It was the last stretch for Amit. He had cleared his HR and technical interviews, setting up an informal meeting with the partner of the organization for the final round.

Amit was invited to a local café near the office to meet the partner, discuss a few questions about his expectations and seal the deal. Seeing as the interview was in an informal location, Amit wasn’t exactly nervous. His informal interview went well, and in the process, he built a good rapport with someone who’s higher-up.

Let’s see how you can maximize your informal job interview to make progress in your career.

  1. What Is An Informal Interview? 

  2. Informal Interview Questions And Answers

  3. The Day Of The Informal Interview

  4. Make A Good Impression

What Is An Informal Interview?

Informal interviews are types of interviews that are more relaxed and laid back. They may be part of the recruitment process or to assess whether you’re interested in joining the organization.

An informal interview may be held before or after the interview process for an unstructured, casual catch-up with your potential employer. Recruiters can invite you to lunch or coffee to talk about your goals, how you feel about their organization and determine whether you’re a good fit.

Here are some characteristics of an informal interview:

  1. These types of interviews are held outside the office—a café or restaurant, making it easier to handle the pressure or stress of an office environment.

  2. They’re a great way to learn more about the organization, industry and expectations from the role. In turn, the recruiter will find it easier to get to know your personality, skills and abilities.

  3. Before inviting you for a formal interview or offering you a job, informal interviews help interviewers determine whether your goals and values align with the organization.

  4. Mostly startups and organizations with flat or horizontal structures prefer informal interviews as they are more personal—and less formal.

  5. Informal interviews help interviewers identify what they can do for you for a smooth onboarding experience. They may even want to modify the job profile to leverage your skills.

Think of an informal interview as a normal conversation—a way to build your professional network. It’s definitely less stressful and you won’t be as nervous. But you should still keep in mind that your goal is the same i.e., getting a job. So, let’s look at some informal interview questions and how to answer them.

Informal Interview Questions And Answers

Remember that you have to make an equal amount of effort to prepare for an informal interview. The setting may be casual, but the ultimate purpose is to land the job. Preparing, researching and practicing are essential for any interview.

Go prepared with unique questions to find out more about how you’ll fit into the organization.

Here are some informal interview questions that you can ask to get a good idea about where you may be working:

  1. What are some of the challenges that you’re anticipating for the organization?

  2. What do you like about your work?

  3. Can someone with my background fit well in the organization?

  4. What organizational changes do you foresee in the near future?

  5. What are some of the functions that you think will suit someone with my profile?

The informal interview is more tailored and specific to you and how your aspirations align with the organization. The interviewer reached out to you because they feel you have something to offer. Identifying that and focusing your questions around it will help you get the most out of it.

The Day Of The Informal Interview

Unlike formal interviews, you don’t have to wear a suit or formal attire for your meeting. Smart-casual or business-casual will work just as well. There are some things you should note for informal interviews, such as:

  1. Arrive on time—even if the interview is informal, you must respect others’ time.

  1. We tend to loosen up and talk more freely in a casual setting. But you should be careful about how much you share. Stick to what’s relevant instead of talking about other job opportunities, compensations and benefits or holiday calendars.

  1. Try to highlight your strengths in your answers because this is a great opportunity to show them that you can be a valuable employee.

  1. In case you get offered a job on the spot, express your enthusiasm but also take some time to think about it. Agreeing to the first offer may make you seem too eager. Alternatively, you may miss out on a chance to negotiate better terms.

Informal interviews are a step on the ladder to success—a step that’s accessible, friendly and open. Communicate without qualms and raise concerns, if any. Do your research and ask questions about the future.

Make A Good Impression

Arriving on time, listening well, asking relevant questions, being courteous and following-up are some things that you must keep in mind. In the informal interview example, Amit’s confidence and preparation led him to success. You can be equally confident with practice and determined efforts.

What’s Next?

The purpose of an informal interview is to lock in a formal interview with the organization. Once you’ve had a promising informal interview experience, you’ll need to prepare for a formal interview. Harappa’s Ace The Interview course will teach you important concepts, tips and tricks to crack formal interview questions.

Our self-paced course includes commonly-asked interview questions with examples so you can craft winning answers. By the end of this course, you’ll know how to weave stories into your answers for compelling responses. Enroll today to get started on your professional journey!


Explore topics such as General HR Interview Questions, What are the Common Questions to Ask an InterviewerHow to Follow-Up After an InterviewExit Interview Questions and Answers & How to Answer Panel Interview Questions from Harappa Diaries and crack your next interview.

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