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The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


The skinny on lunch

Will the lunch hour soon go the way of carbon paper and the typewriter? It's possible, suggests a recent survey.

The poll shows the average time spent on lunch breaks is 40 minutes, well under the traditional hour. In fact, 27% of respondents said it was shorter compared to the length of their breaks three years ago.

The survey, developed by staffing service OfficeTeam, included responses from 100 executives with Canada's 1,000 largest companies, who were asked: What is the average length of your typical lunch break? The mean response was 40 minutes.

Survey respondents were also asked, "Are your lunch breaks longer or shorter than they were three years ago? Their responses:

Somewhat longer 5%

No change 68

Somewhat shorter 15

Significantly shorter 12


Liz Hughes, v-p of OfficeTeam, offers the following tips on how to break for lunch on your busiest days:
  • Set a schedule. Keep a running list of what you plan to accomplish in the morning, and what you will tackle in the afternoon. Make your lunch the break between the two sets of projects.
  • Be reachable. If you're worried about missing an important call or the chance to provide input on a critical project, ask a colleague to cover for you during your break. Carry a cell phone and let the person know when you plan to return.
  • Be practical. Limit stress by avoiding major traffic routes and crowded restaurants. Maximize your time by checking off something from your weekend to-do list. Use your break to visit the dry cleaner, buy a birthday gift or get your car washed.


    First impressions count when interviewing for a new position -- and apparently so do second and third. In fact, 44% of advertising and marketing executives polled recently said candidates for staff positions typically participate in three job interviews before employment offers are extended. An additional 19% require four or more meetings.

    The survey, developed by staffing service The Creative Group, was conducted by an independent research firm and includes 250 responses.

    Advertising and marketing executives were asked, "How many times does your firm typically interview each candidate for staff positions before extending a job offer?"

    Their responses:

    One .2%

    Two 34

    Three 44

    Four 12

    Five to six .5

    Seven to 10 .2

    Don't know/no answer .1


    Tracey Turner, executive director of The Creative Group, offers the following tips to help job seekers manage multiple interviews:
  • Address individual needs. Emphasize qualities that are apt to appeal to the interviewer.
  • Stay on message. While you want to target your remarks to each interviewer, be consistent in your comments on general topics, such as your career goals.
  • Try the mirroring technique. Using body language and a speaking style similar to that of your interviewer can help him or her feel more at ease in your presence, allowing for a stronger connection.
  • Meet in the morning. Scheduling meetings at the start of the day can be advantageous, since interviewers are less likely to be tired or distracted.
  • Say thank you. Get a business card from each interviewer so you can send a thank-you note.

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