Over the last few years, cultural shifts have drastically impacted the way we do business. Take the hiring process as an example. Being interviewed for a job always meant meeting with a manager in their office. You’d show your resume, they’d ask some questions, you’d respond, and then you’d wait for a call. Today, many of these formal interviews are being replaced or preceded by informal meetings outside the office. Managers are meeting job candidates for informal job interviews in coffee shops or other relaxed settings. After decades interviewing candidates as one of the leading temp staffing services in Lancaster, PA, we’ve seen a lot of trends come and go.  What makes some managers prefer an informal interview? Do these informal conversations require any special preparation on your end?

Why Do Managers Choose an Informal Job Interview?

If they rely on responses to job postings, managers can only pull from the pool of candidates who saw the ad and were interested in responding. This imposes uncomfortable limits on the hiring process. It may be that, though it’s clear that extra manpower is needed, the job itself is not yet clearly defined. On the other hand, it could be that the business is interested in your talents and is specifically recruiting you. An informal, less structured conversation allows both the interviewer and interviewee more leeway to explore the possibilities.

How to Dress for an Informal Job Interview

This is probably the question that brought you here. As a rule of thumb, dress exactly the way you would for a formal interview, and here’s why: your hiring manager is almost certainly coming from work, and is therefore dressed for work. Do you want to look bad in comparison? If you’ve done your background research, you should know how you will be expected to dress at work, so this shouldn’t be hard.

How to Get Ready for an Informal Interview

It’s important to remember that, even though the structure of the interview itself has changed, you should prepare exactly as you would for a traditional, formal interview. What does this mean?

  • Be prepared. Practice your responses to standard interview questions; even though the interview is less structured, your hiring manager will still need to get this information out of you. Bring a copy of your resume, some business cards, your portfolio, and be ready to take notes.
  • Do your research. Learn as much as you can about the company. This is your chance to find out if this job is a good fit for you, and you’ll want to ask intelligent questions. Also, being able to spout off background information or statistics about the company shows that you take the job offer seriously.
  • Follow the leader. Let your interviewer set the tone. If their manner is relaxed, conversational, and informal, yours should be, too. Conversely, their idea of an informal interview might just be a normal interview conducted outside the office. If it’s clear that they still expect structure and formality, follow their lead.

Are you ready to put your interview skills to the test?

We are currently looking for talented workers to fill temporary and long-term positions in many industries. Contact us today so that we can help you set up your next interview.

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