The first step of getting a freelance assignment or long-term project usually starts with an in-person interview. Here’s your opportunity to see the interviewer up close. Although many people will be on their best behavior, sometimes interviewers take advantage of their power in the situation and behave far below their best.

Don’t you hate it when… Your job interview involves food … but not for you. Here are three true-story scenarios (that happened to me), which will make you lose your appetite — for the job!

  • Your interviewer leads you into her office where the smell of fish almost knocks you off your feet. Before beginning the interview, she picks up her fork and says, “Excuse me, but I’m so busy I have to eat during our interview. And I’m on a special diet that makes me eat fish daily. I hope you don’t mind.”

  • You are a few minutes into the interview when the interviewer suddenly unwraps a giant cookie and starts eating, using your resume as his placemat! Then he continues to talk while chewing with his mouth wide open, sending food tidbits flying toward you while scattering crumbs everywhere.

  • You are ushered into a conference room and you both see the pathetic, wilted remains of a breakfast or lunch meeting lingering on a platter in the center of the table. Your interviewer gestures toward the food and actually asks if you’d like some, although she hasn’t a clue how long the food has been festering on the table. How unappetizing! No thanks!

Wouldn’t you love to…

Come prepared to your next interview! Bring a picnic basket filled with your favorite foods. Before the interview begins, spread a napkin or small tablecloth over the interviewer’s desk or the conference table, arrange the food, and dig in!

To be polite, you can offer the interviewer a taste, but don’t let the interview chatter interfere with your enjoyment of every delicious morsel. You never know:The interviewer may give you the job on the spot, based on your willingness to share your delicious food!