Tips for Interviewing in a Public Place

How to Handle Interviewing at a Coffee Shop or Restaurant

Colleagues having informal meeting in cafe, cropped
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Employers sometimes schedule job interviews in a public place, like a coffee shop or restaurant. It could be because they are hiring for a field position and they don't have a local office. Or, it may be more convenient to interview candidates in a setting other than the office, especially if you don't want your current employees to know that you're hiring.

Here are some tips for interviewing in public:

Confirm the Interview Details
Confirm the exact location (there are more than 160 Starbucks in New York City!) as well as the time of your appointment.

Ask how you will recognize the interviewer.

Dress Professionally
Dress professionally, even if you are meeting in a casual environment. Bring a portfolio, pad and pen so you can take notes. Also, bring copies of your resume.

Prepare in Advance
Prepare just as you would for an office interview. Research the company, have responses ready for typical interview questions and have a list of questions to ask the interviewer.

Focus on the Interviewer
It may be noisy and there may be distractions, like customers and waitstaff coming and going. Try to focus on the interviewer, as best you can. Keep the interview focused, as well, by staying on topic.

Watch Your Manners
Be careful what you order from the menu. Choose something simple and easy to eat and never order the most expensive item on the menu. One candidate knocked herself out of contention for a job when she picked her teeth and freshened her make-up at the table, then ordered a coffee to go - on the interviewer's tab.

It's easier for paperwork to get misplaced when it's being transported than when it's on an office desk, so make sure that you follow-up with a thank you note and to check on the status of your candidacy.

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