Interviews, Watercooler

What Not to Eat or Drink Before a Job Interview

The moment is almost here: you’ve practiced as many interview questions’ responses as you can; you thoroughly read every page of the company’s Web site; read the latest news about the company and their industry; and read all the reviews on about what employees and previous job candidates think about the company.  You are otherwise completely prepared, so why screw up it all up by not thinking about what you’re putting in your body? Based on our experiences, here are some things NOT to imbibe before heading to the all-important interview:

Just say NO to beans: ‘Beans, beans the magical fruit, the more you eat the more you toot’, or so the rhyme goes…in other words beware of a bean’s after effects. Last thing you want to worry about is controlling flatulence as you’re trying to sound witty and smart. NOTE: the same rule applies to high-fiber cereals.

Keep it slow on the joe: Sure, most of us need a little pick me up in the morning or after lunch, but don’t overdo it. You want to walk into that interview with a sense of calm, confidence and clear thinking, not with a mad rush of thoughts and concepts you are dying to share with your interviewer. Or worse, you don’t want to be overwhelmed by caffeine jitters, which can keep you from pulling together a concise thought or sitting still and being an active listener.  Caffeinate in the a.m. and opt for water while onsite (just watch the limits – see below).

Watch the water: Water is a good thing: no calories, no fat, no carbs and keeps your brain healthy (according to But with water comes the need for bathroom breaks. Don’t let too much water cause you to nervously wiggle in your seat during the interview. Take the advice your mom always told you and ‘go before you go.’

Don’t become known as ‘Dragon Breath’: We love garlic in food, but it doesn’t inspire warm fuzzy feelings when experiencing it through another’s breath. According to Wikipedia, “Allyl methyl sulfide, a gas found in garlic, is absorbed into the blood during the metabolism of garlic; from the blood it travels to the lungs (creating bad breath) and skin where it is exuded through skin pores.” Uh, no thank you. A Glassdoor stat finds that 43% of job interviews include either a 1:1 in person discussion, group/panel interview or a presentation, so keeping your body fresh and breath minty fresh can truly make a difference. Bottom line, avoid garlic the night, or for some of you the morning, before a big interview.

Control your spiciness: Testing your stomach the night before an interview with a 5-alarm chili or hot curry that makes your forehead sweat and your bowels grumble is not a good idea – trust us. And do you really want to find out what the after-effect of that hot spicy meal will be during your interview? We didn’t think so.

Gum can be sticky thing: Don’t pop a piece of gum into your mouth before the job interview because if you forget to take it out and are snapping away, it might not communicate the right message about your seriousness in wanting the job. In this situation, go with mints if you need a quick breath freshener.

And of course, don’t slosh back one too many beers or cocktails before your big day. A nice quiet meal and a good night’s rest can do wonders to help you feel you are on your A-game.

What do you avoid in terms of food and drink before an interview?