Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Three Alternative Interview Locations and What to Know

As you get deeper into your job search and begin to go on job interviews, you may find you’re asked to meet outside of a traditional office setting. Here are 3 alternative interview locations and how to navigate in unfamiliar territory:

Coffee shop:

Meeting an interviewer at a coffee shop has a blind date feel to it. It is especially important for these interviews, to do your research. Google the interviewer’s name to find a photo of them. You’ll still have to do some crowd searching but you’ll hopefully have to approach less strangers.

If you arrive early, buy a drink, something simple without chocolate chips, and find a seat facing out. Be prepared to stand up and approach your interviewer as they enter the shop.

If the interviewer arrives before you, greet them and take a seat. If you must get a drink, assess the line and determine if it’s worth waiting in. If you’re exactly on time to the interview, skip the drink and line and jump right into the interview.

Coworking Space:

Similar to a coffee shop but cooler. Interviewing at a coworking space means understanding startup company culture and going with the flow.

Many coworking spaces are located in areas off the beaten path, so make sure you have a thorough grasp of the area and/or a great directions app.

Companies and individuals who work out of coworking spaces are very serious about their time since they are paying to rent the space. Hold off on small talk, unless initiated by coworking members.


The regular rules of office interviews apply but the biggest difference is food. Make sure you order conservatively. Choose a meal that is moderately priced and one that is easy to cut and no mess. Other than that, don’t over think it.
Brush up on your dining etiquette avoid drinking alcohol. If your interviewer orders a drink, you may order one glass, but stop there. It’s still an interview and you want to remain as clear and focused as you would on the job.

If a potential employer takes you out to eat for an interview, they are expecting to pick up the tab. Be sure to say thank you and reiterate your thanks in a follow-up thank you note.

If you ever find yourself interviewing outside of an office setting, consider these tips on how to proceed!

Have you ever interviewed somewhere odd? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Piutus

Ali Kelley

Ali is a freelance writer who blogs about nonprofits, tech and social media for Chicago startups, Zealous Good, Dabble, and Eventbrite. Since graduating college in 2009, she has learned a ton about job searching in a recession, and is excited to share her experiences. In addition to writing, Ali enjoys the finer things in life like pajamas that double as jeans.

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