The Secret to Having a Successful Coffee Interview

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Published
Jan 3, 2019

Jan 3, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

There are more and more companies that are using coffee interviews as opposed to formal job interviews to fill open positions.

Rather than bringing people into their offices for sit-down interviews with upper management, they're inviting those who might be right for a particular position out for a cup of coffee. It's a more casual way of getting to know someone and picking their brain to see if they would be a good fit for a job.

If you were recently invited to attend a coffee interview, you might not know what to expect from it. You also might be worried about what you should say and do before, during, and after your interview.

Check out some tips that will help you make your coffee interview a total success.

Research the Company That Requested an Interview with You

Are you familiar with the company that contacted you and requested a coffee interview?

If so, you might not need to do a whole lot of research on them. You can probably get away with simply scanning their website to see if there are any new developments with the company that you're not aware of yet.

But if you're not familiar with the company, you should spend an hour or two learning about everything from the products and services they offer to their mission statement. It's best to be as prepared as you can be prior to your interview.

Think About How You Might Be Able to Help the Company

In addition to doing some research on the company that's going to be interviewing you, you should spend some time thinking about how you might be able to help the company moving forward.

There's at least a small chance that they've arranged a coffee interview with you to gauge your interest in coming on board with them in some capacity. If that turns out to be the case, you should be ready to list the reasons why you would be a good fit for the company.

Show up for Your Interview on Time

A coffee interview is, as we mentioned earlier, a lot more casual than a formal job interview. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't still take it seriously!

You should find out which coffee shop your meeting will be held at and make sure you know exactly where it is. You should also plan to arrive at least 15 to 20 minutes early so that you're not late.

This will show the company that requested the interview that you're a punctual person. It'll also show them that you value their time and appreciate them requesting an interview with you in the first place.

Dress Appropriately for the Occasion

In most cases, there's no reason to wear a business suit or another form of formal attire to a coffee interview. You're likely going to feel overdressed if you show up to the interview wearing the same thing you would wear to an interview.

At the same time, you don't want to look like you just rolled out of bed when you sit down for your interview. Try to choose something that falls into the business casual category. It'll allow you to make the right impression on the person sitting on the other side of the table.

Order Coffee but Not Food

During a formal job interview, eating and drinking are off limits. But during a coffee interview, you should feel free to order a cup of coffee and sip on it throughout the course of your sit-down.

Depending on what type of coffee shop you're at, you'll either need to place an order for your coffee or use a Keurig machine to make it yourself. This review will show you how to pour the perfect cup if you have to brew your own coffee.

While drinking coffee is acceptable, you should steer clear of ordering food and eating it during your interview. You're likely going to be talking a lot during it, and the last thing you want to do is have food fly out your mouth and hit the person interviewing you.

Focus on the Person Interviewing You

There is a lot going on inside of the average coffee cup. Between customers placing their orders and employees scrambling to make drinks, it's going to be very noisy when you sit down for your interview.

For that reason, you'll need to concentrate on focusing on the person who is interviewing you. If you turn your eyes and ears away from them for even a few seconds, you could miss something important.

Make a conscious effort to look directly at the person and pay attention to what they're saying.

Leave a Copy of Your Résumé and References

The person who requested a coffee interview with you is likely familiar with both you and your work. So in most cases, you don't have to give them a résumé and references at the end of the interview.

But it never hurts to bring along a copy of your résumé and a stack of references, just in case the person is still on the fence about whether or not you would be a good fit for a job that has opened up.

If nothing else, the person will be able to put your résumé and references on file for the future.

Send a Thank You Note After Your Coffee Interview

More often than not, the person who invited you out for a cup of coffee will pick up the check at the end of it. So you should make it a point to send them a thank you note a few hours after the interview is over.

Outside of thanking them for the coffee, you should also thank them for the time they took out of their busy day to sit and speak with you. And you should let them know that you would love to keep in touch moving forward, regardless of whether you're hired to work for their company or not.

By doing this, you could very well earn yourself a more formal job interview in the near future. Read our blog to find out how to make that interview every bit as successful as your coffee interview.