Should You Eat Before an Interview?

{ Dear Cookbook, There’s not a lot of money for food these days, is it really that important to eat before an interview? My dad always used to say if you were hungry you’d work harder. Doesn’t this apply to job interviews too? Thanks, Ethan }

Now that I’ve been established as a ‘leader’ in my field, I get a lot of pretty lame questions. And even though I think they are lame, it’d look bad if I didn’t answer them. And Ethan, this is one of those questions. You’re wondering why it’s important to eat before an interview? Well, let me tell you why: #1 you don’t want your tummy to grumble and #2 you can’t afford to be weak.

No tummy grumbling. Seriously, if your tummy starts grumbling during an interview you might as well be holding up a cardboard sign that says “will work for food.” Not to mention if your interviewer somehow overlooks the fact you haven’t eaten, he’s going to low ball you on your salary because he knows you’re desperate. And that’s if you’re lucky. What if the interviewer mistakes your tummy grumbling for gas? No matter how broke you are, this is a cardinal rule you just can’t afford to break.

Don’t let them see your weakness. Another reason not to skip food on the day of an interview is that it will make you weak. And if you remember back to my Interview Dos & Don’ts post, it is important you physically show your interviewer how strong you are. How are you going to be able to push your interviewer down if you can barely stand without help? On top of being physically weak, not eating will also make you mentally weak. How can you answer those tricky interview questions if you don’t have full control over your mental facilities?

So you see, no matter how broke you are, it’s important that you don’t go to an interview on an empty stomach.

Now some of you might be wondering if you can use these two things to your advantage during the interview, and I’ve thought about that too, but it never really works out the way you’d think. If you are just looking for a free meal, odds are you might be able to get something out of the interviewer when you tell them that you haven’t eaten in three days. However, most of the time it’s just a stale donut from the conference room or somebody’s old left over’s that even the office garbage disposal wouldn’t eat. So it’s not really worth it and instead you should keep your eye on the prize.

 Work For Food


Are you thinking about using some of this advice before your next interview?  Before you do, let’s take a gander at Jobless Johnny and Hireable Hank’s results:

Jobless Johnny decided to go against the grain on this one, despite normally following the Cookbook’s “advice.” He didn’t see how appearing well fed would get anyone to hire him and decided that adding a “will work 4 food” sign to his interview attire was actually a great idea. So far, he’s been mistaken for a homeless man and thrown out of every interview he’s tried applying for. Johnny’s resilient though, and he’s going to keep on trying.

Hireable Hank was surprised to hear that the Cookbook was actually giving worthwhile advice for a change. While he doesn’t agree with the Cookbook’s reasoning, he does agree with making sure you eat before an interview. He has eaten a well balanced meal or snack before each interview this week and feels confident that he did his best.


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