As recruitment tactics change with the times, “informal chats” are becoming increasingly common. It all sounds very relaxed and easy, you can imagine nattering the afternoon away in a coffee shop with a potential employer. What’s so stressful about that!
With company culture becoming a bigger focus for businesses, an “informal chat” is the perfect chance for a recruiter to get a better idea of who you are. They obviously like what they see on your CV, you wouldn’t be there otherwise, but they need to figure out if you’ll be a good fit for the company. You may be having a chat over a coffee, but make no mistake this is still an interview.
With that in mind, it’s important to be as prepared for this meeting as you would a panel interview. You still need to know your stuff; what does the company do, who are they’re competitors and what your role would entail. Don’t neglect doing thorough research on your potential future employer and be ready with questions to ask when the opportunity arises.
Dress code is a tricky subject in this situation but the rule of thumb is to wear what you would usually wear in their office environment, whether that be a suit or smart trousers and a shirt. You know your industry so you know what’s acceptable. If in doubt, overdress slightly! It’s always better to look like you’ve put in a little too much effort than turn up underdressed.
But most importantly in an “informal chat” situation, you want your personality to shine. Show them how passionate you are about your industry, be ready to highlight your strengths and give examples of your achievements. You want to have a really positive conversation, because who knows what will become of it.