Top Tips for Off-Site Job Interviews
With many offices close or at least having a rota or a skeleton staff in the office and working from home, conducting job interviews on site might be tricky. But you might still want to meet the candidate in person instead of just doing things remotely like we’ve seen recently. So sometimes it’s necessary to have off-site job interviews.
Non-pandemic reasons you want to do an off-site job interviews
- A shortage of meeting rooms due to a busy office
- You need a central location for both parties to get to easily
- You may need to be discreet about the role in the office
We’ve had clients in the past who didn’t have many meeting rooms, or they were recruiting for a field sales person who was based many miles away. It starts to become thought that the local coffee shop is an unofficial extra meeting room. It’s great to have a bit of out of office time and make things a little less formal, but still get into the nitty gritty of things.
Holding an interview or attending an interview off-site can sometimes raise a few questions, so we’ve gathered some pointers to help you get it right, whether you’re an employer or interviewee.
Tips for Employers
- Choose a good location – somewhere in a nice setting, not too noisy so you can easily talk but you also don’t want to feel like you can be overheard. A hotel reception, large restaurant or café/bar.
- Somewhere central and public – safety is a key factor, it needs to be easy to get to by car and public transport and somewhere where you can social distance.
- Keep it professional – Stand up and greet them, but for now, no handshakes!
- Time of day – You want to be sure you’ll get a table, so book a table if you can. If not, early morning is probably the best time. Breakfast meetings are always a good slot, especially for interviews.
- Dress code – Dress as you would for an in-office interview, just because the interview is off-site, you still need to represent the company as you would normally.
- Avoid awkward moments – The big question is how you recognize the person you’re meeting? Connect with them on Linked in so you can get some background on them and also see what they look like, avoiding the need for roses in lapels or smoke signals
- Keep your eyes peeled – Sit somewhere you can see people arrive ideally, so you can spot them on arrival and jump up to greet them. This also means you can order drinks if necessary and avoid any awkwardness there! It’s best etiquette as host of the meeting to buy the drinks.
- Keep gaps between interviews – give yourself enough time between slots, so you don’t have any candidates overlapping. This a potential majorly awkward situation here that needs to be avoided.
Tips for Interviewees
- Location – As above really. Make sure you agree on a location that is a public place and easy to get to. Safety is paramount, always tell a friend or partner the details of where you’re going, time etc.
- Keep it formal – Don’t get too relaxed, even though you’re offsite and the setting is more casual you must remain professional. This could be a tactic from the Employers to see how you react.
- Preparation – Do exactly the same preparation you would for an on-site interview
- Dress code – Dress as you would for an in-office interview, just because the interview is off-site, you still need to be suited and booted to make the best first impression.
- Avoid awkward moments – The big question is how you recognize the person you’re meeting? Connect with them on Linked in so you know what they do, their work history, let an idea of what they like/dislike – and of course, you can see what they look like, avoiding the need for roses or handkerchiefs.
- Presentation – If you need to demonstrate examples of work, to give a presentation, make sure you take your laptop and that it’s fully charged.
Off-site interviews are fine, but ideally, you’d like to try and see the company offices before you accept a job offer. There’s no substitute for seeing the place you’re considering working, you’ll also want to meet the team and see where you’ll be based.
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