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    Rule 2 - Don't drink alcohol on an interview. It doesn't matter if they are shotgunning whiskey, you stick with your iced tea or water. Nothing carbonated, either, as a surprise belch will be something you will likely regret. – Wesley Long Apr 17 '14 at 21:38
  • Related to Rule 2: workplace.stackexchange.com/q/107/325 – Monica Cellio Apr 17 '14 at 22:47

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