It Really is More Than JUST a Coffee.

So, you’ve accepted the invitation to meet for coffee with a recruiter or prospective employer. You know that it’s not JUST a coffee. So how do you prepare and how do you handle the conversation?

Keep in mind the three points from my last Blog:

Recruiters want to find out as much about you as possible.
They are looking for clues about whether you will fit into the organisation or team with the job you are applying for.
They want to know some of the more personal things about you.
With these in mind, let’s look at what you can do to prepare for ‘coffee’.


Do Your Homework

Do your homework about the organisation. Check out their website. Familiarise yourself with the vision, mission and values, and see if you can get a feel for the organisation culture from the way it presents itself, and the language that’s used.

Some good questions to ask yourself:

  • What does the organisation actually do? What is the scope of its activities?
  • What things does the organisation care about, and why?
  • Does the organisation come across as more or less formal?
  • Does the organisation value innovation? If so, what is it actually doing that is innovative?
  • What stage is the organisation in? Is it consolidating, or growing?
  • What are the most recent achievements of the organisation?
  • What kind of people work there?

You want to understand as much about the organisation as possible so you can speak intelligently about the role, and why you want to work there. It will also give you some good starting points for conversation.


Prepare Some Questions

two me having a discussion at a cafeYou should prepare some questions. You can find out quite a bit about an organisation in an informal meeting and sometimes you can ask more probing questions about your prospective manager, the job itself, and team you might be working in. Look at this as an opportunity to find out if you want to work in the organisation, and how you might add value.


Practice Some Answers

As with all interviews, the more you practice, the easier it gets to answer all kinds of questions. Coffee interviews are often used to find out some of the more personal things about you. So, you need to give some thought to how much of your personal information you are prepared to share. And how are you going to answer any questions about this? If in doubt, work out brief responses that you feel comfortable with. For example, a question might be:

“So tell me a bit about yourself? Do you have a family?”

You might answer along the lines of:

“Yes I have a partner and we live in….”

And that’s enough. The choice is yours as to how much you say, but my advice is keep it simple and brief, and only tell as much as you feel comfortable with. And be careful with any information that might be seen in a less positive way.

A ‘coffee’ meeting gives recruiters a more comprehensive picture of who you are and how you might fit or not fit in a particular job. And remember they are also your opportunity to find out a lot more about the job you are applying for and the organisation. So don’t worry about them. Just make sure you do your homework beforehand.

Janet Tuck

Janet Tuck

Career Specialist, Director

M: +64 21 526 387

It Really is More Than JUST a Coffee

If you want to prepare well for interviews or coffee meet-ups, my comprehensive 2-hour coaching session covers everything you need to know, including how to answer all the types of questions you might be asked.  It’s a great session and you get a free workbook included in the price.

Phone or email Janet Tuck at Career Clinic and book your session now

Watch out for my 3rd and final blog in the ‘Coffee Interview’ series coming soon, where I’ll give you some final practical hints about handling the ‘Coffee Interview’.

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