Applicants are like guests-they are there because the interviewer invited them to visit them at their office and discuss the possibility of employment. Just as a conscientious host would volunteer the information that the parking lot is for residents only at their home, so should an interviewer be proactive and offer this information to the applicant.
(Sorry I'm late in responding, I've been away.)
I definitely agree with you on the importance of being courteous. But I think it's a mistake to view a job interview as a guest/host relationship
, or to apply the rules of social etiquette to a situation that involves business etiquette.
(By the way, I'm not trying to pick on you personally, KeenReader, I just think that this is an interesting topic for discussion; thanks for introducing it!)
A social host is obligated to see to their guest's comfort and provide things to make their lives easier, which would include providing food and drink and careful directions and pleasant social conversation. In a business situation like a job interview, however, both parties are conducting business, not socializing, and neither is considered responsible for the other person's comfort. In business etiquette, people should be pleasant, keep appointments they've scheduled, and so on, but a different set of rules apply.
For instance, in a social situation, it's polite to ask someone about their partner and children. In business etiquette in the US, it could be rude (and possibly illegal) to ask such questions, especially during a job interview.
In business etiquette, everyone conducting business together is expected to be able to carry themselves professionally, which includes feeding themselves and getting themselves where they need to be, for instance. I might expect to be fed if a friend invited me to her house during a mealtime, for example, but I'd never show up to a job interview and say, "I'm hungry - don't you have some lunch for me?"
I think it's better to think of a job interview as if you were a salesman. Someone has done you the courtesy of giving you some time and attention in the middle of a busy day when they could be getting other things done, and you have a brief opportunity to convince them to hire you. Instead of worrying about what they should be doing for you, you should be thinking about how to make their life easier and persuading them to enter into a real business relationship
Just my opinion (and this is based on my experiences on both sides of the interview desk)... great topic!