Job Interviews Can Happen in Some Strange Places

Not all job interviews take place in an office or a conference room, so candidates have to be ready for anything.

OfficeTeam, a staffing firm specializing in the placement of administrative professionals, recently had around 600 senior managers interviewed. They were asked to recount most unusual places they have heard of a job interview taking place.

Their responses included:

“In the bathroom”

“In an elevator”

“At the gym”

“In a shopping center parking lot”

“In the office kitchen”

“At the library”

“On a park bench in front of the office building”

“On an airplane traveling from Los Angeles to Detroit”

“At an airport”

“On a subway train”

“At a bar”

That last one puts candidates in a difficult predicament, since a bar is a place to relax, but a job interview is never the right occasion for being too relaxed.

Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam, points out that hiring managers often choose a casual setting so they can really get to know a candidate. However, he warns, “even if a meeting takes place in a nontraditional setting, job seekers should prepare as they would for a regular interview and maintain their professionalism throughout the discussion.”

OfficeTeam offers the following advice:

  1. Do your prep work. Review directions to and parking information for the location. Look up the person you’re meeting with on LinkedIn so you can prepare questions in advance and to make it easier to spot him or her in a crowd.
  2. Dress the part. Just because a job interview is held at a coffee shop or park doesn’t mean you should wear jeans and a T-shirt. Unless the hiring manager indicates otherwise, opt for office-appropriate attire.
  3. Stay focused. It’s easy to get distracted by other sights and sounds if the meeting is in a public location. Keep your attention on the interviewer the whole time.
  4. Show table manners. If you’re talking over a meal, avoid ordering anything messy or complicated to eat so you can concentrate on the discussion. It’s also best to skip the alcoholic beverages. Since employers often pick up the bill, don’t choose the most expensive item on the menu.
  5. End on a strong note. In certain situations, time and access to materials, such as your resume, may be limited. Leave a lasting impression by sending a thank-you message within 24 hours to follow up on your conversation and provide any additional information you didn’t get to cover. 

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