How to Survive the Un-Happy Hour

Wondering how to act on an informal job interview? Modern Manners Guy explains why you should never underestimate the impact of first impressions.


Richie Frieman
2-minute read

How to Survive the Un-Happy Hour

Last week a friend of mine texted me from a bar with the following message: "I have your next Modern Manners Guy article." This friend is a bit younger than me, single, and goes out nearly every night of the week, so his stories usually revolve around social situations. And this story was no different.

While at an upscale bar around 6 pm on a Wednesday, he was sitting adjacent to an informal job interview between a young man and an older woman. She was doing the hiring. My friend couldn't help but overhear their conversation because the young man was already two drinks in before his would-be boss arrived and his voice grew louder with every minute. Things only went downhill from there. And not just downhill, but like a ball of snow growing bigger and bigger with every roll, this encounter spiraled downwards faster and faster, until (like that ball of snow) it crashed hard against a tree into a million little flakes.

On a pre-gaming high, this young man insisted on ordering for the woman he was interviewing with, even when she said she was only going to have coffee. But hey, come on, coffee? Who invited the party pooper, right?  And so he ordered himself a Jack and Coke and got her one, too. Except, he got extra Jack. And no Coke. After the initial pleasantries, their conversation quickly turned into a show-and-tell session from the young man about why he was so fantastic. It didn't take long for the woman to kindly excuse herself for "another appointment" and leave this guy to his other date, Jack Daniels.

Maybe he was nervous, or just immature and needing some liquid confidence, but drinking on a job interview is an absolute no-no. I know, I know, they were at a bar, but that does not mean you get to relive your spring break college days and party like a rock star. No one is impressed by someone who can't hold their alcohol, and on a job interview it's doubly improper. If you are meeting a potential employer for a job-related conversation at a bar or restaurant, you have to use your better judgment. It's rude – not to mention incredibly stupid - to use this time to unwind with a few drinks. If your interviewer orders a drink, do the same. But make it simple, easy, light, and just one. Your future boss wants to know that if they send you out to a client meeting where you are able to drink, you can keep a fine balance between professional and casual.

Don’t underestimate the impact of first impressions.

Drink with lime from Shutterstock