A Coffee Interview: What Is It and How to Prepare for It.

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Coffee shops these days are more than just places to hang out with friends or have a quick chat while grabbing a cup of coffee. In order to create a more welcoming environment for the candidates, many businesses are giving up on the conventional interview format and switching to “coffee interviews.”

Usually, coffee interviews last longer than standard ones, providing employers with a better chance to learn more about candidates outside closed offices. This article introduces coffee interviews, what they are, how they work, and how to prepare for them.

What is the coffee interview? In which cases is it used? Why is it important?

The coffee interview is informal, held offsite by the company, in a public place, normally a local coffee shop. It lasts no longer than half an hour; however, sometimes, it can be longer, depending on how the conversation goes.

Employers resort to coffee interviews when recruiting without a specific job description in mind. The role would be developed during the interview to bring the candidate on board.

The coffee interview can be considered an exploratory chat with mutual benefits for both sides. The job seeker will be comfortable, more open to talking, and free of office stress, allowing the recruiter to get better information. Moreover, stress-free interviews provide job seekers with a comprehensive and accurate idea about the company they’re applying for; it helps them make a better decision about accepting the job offer or not.

How to prepare for a coffee interview

Here are some tips for creating the right impression in the coffee interview.

Do Some Research About The Recruiting Company

Get to know the recruiting company by doing thorough research. The company’s website, social media accounts, and YouTube channel will provide useful information about its culture and work; it will help you seem keen and confident while engaging fully in a dialogue during the interview.

Double Check All The Details

Meeting an employer at a coffee shop for an interview can be misleading. Confirm all the details with the employer, like the date, time, and location, so you don’t get lost on the interview day or get there late. Most importantly, ask whom you will meet to be able to recognize when you arrive.

Come Earlier

Like any other interview, timing is important, and arriving late for an interview will make a very bad first impression. To avoid that, plan your way carefully, and find out the best way to get there. Consider traffic or any surprising events and arrive a bit early; the last thing you want is to enter the interview sweating and stressed.

Take Your CV

Prepare for different circumstances; the recruiter might not have a copy of your resume. Be on the safe side, and bring a printed copy of your CV with you. It might be the dream job you don’t want to lose for a minor incident such as not having a CV with you.

Prepare Answers to Possible Questions

Although it’s a coffee interview, it’s still a job interview, which means the employer will ask many questions, so be prepared and get answers to the most common questions, such as talking about yourself, why you chose their company, the protocol, and what makes you the perfect candidate, etc.

Prepare Detailed Questions

Don’t hesitate to ask; the informal interview gives you more space to be initiative and ask questions, prepare questions about what matters to you the most, such as working hours and dates, KPIs, team members, hierarchical structure of the company, facilities provided to employees, promotions, etc.

Wear Business Casual

For a coffee interview, a casual outfit is a good choice, and generally, your appearance must be elegant with a neat hairstyle and clean ironed clothes. For women’s outfits, dress and dress shoes, along with light makeup, casual hairstyle, and manicured nails, will be a good choice.

For men, the dress code includes semi-formal clothing accompanied by some dapper accessories. A high-quality men’s wallet matching other accessories like a watch and belt will add a touch of personality and enhance the overall look.


The coffee interview is an informal meeting with mutual benefits for both the recruiter and the job seeker. However, it’s an interview, and the job seeker must be prepared. For your next coffee interview, check the tips listed above and show employers who you really are.

About the author

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Like Minds is a global thought leadership platform delivering world class events on business development, knowledge and insight aimed at entrepreneurs and business leaders to engage, stimulate and empower them to become global businesses of the future. We also offer a bespoke service for corporate clients and training programmes under the Like Minds U brand. For more information please email bespoke@wearelikeminds.com