How Best to Handle Questions at an Informal Interview

Informal interview tips
  • “Can you tell me a little more about why you reached out to me?”
  • “What changes do you see in the company over the next year?”
  • “What do you like about your job?”
  • “What do you like about working for the company?”
  • “What are some challenges the company is currently dealing with?”

Informal Job Interview | How To Prepare For The Informal Interview

What your employers are looking for in informal interviews

In general, employers are looking for the same thing in informal interviews as they are in a more formal interview process. They want:

  • Good communication
  • Evidence of your ability to do the job(s)
  • Motivation and goals aligned with the role(s)
  • Relevant results from your past roles
  • The “how” and “why” behind those past results
  • Your strategic thinking and ability to relate your goals to company strategy
  • How you would approach a problem their company is currently facing
  • What to Bring

    If youre meeting in person, bring some extra copies of your resume, your business card, if you have one, and a portfolio with a pad and pen so that you can take notes.

    For video meetings and phone calls, its helpful to have a copy of your resume printed out (you can use it as a reminder) and to have a pen and paper for taking notes.

    When youre invited to meet with a recruiter for a cup of coffee or a meal, they will pick up the tab. Theres no need to offer to pay. Do say thank you to the recruiter or hiring manager, though.

    How to Prepare for an Informal Interview

    An informal interview requires just as much preparation as any other; in fact, it may require more, as you may be out of your comfort zone and will be expected to hold your own in the conversation.

    Here are some key tips to help you feel relaxed and prepared on the day:

  • Do your research. Just like any other interview, check out the company you are meeting with. Does it have any current problems? Does it seem to have a high turnover? How many office locations does it have? What is the company culture like? Check the company website or business news to find out as much information as you can. If possible, speak with someone who works there and drop their name into your conversation.
  • Confirm your location. This may go without saying, but how many Costa Coffee locations are there really in the UK? And while you may think there is only one in the neighbourhood, there may be more. Nothing could turn the interview south like sitting at the wrong coffee shop waiting.
  • Plan what to wear. Deciding what to wear to an informal interview can be tricky. A formal business suit is easy but might be too much for more casual workplaces. Shorts and a polo shirt won’t work either. Go for a business casual look with smart trousers or skirt and a nice top.
  • Bring copy(ies) of your CV and make sure it is current and up to date. Don’t forget copies of your business cards too, plus some paper and a pen for notes.
  • Be prepared to sell yourself. You will have plenty of time to talk, so be prepared to outline your strengths and skills with key examples. Also, be prepared to fill any awkward silences that may occur.
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