Q.: Karen, is it ever OK to order a drink during a job interview? I was interviewed recently over dinner and my host ordered a drink, but I declined. Could that be perceived as being judgmental toward drinking?
A.: I don't recommend ordering an alcoholic drink during a job interview even if the boss orders one. The boss has a job, so his or her ordering a drink is not as much of a liability as it would be for you or anyone who is a job candidate.
Drinking alcohol lowers your inhibitions and can lull you into being more relaxed or familiar. It is important to have all of your wits about you when interviewing for a job and show off your best qualities. Consider the idea that maybe that boss is testing your judgment in ordering a drink for himself to see what you would do.
New research shows people who drink alcoholic beverages during a job interview are perceived to be less intelligent and less likely to get a job, even if the boss orders an alcoholic beverage.
I suggest being on the safe side and not ordering an alcoholic beverage.
After you get the job, it is still very important to pace yourself with drinking alcohol at work-related events when alcohol is offered. Stick to one drink and nurse it all evening.
Karen Hickman is a local certified etiquette/protocol consultant and owner of Professional Courtesy. To submit questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.