Conducting an interview is something of a trend these days. And as more businesses and start-ups pursue remote working, the trend is likely to increase.
But is interviewing in coffee shops a good idea?
Edward Avila, the vice president of talent acquisition at Alation suggests recruiters to “try to avoid” interviewing in coffee shops.
On the other hand, coffee shop interviews can be a useful pre-screening opportunity. If you’re interviewing for a critical position, a casual chat over a coffee can help you evaluate candidates you would like to move on to the next stage.
The noisy environment of a coffee shop can also help you to determine whether a candidate can concentrate in the vibrant atmosphere of an office. Or evaluate how they operate under pressure in a chaotic environment imbued with distractions.
However, none of these screening strategies actually translate into a worthwhile interview.
How do candidates feel about coffee shop interviews?
Opinions on the topic of interviewing in coffee shops are divided. Some candidates may like the casual approach and a free coffee, whilst others can’t understand why recruiters think it’s a good idea.
Depending on the type of interview you intend to conduct it may not be a good idea at all. As a matter of fact, interviewing in coffee shops may not even be ethical.
Interviews should be private and confidential. Candidates would prefer not to discuss personal things and may feel uncomfortable answering some questions when they know the person at the next table can hear them.
Meeting a stranger in a coffee shop can also create an awkward greeting. In an already tense situation, recruiters invite unnecessary stress and pressure on themselves and on candidates.
Interviewing in coffee shops does not create a good impression
Millennials are known for being choosy about the type of company they work for. They want to know about the culture of a company to determine if the job is a good fit for the lifestyle they want.
When you hold interviews in a coffee shop, you deny candidates the opportunity to get a feel for the environment they will be working in and assess where they will be spending their days.
They do not have the opportunity to see your office, experience the atmosphere or meet the people they could be working with. All these things are decision making factors for some people – especially top talent who will no doubt have more than one job offer coming their way.
It’s worth considering that at the time of writing, the number of vacancies in the UK job market is at an all-time high. With more opportunities open to more people, the onus is on recruiters to make a good impression on the candidates they want to recruit.
Coffee shops are rarely the best choice for conducting an interview. They are fine for casual interviews with a view to assess whether the personality of a candidate is a good fit for the team and company culture.
However, casual interviews should come after you have already interviewed the candidate to assess how qualified they are for the job. And serious interviews should take place in a professional environment.
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