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Can you meet for an interview... at Starbucks?

The ubiquitous coffee shop is a popular place for business meetings and job interviews

by Dory Devlin  |  1067 views  |  1 comment  |        Rate this now! 

Some days, I love working from home and the quietude and alone-ness that comes with it. Other days, I just have to get out of my house and be around other people, sounds, and voices.

Today was one of those days. So, I set up blogging shop at a table in my nearby Starbucks. Amid the business folks wandering in for a midday jolt of caffeine and the moms gathering for a break as little ones enjoyed sugar fixes, a woman in a crisp black suit walked in, sat down with a latte, good posture, and a black portfolio at the ready. Yep, she was waiting for an interview to begin.

An hour-and-20-minute interview, to be exact. As she and an amiable hiring manager parsed the details of an HR job, at first broadly, then specifically (with me hearing every word of it), I couldn't help wondering if Starbucks is an ideal place for an interview.

Sure, there are some good things about meeting for an interview in the ubiquitous coffeeshop:

 
  • It's a neutral place. You don't have to enter an office, and be seen by other workers. This can be a good thing if you don't want word to get out that you are interviewing for a job in a certain company.
  • You don't have to eat. No worrying about whether ordering a salad is the best plan, or which utensil to use, or how to talk and eat without a piece of food showing up between your two front teeth.
  • It is often busy and crowded. Maybe it's easier to have a more relaxed conversation in a place people come for relaxed conversations?

But there are some definite downsides:

 
  • It is often busy and crowded. Do you really want to pitch youself and talk about past work experiences with people seated as close as two feet away?
  • It's noisy. Making your points (and hearing your interviewer's questions) is not easy when the espresso machine is in full swing.
  • It is far from private. You need to stay focused with a lot of distractions around you, and feel free to answer the questions the way you need to answer them without worrying about who is listening.

Downsides aside, as unemployment is on the rise, most of us would say, "Great, I'll meet you there," if an interview is scheduled in a Starbucks anywhere. But is it a good place to interview for a job you really want?

About the Author

Dory Devlin is the Work+Money editor on Yahoo! Shine. Check out Shine Work+Money here.

Read more by Dory Devlin




1 comment so far...

  • Think, too, about the Starbucks and their business. Does an interviewer have the right to take up a table for more than an hour that could have been used by a paying customer or two -- or more? I hope the interviewer (and possibly the interviewee) made a purchase of some kind to help justify the use of the commercial space.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Daisy on 28th December 2008

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