As we say for most of our interview tips, all interview environments, formal & informal, are different, depending on the size and culture of the company. It can be difficult to know what to expect from a recruitment process once you’ve fired off a CV, but in all cases, preparation and professionalism is key.
Organisations who adopt a casual or informal interviewing process can do so for many reasons, from keeping down costs, to simply trying to get the most from the candidates by relieving some of the pressures associated with interviews. No matter what the reason, informal interviews should always be taken seriously and with the end goal, of a more formal interview or even a job offer, in mind.
So what tips will help you progress? Read on…
What To Wear To An Informal Interview?
When dressing for an interview we would always recommend a formal style, no matter the setting. Whether you have been invited for an informal coffee or told to “come in for a chat”, don’t let your choice of clothing have a negative impact on your application. Deciding what to wear for an interview can be stressful enough, without worrying about toning down your smartness to fit in with the style of the meeting. Don’t assume a casual setting means jeans or trainers, even in informal interviews you can’t go wrong in a smart suit.
What To Take To An Informal Interview?
Taking along a portfolio, or examples of your work, to an interview always goes down well with employers, showing initiative and demonstrating your skills first hand. However with an informal interview, many job hunters can be put off taking along examples of work. Our advice at Zoek is: go for it. As many employers will agree, candidates who go above and beyond what is required will be more likely to stick in the mind of an interviewer. Besides, you don’t have to put your cards (in this case, portfolio) on the table – see how the interview is going, and make a call based on that.
Interview Questions In An Informal Setting
When given the opportunity, asking questions in an informal interview is no different from a formal environment. Just because the situation may be slightly more casual you must still avoid any questions which may come across as unprofessional. Asking about the culture of the company and the future plans for the organisation will be better received by an employer than questions about how long lunch breaks are or where the nearest smoking area is. A casual chat with a potential employer will allow a more relaxed atmosphere so if anything, informal interviews may allow more opportunities to ask questions. Be prepared and note down questions before you go to ensure you don’t leave without all the information you were looking for.
All in all, an informal interview is not very different from any other type of interview. Having a casual attitude to the interview may come across as having a casual attitude to the role itself, so our advice would be to always be prepared. Be on time, if not early, research the company and the person you are meeting, note down some good questions to ask at an interview and take along any examples of your work you feel give a good impression. Even if you feel over-prepared and over-dressed for a casual chat, nine times out of ten the employer will be impressed you went the extra mile.
Finally, do follow-up. A short email thanking the interviewer for their time and saying how much you enjoyed meeting them will go down a treat.
For more great job hunting hints and tips visit the rest of the Zoek Blog or follow Zoek on Twitter @ZoekAppUK.
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