Top 6 Key Food Strategies When Interviewing For A Job

Hummus and Pita/Veggies photo“To keep the body in good health is a duty, otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ― Buddha

Just this week, I coached a client on landing his dream job.  To get there he would have to complete a full day of virtual interviews, deliver a presentation and a complete a writing assignment.  Her day would start at 8:15a with a 30 min lunch break and wrap up at 4p.  We strategized his interview approach including:

  • the success stories he would share
  • key questions he would ask
  • what he would wear (a suit and shoes – I always coach my clients to wear shoes even if the interview if virtual), and
  • what’s in his zoom background  (leveraging insights from Emmy-award winning producer Calia Brencsons Van Dyk on how to ace a video interview.)

We also talked about food.  It might sound strange to get career coaching on what you eat the day of the interview, but I’m finding it’s crucial.

According to Eva Selhub MD, Contributing Editor at Harvard Health Publishing, “your brain requires a constant supply of fuel. That “fuel” comes from the foods you eat — and what’s in that fuel makes all the difference.”  To help you be at your best for your next interview, consider preparing your approach to food as seriously as preparing your response to interview questions such as, “Tell me about yourself.”

Food Strategies For Your Next Interview:

  1. Drink Water – While taking a class on training your brain, I found out years ago that the water is brain food.  To think straight you need to be properly hydrated.  Before coffee or tea in the morning, considering starting with warm lemon water.  And  have a glass of water on hand to drink during the interview.  Put a few refillable bottles of water within reach but out of camera view so that you can always have water available.  I learned from my days in radio at SIRIUSXM not to drink water that is too cold or too hot as it can affect the vocal cords and the pitch of one’s voice.  Luke warm or even room temperature water will help you sound your best.
  2. Get Omega 3s – Food can also boost  your mood.  According to this article in New Hampshire magazine, “Heart-healthy fats — specifically omega-3 fatty acids — can also provide a leg up on gaining and maintaining a buckwheat pancakesbright outlook.”  Salmon is a good source so consider having a small piece of poached salmon over a bed of rice or salad  for lunch (if your interview is in the afternoon or spans an entire day like my client’s).  Flax seed is also a great source and can be an egg substitute for those who prefer vegan.  I like the flax and complex carbohydrates in this vegan buckwheat pancake recipe.
  3. Choose Complex Carbohydrates – To maintain your energy levels, consider choosing whole grains over refined white flour and sugar for your pre-interview meal.  Whole grains like whole wheat, rye, and pumpernickel will make your feel fuller longer so you won’t hear your stomach growling during your interview.  Whole grains won’t cause a drop in blood sugar either the way white flour and sugar will so you won’t feel tired or sluggish and risk yawning while speaking with a prospective employer.
  4. Avoid The Meat and Grain Combo – Another way to avoid a food coma (especially for interviews after lunch), is to not eat meat and grains together.  Because the body digests protein and carbohydrates at different rates, meat and grains are a tough combination requiring a lot of energy and can leave one feeling tired.  Instead, combine veggies and grains and choose veggie stir fry over rice or combine meat and veggies and put turkey in a lettuce wrap.  Avoid the roast beef sandwich or pasta with meatballs on the day of your interview.
  5. Avoid Sugary, Highly Caffeinated Drinks  – When you’re interviewing for a job that’s a fit for your core genius and talents, you are naturally energized and excited.  If you need a Red Bull to get through the interview, you might want to “get your wings” and fly right out of that job or field.  Consider doing a Soul Search, Research and Job Search so you can find work you love where you are naturally motivated in the interview and in the job.  One note here, if you normally have afternoon coffee every day at 3p, you might not want to skip it on the day of the interview.  Lack of caffeine can cause a headache or perhaps your body will miss its usual energy boost.  Best not to change a routine and throw your body a curve ball the day of your interview in this case.
  6. Don’t Over Eat or Over Drink – Even if you have a long day of interviews, it’s best not to over eat before or during.  Rather, be a little hungry to get the job.  And consider avoiding alcoholic drinks the night before an interview so you can get a good night’s rest and wake up refreshed.   You can celebrate landing your new job with a glass of your favorite adult beverage after you get the offer.

Food affects how we think, how we feel and how much energy we have not only for the interview but for the job.  If you want to land your dream job, prepare yourself for the interview with brain food and have healthy snacks (like nuts or hummus with pita).  Your body and brain will respond with vibrant health and energy which are attractive qualities to any employer.

“…You gotta eat healthy and live healthy to be healthy and look healthy. End of story.”― Morgan Spurlock