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Asked by Tanya on March 23, 2017

What is the proper etiquette when doing an informational interview with someone I don’t know? Should I pay for our coffee/lunch?

Answered by Allegra, Hiring Expert at Cigna, on March 23, 2017

Hi, great question! There really is no standard around who pays for this, as many companies have guidelines in place related to whether candidates can pay for meals or other items for a recruiter or hiring manager. I would suggest offering to pay, and the manager or recruiter will let you know if there are any restrictions. Personally, I would offer to pay since the meeting was at my request. I applaud you for thinking about this ahead of time!

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Answered by Stephanie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on April 4, 2017

Absolutely! You’re asking someone to help you out, so start off on the right foot by inviting them to coffee or lunch and picking up the tab. It’s the least you can do in exchange for sharing their time and knowledge - and potentially even a lead to the career of your dreams.

If they would prefer to pay for themselves, they will let you know.  But the gesture will be appreciated!

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Answered by Traci, Hiring Expert at Accenture, on June 12, 2017

I think in most situations, whether you know the person or not, if you have requested the interview its nice to offer to pay for coffee or lunch. There is no documented proper etiquette for this of course, but I think it’s a great gesture to at least offer. Depending on the dynamic between you and the person you’re interviewing, they may very well decline, but the fact that you offered can go a long way in showing appreciation for their time and effort!

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