An opportunity to learn manners

Gretchen Burns | Collegio Writer

Mindy Cloninger, director of career services, says students need to know proper etiquette in professional interviews and settings, especially when it comes to dining.
“We all have certain eating habits that are fine within the personal secluded environment of our home, like drinking from the cereal bowl,” Cloninger said. “But when you are participating in an interview, and are eating, students need to know what is appropriate and what isn’t.”
Cloninger says that is why the career services department will host “More Than Manners,” an etiquette event for students. It will be at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 24 in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom at the Overman Student Center.
“What we have found in a lot of interviews, is that there is some portion that will revolve around eating,” Cloninger said. “Whether it is a coffee run with donuts when they first walk in, lunch, dinner or an after hours social.”
She says the goal of the dinner is to prepare students to present themselves confidently and professionally in a dining interview setting. Employers take a prospective student to eat as a way to observe them and help decide if they want to hire them.
“If the position you are interviewing for will put you in a situation where you will be dining with prospective clients or other interviews,” Cloninger said. “The employers want to know that you will be able to handle yourself appropriately and professionally, and that you will be able to represent the company in a positive manner.”
She says the event also helps students prepare for other situations like attending a spouse’s business dinner.
Peggy Snyder, director of institutional research, will be the speaker. Cloninger says Snyder has participated in this event for several years and covers several topics in a humorous way.
She says Snyder will cover topics such as how to discreetly handle food issues that might come up during a meal, such as food allergens or a dislike of the particular food.
Alcohol will also be discussed and students will learn about making wise choices in professional settings.
Cloninger says students who attend will learn what kinds of foods are easily managed while talking during an interview, and which ones to avoid.
“If you’re getting interviewed, you’ll probably be talking more than 90 percent of the time,” Cloninger said. “There’s a good chance that you won’t get to eat very much of the food that is in front of you, so we advise students to stick a granola bar in their purse or pocket and eat it in the restroom, so you aren’t starved.”
According to Cloninger, the event is relaxed and casual.
Students will learn how to network at a reception without getting cornered by a chatty person when there are other people they wish to get their name to.
Students can register for the event online and make the $10 payment online or in person at the careers services office. Students who attend are asked to dress in business casual attire, so that they get a more realistic environment.

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