What is an informal interview?
An informal interview is a type of interview where the conversation between the interviewer and the interviewee is more relaxed and conversational.
It is usually conducted in a casual setting, such as over coffee, and may not follow a structured format.
Unlike a formal interview, which typically has predetermined questions, an informal interview allows for more flexibility and open-ended discussion about the role while getting to know you in a more relaxed environment.
An informal interview aims to get to know the candidate more personally and assess their personality, communication style, and cultural fit. It also provides an opportunity for you to ask questions and learn more about the company culture and job expectations in the finance team.
Why Do Employers Use Informal Interviews?
When hiring, employers often rely on the traditional, formal job interview process to evaluate candidates. However, there are situations where employers opt for an informal interview approach.
Here are some reasons why employers use informal interviews:
#1 Determine cultural fit
Employers may use informal interviews to assess how well a candidate will fit into the company culture. By having a more relaxed conversation, the employer can assess the candidate's personality, values, and communication style. This can also help employers decide which role is the right fit for a candidate if they are hiring for multiple positions.
#2 Build relationships
An informal interview can help build a relationship between the employer and the candidate. This can be particularly important for finance roles that require teamwork, collaboration, and strong interpersonal skills.
#3 Reduces stress
Formal job interviews can be stressful, especially for candidates who are anxious or introverted. Employers can create a more relaxed and comfortable environment using an informal interview approach and help candidates perform better.
#4 Gather additional information
An informal interview can allow the employer to gather additional information about the candidate's skills, experience, and interests. This can be particularly helpful in saving time in deciding whether an individual has the skills needed to succeed.
#5 Clarify information
Some recruiters invite candidates to attend an informal interview following a formal recruitment process. In this instance, the purpose is often to follow up on the interview or any information provided by the candidate before a final decision is made.
Which companies use informal interviews?
Many companies use informal interviews as part of their hiring process. These can range from larger organizations or smaller companies such as start-up organizations.
Some top companies that are known for using informal interviewing methods include:
- Facebook (now Meta)
What To Expect During An Informal Interview
Informal interviews are designed to be more relaxed and less formal than traditional interviews. The interviewer wants to get to know you better, so they will try to put you at ease by creating a relaxed atmosphere.
The interviewer will try to get to know you better by encouraging open conversation. They may ask you questions that aren't related to the job position to relax you and learn more about you.
You might be asked about your hobbies, interests, and family life. This is a chance to show your personality, connect, and build a rapport with the interviewer.
Even though the interview is informal, the interviewer may still ask questions about what you know about the company or why you want to work there
What Questions Will You Be Asked at an Informal Finance Interview?
Some questions that can be asked in an informal interview include:
- What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
- What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced in your role?
- How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?
- What are your long-term career aspirations?
- How do you organize your day?
- What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- What do you enjoy most about your role?
- What do you think the best thing about working at our company is/will be?
Preparing for an Informal Interview
While an informal interview may not be as structured as a formal one, it is still important to prepare for it.
Here are some tips for preparing for an informal interview:
#1 Research the company and the interviewer
Even though it's an informal interview, it's essential to do your research. Look up the company you're interviewing with, its mission, values, and culture. Also, find out more about the person interviewing you, such as their position in the team.
#2 Prepare some questions
Informal interviews are often more conversational, so it's a good idea to come prepared with some questions to ask the interviewer. This will help you learn more about the company and the position and show interest and engagement in the role.
#3 Be able to articulate your skills and knowledge
Be prepared to talk about yourself and your skills in a concise and engaging way. Think about your strengths and development areas and how these link to a role in a finance team.
#4 Be yourself
Be yourself during the interview. Remember to stay calm, be yourself, and enjoy the conversation. Informal interviews are often conducted to assess cultural fit, so letting your personality shine through is important.