Picture it: the sweet smells of baked goods and freshly brewed coffee, with soft indie music playing in the background amidst the chatter of others typing away and getting their daily caffeine fix. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? When you compare this to a standard tech interview in an office setting, who wouldn’t want to meet up at a local coffee house?

Many recruiters are using this relaxed setting for meet-and-greets. As comfortable as it can feel, this doesn’t remove your commitment to making a great first impression! You’ll still want to do your homework and knock this meeting out of the park – just like you would a formal interview.

So how do you really turn coffee into a lucrative contract?

Relax a little! You’re in a coffee shop, not a conference room, so with any luck you’ll have more coffee jitters than interview nerves. Remember, the recruiter wants to be on your side, so just be your best self! Check out these tips to rock the coffee shop meeting:

  1. You still gotta prep. Just because it’s a little informal doesn’t mean you should wing it. Your recruiter is taking time out of their day to meet you. Make sure their trip is enjoyable and worth their while! Do your research – literally everything you need to know is online. Check out the company and the recruiter. LinkedIn is a great place to find a common interest or fun fact.
  2. Know the answers. Be ready to answer common interview questions (Don’t know any? Find them on Google) and prepare a few intelligent questions so the interviewer knows you’re interested and engaged (and to find out if it’s the right fit for you!)
  3. Get on your home turf. If the recruiter offers a coffee shop meet, why not offer the location? You’ll be more relaxed, know how long it takes to get there and when it’s a little quieter.
  4. Choose your outfit. Save your best interview suit for a more formal setting. Business casual should cut it as long as you don’t look like you just rolled out of bed. Think about what you’d wear to work on a normal day and step it up a notch.
  5. Skip the awkward. If the recruiter requested the meeting, they will usually pick up your latte tab. But if you get there and order first, you can pick your table and order what you like without the recruiter hearing that you want precisely three-fourths of a pump of caramel. Skip the Unicorn Frappuccino though – there’s no hiding those things.

After the meeting – what happens next?

Hey, they made the time to meet with you. Show them you appreciate it! Don’t leave without finding out what the next steps are and getting any of their contact info you don’t already have. Send a follow-up email to thank them for their time and reiterating your interest. Since you’re connected with your recruiter on LinkedIn – you did remember to do that before meeting, right? – maybe share a post or send them a private message to thank them for their time! You’d be surprised how many people don’t bother to follow up.

Looking for a career partner?

Want to grab a coffee or just call to discuss your interests and goals? Reach out to RightWorks. We place qualified candidates in a variety of great IT job opportunities. Contact us today to get started!