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Looking around at mealtime in the cafeteria, one might see students sitting on their phones, shoving food in their faces, and slouching over their tables. That mealtime behavior probably won’t help land them a job.

The career services office is holding an etiquette dinner to prepare students for professional dining experiences on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Dow H. The class is intended for students to gain experience and comfortability in a formal dining setting, Director of Career Services Joanna Wiseley said.

Receiving her training from DTN Productions International, an etiquette training company, Wiseley is a certified business etiquette-dining trainer who has taught this class at Hillsdale for 15 years.

“I will give students the tools necessary to effectively interview while having to eat,” Wiseley said.

Wiseley will guide the students through a four-course meal: soup, salad, main course, and dessert.

“As you are in an interview setting, you are being interviewed the entire time,” Wiseley said. “You have to learn how to be an effective communicator.”

Wiseley said etiquette is not just eating properly, but it’s also about how to carry an appropriate business conversation within a meal. She said she intends to cover everything from appropriate topics during dinner to proper silverware usage.  

“People will be surprised on how much there is to learn,” Wiseley said. “There is so much more than just the meal itself.”

Senior Bilyana Petkova attended last year’s dinner and  said she found the event beneficial.

Despite being raised to act politely, she said often it is easy to forget the smaller etiquette details.

“The class taught me how to put my napkin down, how to eat a salad, etiquette for hierarchy at the table, when to stop eating, what to order on the menu, how to carry conversation, and how to properly excuse yourself,” Petkova said. “I think it’s really important for young people going into the professional world to know how to eat.”

Sophomore Erin Koch will attend the event, because of the class’s professional value.

“I think that knowing how to eat in a professional setting is really beneficial, and where else would I learn these skills?” she said.

Up to 50 students can attend the class by signing up on Handshake.