The interview stage is undeniably the most intimidating and terrifying stage of applying for a new job. As recruiters, it is our role to prepare you for this process and make sure you understand what to expect and what can come out of an interview. Coffee interviews are a more contemporary and relaxed alternative to allow the employer / recruiter to understand you better in a less professional and more personal environment.
Coffee interviews are designed to bring both parties to an even playing field. People might often feel intimidated stepping into another person’s office or work setting with other employees staring you down. Coffee interviews alleviate this issue which in turn helps both parties. Even though it is more relaxed, it is important to still treat it like any other job interview.
We have put together a list of things to always remember and keep in mind.
Prepare like you would any other interview – It is important to stay professional and ensure you are well equipped and prepared. Have anything the employer might want from you (ie. CV, certifications, references etc.) ready to go the day prior so you are minimising your stress and nerves.
Confirm the interview – As the interview is taking place in a more public setting, there can be some confusion as to the location. It is smart to confirm the interview prior and get correct address. It is also smart to obtain the last name of the person you are meeting so you don’t get confused with the other people in the shop.
Dress like a regular interview unless specified – The way you present yourself when meeting someone for the first time more likely than not will have a lasting impression. Unless specified, it is important to dress the same way you would dress if the interview were held in their office. After all it is better to overdress than underdress.
If you have arrived early - wait outside until employer arrives. This is just being courteous of the person you are meeting. Keep an eye out though, if tables are filling up quick, grab one and wait at the table until the employer arrives. Message the employer and let them know the tables were filling up and you were lucky to grab one.
Treat it like a date – In terms of what to purchase, whoever sent the invitation should be the one to pay, which is most likely the employer. It is also unwise to order food unless the other party does, but if you do, order something small otherwise it can get messy and unpleasant. Try to avoid any drinks other than Coffee, Tea or water otherwise those too can be quite messy.
Be polite to everyone in the shop – Although you are only being assessed by the employer, the way you interact with the other people in the shop will leave an impression on the employer and give them insight into how you deal with other people. Order your coffee the best way you can.
Finally, always follow up – Whether this is a coffee interview or a regular interview in the office, always follow up with the other party via message, call or e-mail, to thank them for their time in meeting them and that you look forward to hearing what they have to say.