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How To Conduct The Perfect Informal Interview

Posted on 12th November 2017 by Katrina Docherty

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Informal interviews are one of the best ways to find good hires for a company. Different from a traditional stress-loaded interview, an informal interview is mostly set outside the office premises and functions more like a conversation between the two parties. As unstructured as it may sound, informal interviews are tough to get right in the first go. They need careful planning and consideration to achieve the desired result.


Here are a few things to consider:

Plan with no plan

However paradoxical it might sound, this is the most important ingredient to conduct a perfect informal interview. Have a clear strategy in mind of the things you need to know about the candidate, but allow the interview to flow naturally. Ask questions where needed but ensure it doesn’t turn into a formal interview in the process. This also helps keep sight of the original intention of the meeting.


Questions to ask

Pen down the most relevant questions you wish to ask the candidate. The manner in which you ask these questions also makes an impact. In formal conversations, questions are asked in a straightforward manner and can be prodding. However, informal interviews are meant to be light and free-flowing.  Pick your tone accordingly.


Interview venue

For some, it becomes difficult to conduct informal meets in the office. The ideal place would be a neutral venue. Be careful in choosing this place. Don’t choose a place where either you or your candidate feels uncomfortable. This uneasiness will beat the entire purpose of a natural conversation. Everyone has a favourite cafe, maybe ask the candidate where they like to go?


Dress accordingly

Informal interviews do not mean you meet someone in shorts and it doesn’t even mean you meet the person in formals with blazers. The point here is, do not be underdressed or overdressed. Smart and decent casuals will also work fine in an interview, for both parties.


Offer to pay

If you choose to meet at a café, as the interviewer, always offer to pay. Ensure the candidate feels free to order something if they wish to.


Personality revealing questions

Informal interviews are the best way to judge a candidate’s attitude. You could ask questions in a manner that suggests more about your potential hire’s personality. This will help you determine whether this person is fit to deal with different types of business situations.


Carry a positive vibe!

As an interviewer of an informal interview, it is best if you carry a nice and positive vibe with you. This will help the candidate to feel more relaxed and give a better interview. Smile, laugh, digress at times, but don’t lose sight of your agenda.


If conducted right, informal interviews are one of the best ways to ensure that the right candidates are chosen for the company. Be sure to provide an easy, comfortable, and open space to your candidate for him or her to be natural and spontaneous at the interview.