An informal chat before a formal job interview can help you reach your goal.Credit:Shutterstock
If you’re invited for an informal chat, remember that “informal” doesn’t mean unprofessional, so be
aware of the risks of wasting a recruiter’s time. Sure, it might be tempting to use the discussion as an opportunity to brush up on your interview skills, but if a recruiter senses you’re not serious about a job or company, your professional reputation could be on the line.
There are a few things you can do before your meeting to ensure you conduct yourself professionally and give a positive impression. For example, do some research into the organisation, what it does and the types of roles it recruits for. Also, think about what role the company may be able to offer you and be ready to discuss your career goals and how you could be a match for the organisation.
Enter the discussion with the mindset you’re actually applying for the role and avoid being too casual in your presentation or performance. If you’ve come this far, formally securing a role should
be on your list of possibilities, so it’ll pay to get off on the right foot should you choose to want to go
down that route.
It’s also important to read the room, which means aligning your own conduct with the recruiter’s
tone, language and demeanour. While being too formal could lead to awkwardness, coming across
as overly casual could give the impression of unprofessionalism.
Jay Munro, head of career insights at Indeed.Credit:
At the end of the discussion, if either you or the recruiter decides you’re not the right fit for the role
or company, think carefully about how you close the conversation to ensure you maintain the professional relationship. In other words, you could easily burn bridges you might want to cross in
the future by being too dismissive or emotional. Take a pragmatic approach and ask for recommendations about how you could develop your skills for roles in the future. Or, if you’re not interested in the role, suggest a few personal connections who might be.
Informal chats are an opportunity for you to get ahead of the game when it comes to finding your
dream job. If a discussion goes well, keep up the momentum and show your dedication by discussing
possible next steps and always maintaining open lines of communication with the recruiter.