An interviewer doesn’t even have to ask a question to get this answer, sometimes they just offer a drink and observe the result. It may seem like a strange area to prompt it, but research is very important.
One job seeker related the story of asking for a Coke when interviewing at a restaurant. He didn’t get the job because the restaurant had a long term deal with Pepsi. It’s not that anyone was insulted about his asking for a Coke, but the interviewer knew the job seeker hadn’t done any research on the restaurant. Companies want people who are interested enough to do some research.
Another thing to avoid is mentioning alcoholic beverages, unless it’s a job requirement.
“I enjoy a good wine with dinner. I guess it leads right to my skill with wine tasting.”
Except in specific situations, non-alcoholic drinks are best mentioned in this answer. Companies not only don’t want people who may drink too much, but non-drinkers have fewer medical problems, and thus cheaper health care costs and fewer lost work days for the company.
• Cola or other soft drinks (without mention of brand names unless you know the company doesn’t have a deal with another brand.)
• Energy or power drinks (again, with attention to brands.)
• Juices – considered healthy.
• Water – an always safe alternative.
• Coffee – common but watch out for the caffeine addiction connotation.
Even the seemingly best choice might have a down side, so make sure to include a brief explanation that downplays any negatives.
“I love a small glass of orange juice with breakfast. It has a lot of sugar, so I tried low sugar and low sodium types, they’re very good.”
“I enjoy a good cola, and really don’t like the sugar free kinds. So I drink it in moderation.”
“A good cup of coffee gets me going in the morning, but I’m not the type of person who crumbles without it.”
“I drink a lot of water, it refreshes me like nothing else can.”
Avoid putting down other choices directly. You never know what the interviewer likes, unless they’re drinking something during the interview. Don’t try to impress by mentioning or choosing the same drink the interviewer is drinking, unless it’s the drink you really like or want.
For example “I only drink water. I can’t believe people drink soft drinks, that stuff is poison,” doesn’t score points, and may insult someone.
This woman, needless to say, didn’t get the job after this answer. “Before lunch it’s whiskey, beer with or after lunch, but only wine at dinner or before bed.”