Informal Interview - Definition, Questions, Thank-You Email
What's an informal interview? Informal interviews provide an excellent chance to demonstrate the value you can offer to a company to a recruiter. Informal interviews, conducted in a relaxed situation, enable the prospective employer to examine your personality type and communication style without the formality associated with a typical office environment.
While informal interviews are intended to be relaxed, they need the same amount of preparation as formal interviews.
What's an informal interview?
Informal interviews take place outside of the workplace, typically over lunch or coffee. While informal interviews are not organized like standard interviews, they have the same objective: determining if a candidate is a good match for a company.
Informal interviews are also occasionally used to determine a candidate's interest in working for a certain company.
How to prepare for an upcoming informal interview
Here are some general guidelines for preparing for an informal interview.
Research the person or company
Conduct a thorough examination of the organization, its goods and/or services, and its accomplishments. Determine who the company's primary rivals are. Analyze the company's blog and social media presence.
Investigate your connections on LinkedIn to see if you know anyone who works there who could be able to provide you with insider knowledge about the company, its culture, and even the department in which you would be working.
Analyze the job description
If the interview is to discuss a specific position, spend time analyzing the job description and considering the qualities the company seeks in a candidate. Create a list of the critical abilities, expertise, and characteristics necessary for the position.
Match skills and qualifications
After identifying the talents necessary for success in the work, evaluate your own credentials and compare them to the job criteria. Make a list of up to ten assets, including abilities, skills, knowledge, and education. Consider particular instances in which you applied some of your abilities in past employment.
Prepare your career path
Prepare to address your career's long-term ambitions. Compile a list of the skills that have aided you in adding value in past employment.
Related: Career aspirations
Come to the table with ideas
Prepare ideas about how you might fit into the company and provide value to your job.
Ask informal interview questions
Consider the following ideas to assist you in performing your best during an informal interview.
As with a formal interview, prepare questions to ask the interviewer in advance. Among the questions, you might ask are the following:
- "Could you tell me a little bit more about why you contacted me?"
- "How do you envision the company changing over the next year?"
- "What aspects of your employment do you enjoy?"
- "What do you enjoy most about your job at the company?"
- "What are some of the company's current challenges?"
- "How do you envision my integration?"
Bring your resume
Along with additional resume copies, bring your business card and a portfolio with a pen and paper to take notes.
It's critical to exercise active listening skills during the interview, since you can be required to repeat some information to keep the conversation moving smoothly. Maintain eye contact, nod in reaction to the interviewer's statements, smile to demonstrate your engagement, and restate critical points in your own words. For instance, you can say, "I'd want to return to what you mentioned..." or "I concur with you on..."
Don't reveal all
Because informal interviews are informal, applicants can speak too freely. However, keep in mind that the interviewer will pay close attention to everything you say and do. Maintain a professional demeanor and refrain from making disparaging remarks about past employers, superiors, or coworkers.
Dress the part
Due to the informal nature of the interview, you should dress in business casual or smart casual attire, depending on the industry. Jeans with a blazer, a button-down shirt with khakis, a jacket with a t-shirt beneath and excellent jeans, or a beautiful top with fitted jeans are all examples of smart casual.
Get prepared for an offer
In certain instances, you can be given a position immediately or shortly after the interview. Prepare to show your joy but avoid feeling forced to make a decision immediately. Allow yourself time to consider whether the position is a suitable fit for you.
How to follow-up after an informal interview
Following up on an informal interview with an email or letter is critical. The following are the actions you should take in order to follow up.
Promote your interest
Utilize the follow-up letter to reafcompany your interest in the organization or vacant position.
If you see that any aspects of your past do not exactly suit the job description or if you discern any additional reservations the interviewer can have, use the letter to address those issues.
Proofread your letter
Always check your message before submitting it to ensure there are no grammatical errors or typos. Read the letter aloud to verify you haven't missed anything, or perhaps have it proofread by someone else. Additionally, double-check the recipient's name and spell it precisely as it appears on their business card or in any emails they have given you.
Send within 24 hours
Within 24 hours following the interview, or even sooner if you're sending an email, write your letter.
Example of an informal interview thank-you email/letter
Subject line: Thank you for the time today
It was great to meet with you today. Thank you for answering all of my questions. The casual setting allowed me to learn more about myself and the business. And felt more comfortable than a traditional interview. It's appreciated.
I'd love to continue the conversation. And see if we can get me involved in the interview process. Based on the job we spoke about, is there a fit? Who is the hiring manager I should speak with?
Thanks so much, Brian!
Informal interview tips
- Conduct research. Conduct an in-depth examination of the organization, its goods and/or services, and its accomplishments.
- Analyze the assignment or job.
- Appropriately match your qualifications and skills.
- Prepare to share your professional objectives and achievements.
- Bring your thoughts about the company and job.
- Ask questions that are relevant.
- Bring your resume and other resources.
- Pay close attention.
Common questions from job seekers.
What should I wear to an informal interview?
While you'll want to appear good and professional, if they've specified informal, a complete suit will seem ridiculous. Therefore, to ascertain the extent to which you should dress up, attempt to learn more about the company's culture. If the company is rather casual, you might go with excellent jeans, dress shoes, a dress shirt, and possibly a jacket. If the culture is more corporate, business casual should be acceptable. If in doubt, it is preferable to overdress than to underdress.
How is this different than an informational interview?
Employers conduct casual interviews at their desire and for their benefit, whereas job seekers conduct informative interviews at their request and for their benefit. A more formal interview is conducted on behalf of a hiring manager or recruiter. An informal interview is an informal meeting between two professionals.
Our favorite resources are included below.
Job interview resources
- Common Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Prepare for Behavioral Interview Questions by Marquette University
- Preparing for Job Interviews by the University of Kansas
- Mock Interview Handbook by CSUCI
- Interview Guidebook by Lebanon Valley College
Resume and cover letter resources
- Writing a Resume and Cover Letter by USC
- Resume Writing Tips by the University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Resume and Cover Letter Guide by Harvard University
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