I'm about to be made redundant and, I created a CV according to MT, and managed to get it on the desk of a CIO of a company I really want to work for.   He told me a new role will be available soon and I'm a good fit,  Director will be the hiring manager, please work with him.

So I contacted the director, and he has responded...

"...I've got to pull some documentation together to finalise the role and get approval from senior management.  On one hand, the FTE is tacitly approved, however I'm trying to get a more senior set of responsibilities approved (which look like they would also better suit your background)."

The he share some details about the role and finished up with....

"I'm smashed this week, but could do an informal coffee next week some time (Tue or Wed AM)  if that works.  I could give you a high level run through on the role and the opportunities.  Alternatively, we will commence formal interview processing in 3-4 weeks if you'd like to wait." 

I'm of course going to take him up on the offer of the chat, I'm not going to delay meeting him for one second, I want to make a strong, positive impression ahead of the pack.

But there's no such thing as an informal chat in this circumstance, this is an interview for all intents and purposes.   It's a filtering exercise for him and an influencing opportunity for me.  Right?

So I will wear my suit, shake his hand like a pro, use my introduction/about me, build rapport, link back to relevant accomplishments when possible, and ask questions which will help me excel in the formal interview process.

Any advice for dealing with informal chats, or how to maximise this opportunity?




Sulmi's picture

Matt, this is a very interesting post - the same thing happened to me. You are absolutely right that it is similar to an interview.

My advice:

1. Have everything ready like for an interview.

2. Prepare 1 main point you want to bring across and try to nail that.

3. Take the specifics into account – you will not have time for a long “tell me about yourself” answer and might be interrupted by waiters/acquaintances. You will not get all your points across.

This worked for me.

ProcReg's picture

Definitely suit up.

I like point #2 especially, one main attribute that makes you a great addition to their work team. Mine is that I don't like to procrastinate, and I give an example from college that was so radically different from common college behavior (I'm not that far removed from college, so it makes sense for me).

Good luck!


"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed." - Theodore Roosevelt

"Public opinion is a weak tyrant to that of private thought." HD Thoreau Walden

Mjoyce's picture


I thought I would follow up on this, as it was quite interesting.

I met in the cafe, in the foyer of the company HQ.  The hiring manager was delayed and sent me text - no problem.  When he arrived the cafe was pretty busy and he instead took me into a meeting room.    Right away I got the Tell Me About Yourself question, which I have been practicing often - no problem.

From there on in, it was a very free flowing conversation which included whiteboards, org charts and a very interesting and surprising detailed discussion about strategy.  Fortunately it was all deep within my scope of knowledge and experience.   It was a very comfortable, free flowing conversation.

Coffee Chat, lasted 2.5 hours.  The HM missed at least one other meeting.


I left feeling pretty good, and followed up with an email, and he replied echoing my positive sentiment.

This week he told me the role has been approved and he will initiate the formal interview process, despite him being overseas.

So, fingers crossed.


'If you don;t have an offer, you have nothing'.