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What Is An Informal Interview? Get a Comprehensive Idea

Your recruiter called you to a cafe to attend an informal interview, and you may wonder what is an informal interview.

Interviews can be of different types. Most job interviews are formal, where we visit the recruiters’ office, maintain a standard dress code, and answer the hiring manager’s questions.

Because of rapid technological advancements in the last decade, we have learned about online, virtual, and video interviews. Some interviews online are also informal or casual, which is more relaxed than other forms.

In this article, we will emphasise informal interviews and how to prepare for one to ensure success.

What Is An Informal Interview: Definition And Fundamentals 

An informal interview is a conversation between you and the interviewer that is more relaxed type, unlike traditional formal interviews, where conversation advances in typical question and answer forms. Informal interviews are less structured, and impromptu, and usually take palace in a casual and neutral setting like coffee shops or restaurants. An informal conversation for consultations can also be virtual via video conferences or phone calls.  

What Is An Informal Interview: Definition And Fundamentals

Usually, potential employers or persons interested in the same fields conduct informal interviews. Such interviews generally happen for contractual, part-time jobs, or entry-level roles. However, professional hiring managers may also conduct informal chat interviews under the required circumstances.

Informal interviews focus on personal conversation, where interviewees and interviewers ask questions to clarify their doubts. Also, they usually discuss interests, hobbies, qualifications, experiences, and achievements. 

What is the Purpose of an Informal Interview?

Informal interviews are organised in a neutral or casual setup to get valuable insights about the applicant’s fitment. Because, unlike a formal interview, it does not focus on a list of questions but establishes a natural conversation. So, the primary purposes of informal interviews are as follows,

Assessing Personality

Usually, we share our true personality in an open conversation rather than a close door interview. Hence, recruiters organise informal chat interviews to assess the cultural match and behaviour of the applicant.

Discussing Job Roles

Informal chat interviews are organised for contractual or freelance job roles because full-time employment is confirmed through formal job interviews. These jobs do not require an official setup and, in most cases, are online.

Usually, the recruiter and applicants first meet face-to-face once and then connect online, or vice versa. Hence, they choose a casual place to discuss the job roles and remunerations.

Clarifying Information

As mentioned earlier, an informal interview is not a question and answers session but a spontaneous conversation. Before engaging in the job, interviewers and interviewees spontaneously interact to clarify their queries and doubts.

But before you apply for a contractual or part-time job, you should update your CV with the help of professional CV writing services. They will showcase your accomplishments in such a way that you get a call to attend informal interview questions.

What are the Benefits of an Informal or Casual Interview? 

An informal interview can provide more personalised insights, which is not possible in formal interviews in an official atmosphere. Some other valuable benefits of a casual interview are as follows.

Convenience

Interviewers and interviewees can attend an informal interview at a suitable time and place. So, they can meet in a cafe during lunch hours to discuss jobs and payments.

Helps to Build Rapport

Open-minded conversations in a personalised atmosphere help to build relations between the interviewers and applicants. It benefits them during the job, as they understand their way of working and expectations.

Uncovers Additional Information

Do not choose your words tactically when engaged in a seamless conversation. Instead, we express our minds. Similarly, informal interviews usually uncover additional information to know each other better. 

But when sending your CV for any interview, attach a supporting letter always to maximise your chances to get a call. However, you should also prepare for an informal interview to ensure success. And a reputed cover letter writing service is the best solution for creating a compelling job application.

How to Prepare for an Informal Chat Interview?

How to Prepare for an Informal Chat Interview

Informal interviews are not like traditional job interviews, where you must establish your suitability for that particular role. So, follow these suggestions while preparing for a casual job interview.

Research the Organisation

Even if the interview is informal, it is still essential to research the company or program beforehand. It will give you an idea of what they do and their values. It will show your interest and preparedness. Also, it will raise some questions about the organisation and its activities.

Choose Your Outfit Wisely

Though an informal interview usually takes place in a more casual setting, it is still important to dress appropriately. Dress in neat and clean clothes that are appropriate for the location. You may wear smart casual but do not wear stained or wrinkled clothes, shorts, sandals, or flip-flops. It is not that casual.

For more information and ideas about professional interview attire, check out what to wear to a job interview.

Choose Your Outfit Wisely for an interview

Confirm the Time & Venue

Just like a formal interview, it is essential to be on time for an informal interview. It shows that you are punctual and serious about the job. Hence, verify the date, time, and place at least one day before the interview. Also, if you are late, inform the interviewer as soon as possible.

Prepare Your Questions

As informal interviews are generally interactive conversations, you can ask questions to learn more about the organisation and job role. So, prepare a list of questions demonstrating your interest and curiosity beforehand. It can also help you decide if you are offered a job or program. For example, if you are applying from abroad, you can ensure that the organisation belongs to the tier 2 sponsor list in the UK to confirm its authenticity.

Be Yourself During Conversation

Informal interviews allow you to show more of your personality. Do not be afraid to be yourself. Let your enthusiasm and passion for the subject shine through. However, be sure to remain professional and respectful throughout the interview.

Share some of your unique experiences or interests during the conversation. It will help you relate to your employer on a personal level. Also, you may use humour to add variety if it is turning out to be a tedious, monotonous professional interaction. Many consider, there is no informal interview meaning as such which is untrue.

Finally, focus on the main point. The purpose of an interview is to influence the employer in your favour about your suitability for the job role. So, make sure to leave all stones unturned on every subject. Research similar topics, like a supporting statement example, to get a comprehensive idea of how to present it in a cover letter to land an interview call.

Key Takeaways

An informal interview may seem less intimidating than a formal one, but it is still important to prepare, so take it seriously. Perform enough research, dress appropriately, be on time, and ask relevant questions to increase your chances of success. 

So, now you know, ‘What is an informal interview?’ And how you can best prepare for it. Above all, the more you engage in your informal interview, the more your chances of success to land a job.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is an Informal Interview a Good Sign?

Yes, an informal interview call is a good sign. Because it means your employer wants to know you personally. In many cases, after the formal interview, recruiters call selected candidates for an informal second interview to finalise the employment process.

2. What questions do they ask in an informal interview?

The primary purpose of informal interviews is to know the candidate from a more personal perspective. So, you can expect questions related to your unique skills, achievements, interests, and passions.

3. What should I expect from an informal interview?

The primary purpose of informal interviews is to know the candidate from a more personal perspective. So, you can expect questions related to your unique skills, achievements, interests, and passions.

4. How long should an informal interview be?

An informal interview generally lasts between 15 and 30 minutes. It is an interactive conversation, so in some cases, it may last even longer.

5. How do you know if an informal interview went well?

If your employer provides particular insights into your job role and discusses remunerations in detail, you can expect to be the selected candidate for the job role.

6. How do you impress an informal interview?

To impress the employer, be sure you have gathered sufficient information about the organisation or project and ask relevant questions regarding your job role. Also, share your unique skills, interests, and achievement to develop an engaging interaction.

7. Can you wear jeans to an informal interview?

Smart casuals are the best choice for informal interviews. So, you can wear jeans, but avoid wearing torn or rugged jeans.

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Jessica Lamb
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