How to Ace your Next Coffee Interview

The modern job seeker has to face many hurdles:

  • Standing out from the huge amount of job seekers
  • Managing your LinkedIn profile like a pro
  • Making sure that picture of you drunk and dancing on the bar top is long gone from your Facebook profile
  • And of course, the dreaded coffee interview

What is a Coffee Interview?

A coffee interview is a job interview that is held at a local coffee shop rather than the office building you want to work in.

In theory, the coffee interview is meant to make the candidate more relaxed. In reality, it brings with it a huge amount of questions on etiquette and more.

How to Nail a Coffee Interview

Don’t despair! Just follow this guide and work that interview like you were born for the job

The first thing is to remember that even though the interview is in an informal setting, it’s still an interview! Be professional and act like you would at any job interview.

Before the Interview – Dress Appropriately

Just because the interview is in a coffee shop doesn’t mean you should rock up like you’ve just rolled out of bed! Make an effort to look professional – business casual should be fine unless otherwise stated.

Before the Interview – Do Your Research

This should go without saying, but so many people go to interviews totally unprepared. Ensure you know exactly what would be expected of you in the role you are interviewing for and make sure you know some facts about the company. Good ideas of facts to brush up on include:

  • The company’s growth
  • Profit/loss
  • New avenues of revenue
  • New departments
  • Any awards the company has recently won
  • Articles in professional journals featuring the company

Before the Interview – Brush up on Your Interview Technique

Enlist a friend or family member to do a mock interview with you. Make sure you look confident and alert and are able to answer the questions without looking lost! Practicing your interview technique will help you to feel more confident, or at least fake it.

As you Arrive – Identify the Interviewer

If you have a name, Google is your friend. Try to find a picture of the recruiter so you have an idea who you’re looking for.

Make sure you are not late of course but don’t be too early either as the recruiter might still be with another candidate.

When you spot the interviewer (or if you don’t), give them a quick call to let the know you’ve arrived and tell them where you are. They’ll invite you to join them when they’re ready!

As you Arrive – Treat People with Respect

It takes around seven seconds for someone to get a first impression of you. If that impression is you yelling at the server or slamming a door in someone’s face, it’s probably fair to say the recruiter isn’t going to be rushing to employ you!

As you Arrive – Order Sensibly

If you’re only having drinks, this one is a bit simpler. Just order your favorite coffee. Never order alcohol, even if the recruiter does.

Food is a little more awkward. Firstly, it’s best not to order food unless it’s actually a pre-arranged lunch appointment. If you are ordering food, choose something that’s not messy and doesn’t have a particularly pungent smell!

During the Interview – Sell Yourself!

If you don’t believe in yourself, the recruiter certainly isn’t going to. Make sure you have the answer to some of the most popular interview questions recruiters will ask.

As you Leave – Offer to Pay the Bill

Generally, the recruiter will be footing the bill, but it will do nothing to leave a good impression if you just walk away without even offering to pay for your share!

As you Leave – Confirm the Details

As you shake the recruiters hand, confirm with them when you should expect to hear from them. It shows that you are still keen to get the job!

A coffee interview doesn’t have to be a scary thing. Just make sure you follow the correct etiquette and answer the questions honestly. Good luck! 


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