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Questions at an Informal Interview

by Rick Suttle, studioD

Informal interviews usually put interviewers and candidates in more relaxed settings such as restaurants or coffee shops, but neither should forget these are still interviews. Companies use informal interviews to determine candidates' social and communication skills, according to Vitaver & Associates, including how well they carry on conversations. Whether you are an employer searching for the top candidate or interviewing for a job, ask questions that provide you with information you need.

Tell Me About Yourself

Hiring managers should get to know candidates on a more personal level during informal interviews. While the question "tell me about yourself" is also a common formal interview question, preface it by asking candidates to describe both personal and professional experience. Your objective is to learn more about candidates and determine how well they fit into your company's corporate culture. If your company uses a team approach on projects, a person who likes to work alone is probably not a good fit for the job. Those involved in many extracurricular activities, charities or professional organizations might be better suited for team environments.

What Was Your Most Rewarding College Experience?

Put candidates at ease when asking questions at informal interviews. Asking about someone's most rewarding college experience can help ease her interview jitters. If you're interviewing applicants for an accounting job, you may see how passionate they are about numbers or doing taxes, for example. Employers appreciate people who are passionate about their professions, as they are probably more likely to stay in these careers.

Tell Me About Your Experiences with the Company and Industry

It's appropriate to ask interviewers about their company or industry experiences when you are on informal interviews. Ask hiring managers what their experiences have been like with companies, and how long they've been in certain industries. You want to ensure a job is a good fit for you. And asking a hiring manager to describe her experiences can help you better understand details about the company and industry. Consider following this question up with one pertaining to how well they like the company or industry.

What Interests You About My Background?

While conversations may come easier during informal interviews, you might have less time to discuss your skills and qualifications. Therefore, ask interviewers what interests them about your background. This informs you were you stand with them. A hiring manager may like your strong supervisory experience, for example. Once interviewers respond to this question, discuss some of the attributes or skills they like about you, and relate them to those of the position. In other words, describe how you would use your strengths to help the manager's department complete projects, introduce new products or increase revenue.

About the Author

Rick Suttle has been writing professionally since 2009, covering health and business for various online and print publications. He has worked in corporate marketing research and as a copywriter. Suttle holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing from Miami University and a Master of Business Administration from California Coast University. He is author of the novels "Hell Year" and "Suicide Peak."

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