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How To Prepare For An Informal Interview

It’s becoming more and more common for interviewers to try and calm your pre interview nerves by calling it an ‘informal interview’ – but what these lovely employers don’t understand is that it causes even more stress for terrified graduates entering the working world with little professional interview experience.

When I came for my first interview at Bubble I was told it was an informal interview. A mad rush of questions instantly entered my head; what do I wear? What questions will they ask? What if I say the wrong thing? So I sympathise with this sudden sense of panic you may be feeling in the pit of your stomach! But not to worry; I’ve listed everything you need to know about informal interviews and how to wow your employer.

1) Failing To Prepare Is Preparing To Fail

I thought I’d get this one out of the way first. Many of you in the graduate world may hear you have an informal interview and think ‘Great, I’ve got nothing to worry about’, time to sit back and relax. NO, NO, NO… If you go into your interview with this casual attitude, it will come across as though you have a casual attitude towards the role, and you don’t want that! Make sure you’re on time and look respectable and ready to boast about yourself!

Before my interview at Bubble, I researched the company, what they did and how the job role would suit me – this way I was sure I could answer their questions. But don’t worry too much; your employer isn’t expecting you to know every tiny detail. That said we’re an extremely lucky generation as we have Google at our finger tips, so there’s no excuse graduates!!

So… before your interview, get your notepad, tablet, phone (whatever you fancy) and write (or type) down the key information you need to know about the company and make sure you can talk about it freely – this way you won’t sound like a robot.

2) Make Sure You Match Your Skills With The Job Description

Even though your employer is saying it’s an informal interview there’s a strong chance that they want to discover whether your skills match the job description. So… get the job description in front of you and highlight the key skills that are necessary – then make sure that you can boast about your talents in relation to those skills.

If you find that you don’t have all the requirements necessary, don’t just brush it under the carpet and think it will go away, it won’t! Make sure you have an answer ready – the employer won’t expect you to know everything – after all, you’re a graduate just beginning your journey. But if you can explain how you’ll attempt to enhance your skills it shows that you use your initiative rather than just expecting people to sit you down and teach you.

3) Be Engaging

With any interview an employer wants to see what your personality is like but even more so in an informal interview. So make sure that you’re personable by smiling and engaging in questions and conversation with the interviewer.

You may have all the right qualifications and experience but if you have a face like grumpy dwarf you’re most likely not going to get the job. Employers are looking for a good worker (obviously) but they also want to know that you‘ll fit in with the employees and are able to boost morale when times may get stressful. So smile and be chatty (which shouldn’t be too hard).

4) Keep Some Kind Of Guard Up

This said don’t relax too much! Many interviews may choose an informal interview to evaluate what you’re like when you’re relaxed. Make sure you avoid those bad habits slipping out, like; lateness, swearing, slouching and fidgeting

Make sure you still act professionally and don’t let the excitement of the interview take over and become similar to an excitable puppy! Rein it in a little bit if you know you have a big character.

5) What Do I Wear?!

At the end of your conversation about your interview, the employer might slip in that it’s a casual dress code – another problem to add to your list. Sorry!

Try not to take the term too literally, if you turn up in your hoody and tracksuit bottoms you’re probably not going to give off the best first impression. So take a look at our blog, on how to master the “casual” job interview to discover exactly what you should be wearing to that key interview!

Ok, so you go; my top five tips on how to keep your cool and win over your employer at an informal interview.
Have I missed anything out? Remember, sharing is caring! Feel free to leave a comment below.

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