The informal Chat – Interview with an employer
In Ireland, it is very popular to be asked to meet “for a cup of coffee and a wee chat” with a potential employer.
This informal chat is often the precursor to a formal interview. Despite the presence of exotic coffee and the location often being an upmarket coffee shop, this is still an interview and the same level of preparation should be applied as for a formal interview.
Business casual will normally suffice in regards what to wear as the chances are that your interviewer will be dressed in a similar attire, in order to make you more relaxed for this “informal chat”. However, don’t relax too much as there is a proportion of employers who prefer the informal interview scenario to a formal one as they feel that that interviewees tend to me more honest and forthright in these comfortable and familiar surroundings.
Be wary of speaking too freely or criticising previous or current employers, even if this is the normal discussion with friends in a coffee shop.
Remember that the interviewer is not your friend (yet!) so be careful not to get over familiar and be sure to watch what you say in order to maintain the same level of professionalism that you would maintain in a formal interview environment.
Be sure to bring extra copies of your CV, arrive on time and prepare your interview answers as if you were in a boardroom as you may be surprised that the interviewer may not be merely carrying out a scoping exercise but may be willing to hire the right candidate on the spot, as a result of your informal discussion.
A good tip is to visualise that you are in a formal interview environment and pretend that you are in the company’s boardroom when you are engaging with your potential employer and carefully tailor your answers to show how you can add value to your potential employer.
Talk to one of our specialist consultants who will offer leading edge advice and connect you with the best employers by discipline, industry or location.