These days coffee shops have become more than a place of a hangout and to have fun. Many companies are opting to have interviews also in these places. It might seem an easy option to give an interview in a coffee shop, but that is also a tricky situation to be in.
The idea behind in informal style of an interview is to increase the comfort level where the person can easily talk about themselves wherein an office scenario is a too formal place for an interview. One still needs to be cautious with these coffee shop interview as to what a person is wearing and how they are required to behave:
Coffee Shop Interview Etiquette Guide:
1. Go early and book the table:
It is preferably better to reach early before the interviewer and get the table, it is starting point to leave a better impression on someone.
Nobody likes to wait therefore do not leave an opportunity for them to wait for you. Also, it gives you the option to choose the table as per your choice where you can settle down and be comfortable.
2. Waiting for the person:
While waiting for the person keep up with your patience level, even if it’s in a coffee shop does not mean one has to be impatient. Prevent yourself from tapping the feet or fidgeting with the things around. Sit with patience and with a right attitude, sitting in a casual place does not mean to be overly relaxed but ready for a better coming opportunity.
3. Wear the right outfit:
During office interviews one prefer to wear formals but casual places like coffee shops give you a freedom to choose. Wear something casual but avoid wearing something too jazzy or bright, a light colored top of regular denim will work.
Ensure to wear the right footwear along with it and right makeup, also do not forget to comb your hair properly. No matter how casual the place might be but remember you are still going for an interview.
4. Ambient sound:
Preferably choose a place which is less noisy, it is good to go there and learn about the place before the day of the interview and recognize the ambiance of the place. If in case you find that the place is noisy on the day of an interview, then request the cafe manager to reduce the sound of music with the explanation of interview. If you see the day is crowdy then choose a seat where there are less sound and noise. This will allow you for a better interview.
5. Do your research:
Always do a thorough research about the company. Know about their company and the people in senior management, this information is easily available on the internet. Try contacting someone from the company itself and learn as much you can about the place.
If possible learn about the person whom you will be meeting for the interview, know their designation and work profile. Also, learn about the designation you have applied for and the complete information on the job role of it.
6. Body language:
Generally when in a casual space, one tends to get so relaxed that they forget the importance of body language while conversing with the person. Remember you are here for an interview and your body language matters here too.
Even if this is not the office space, one still needs to remember the interview etiquettes. Do not tap your feet, stretch your arms or fidget with things, or cross your legs. Be relaxed though but sit straight and inattentive position, it will show your interest for the interview.
7. Carry your documents:
Another important aspect is to carry all necessary documents for the interview. Prepare a file few days ahead of the interview and keep all of your documents ready in a place, also, recheck all the documents before reaching to the coffee shop too.
Have all the right documents, in fact, bring extra copies of resume and a business card if you have one. Also, carry a small diary and a pen in cases there is a need to note something important.
8. Be confident:
Definitely, this is just another interview hence it does not mean one need to lose their cool in the process. The advantage of coffee shop interviews is that there is free space around you and is not scary like a formal interview.
Just be confident and be you, answer the questions peacefully and don’t panic. If you don’t know the answer or you are in doubt for something then it is better to inform the person the same rather than trying to cover up the facts and lie.
9. What you will order:
Preferably it is better to wait for the other person before ordering something, in case the person is getting late then it is fine to order a cup of coffee while waiting. It is good to avoid ordering something to eat as it will be highly distracting during the interview.
This kind of interview is generally a discussion from where you both get to interact equally, hence, talking while eating is a major distraction. If the interviewer insists for ordering something to eat, then avoid ordering food like cakes and muffins which are quite difficult to eat in public.
10. Don’t be distracted:
Lot of things goes inside a coffee shop, students might be cheering, people might be talking loud or laughing or something can happen. Be sure not to be distracted among all this. Pay attention to the interview and the questions.
Avoid looking in other direction while answering and look towards the person while answering your questions. In case, you tend to turn back and look then better to apologize for the distraction and again start the interview process with the same ease.
11. Avoid being too casual:
The interview might be going good and you are feeling quite comfortable. But still keep in your mind that you here for an interview. Therefore, prevent using any casual or informal language or any kind of slang.
Remember this is a way to test you how you will behave in a social situation or under stress. You might not be aware how you are being the test, but the process for it still going on.
12. Ask questions:
This is a good chance where you can learn more about the company from an insider’s perspective. Therefore, your research done before the interview will be helpful and better to prepare the list of few questions that you would like to ask.
Learn about the hierarchical structure of the company, the facilities provided to the employees, how promotions functions. Avoid talking directly on the salary part initially as it might leave a negative impression of you in the first attempt.
13. Leave out along with the person:
When the interview is done, it is good to leave along with the person itself. Just saying that you intend to wait there for some more time might seem rude. Walk with them to the door and continue talking with them, it is also good to know the person more on their personal level, for example, for how long the person has been associated with the company or where do they stay. A good connect is always helpful to show a positive side of yours.
14. Who will pay:
In this kind of interview, there is no need for you to pay, let the interviewer pay for it since it will be on the company’s expense? Hence, do not hesitate to let the other person pay for you. If you are that hesitant kind, then it is good to even offer to pay for the coffee. It will be a good gesture from your side and leave a good impression on the interviewer. Also, do not portray it just as a formality from your side.
15. Build network:
After the interview is over that day, it is good to send a thank you note the next day. Whether you are selected for the job or not is secondary but saying thank you after the interview leaves a lasting impression on the person. Also, it is a way to create a network where the person will always remember you hence, leaving the door of opportunity open for future endeavors.
Coffee shop interviews seem exciting as compared to the formal office interview, where one has to be extra cautious about everything. Despite being a fun way of interview keep basic things on your mind to crack the interview.
This kind of interview provides the flexible approach of an interview and a friend where you can talk in both ways, but ensure that you know when a relationship of an interviewee ends and the line of casual words begin. With a bit of sensible approach, you can surely crack the right code of success.