Industry insights for job seekers and employers.

The Informal Job Interview: How Should You Handle It?

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 you 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 from coffee shops to Zoom. After decades interviewing candidates as one of the leading staffing agencies in Lancaster, PA, we’ve seen many trends come and go. So, what makes some managers prefer an informal interview? And do these informal conversations require any special preparation on your end?

Why Do Managers Choose an Informal Job Interview?

Suppose a hiring manager relies solely on responses to job postings. In that case, they can only pull from the pool of candidates who saw the ad and were interested in responding, which imposes uncomfortable limits on the hiring process. On the other hand, the business may be interested in your talents and is specifically recruiting you. An informal, less structured conversation allows both the interviewer and interviewee to explore the possibilities of your professional relationship and potential while also getting to know you as an individual better. 

How to Dress for an Informal Job Interview

As a rule of thumb, dress exactly the way you would for a formal interview, and here’s why: your hiring manager is more than likely coming from work, and is therefore dressed for work. But, as always, do your background research. If the business emphasizes its casual workplace, feel free to dawn a pair of jeans, and let your hair down.

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 as you would for a traditional, formal interview. What does this mean?

  • Be ready. Practice your responses to standard interview questions; even though the interview is less structured, your hiring manager will still need to get this information from 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, so ask intelligent and relevant questions.
  • 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 be a formal 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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