Why Coffee Shop Interview?

Hello all, I recently moved onto the next round of interviews, after phone screen(s), and the next step is an interview with people on the deal team at a coffee shop. I know I'm probably overthinking it, but why a public location? To see how I act with distractions? 

I was a little disappointed that it is not at their actual brick and mortar location, but with COVID, I guess firms have to adapt their interview process? Any feedback would be great; thank you for your time.

Comments (26)

Jan 15, 2021 - 1:44pm

That is a bit odd.....but it could also be a good thing. Could mean the team is a little more laid back? Also, good chance that you're not going to get grilled as hard in a public venue. So, that's a positive in my opinion.

Most Helpful
Jan 15, 2021 - 1:45pm

Don't overthink this! I really doubt they are testing you in any way on how you drink coffee or deal with distractions (that said, if somehow you just "happen" to have coffee spilled in your lap... be careful lol)

A few common sense points...

1. Meeting people for coffee is normal, and nice to buy people coffee (i.e. they are being nice to you)

2. Their office looks like shit, and they don't want you to see just yet (this can be the case often lol)

3. They like coffee, and when they take someone "out" they can expense it (probably a factor regardless!)

4. Its' COVID time, and they may be prohibited from bringing outsiders into the office w/o special permission (this is most likely)

Just treat this is normal, you are too much in your head! 

Jan 17, 2021 - 4:20pm

I second the above. I once had an interview step, out of 5 steps, that involved getting beers and appetizers at a sports bar with other applicants and the broader consulting team. Final step was dinner with the Principal and their spouse (yes, I got the job). It's likely not a "test", it's a time to see who you are as a person. Your task is to mingle in a professional manner. That being said, you'll probably get some direct questions so be ready to answer anything you would be asked in a formal interview setting. I'd also be prepared to ask questions about your interviewers to try to get to know them, as they may want to see their interest in you be reciprocated.

Array

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Jun 20, 2021 - 1:05pm

What were the interviews in their office like after this? Were they more casual given that you had passed the first screen or were they normal and technical?

Jan 15, 2021 - 2:07pm

100% overthinking it. It could be a "test" to see how you interact with the barista, but chances are it's either COVID-inspired or simply something they enjoy doing. 

Commercial Real Estate Developer

Jan 15, 2021 - 2:27pm

Most likely its to assess your sugar to creamer ratio. They will be analyzing each and every move you make. God forbid...do not make the mistake off putting both equal and sweet and low. That will get you burned in the industry.

In all seriousness though, you're 100% overthinking it. I had an interview at a brewery and it was a bit awkward because they drank quite a bit. I ended up getting an offer.

Array

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  • Prospect in HF - Other
Jun 20, 2021 - 1:04pm

What were the interviews in their office like after this? Were they more casual given that you had passed the first screen or were they normal and technical?

Jan 15, 2021 - 11:14pm

I shit you not, for my first job out of college on a top investment sales team, I had my first round interview outside of a Starbucks/Bruster's Ice Cream (one of those combined retail buildings like you would see with a Taco Bell/KFC) in like 100-degree heat in suburban nowheresville.  My future boss had just finished a property tour and didn't want to drive back into the office to interview the new analyst candidate so he asked me to drive to where he was.  We sat on a bench outside with him mainlining espressos and me sweating my dick off in my suit.  We had a blast just bullshitting on some uncomfortable bench, and I had a job two weeks later.  Still one of my favorite people I've ever worked with almost a decade later.

The location had nothing to do with trying to mind-fuck me and was all about convenience for him, but it did show him that I was willing to do what it took to get the job and that I wasn't some pretentious shit head that wasn't humble enough to go meet him somewhere... unconventional (not necessarily the impression he would have gathered off my college resume.  Long story short, don't read too much into it; the location is likely just convenient for the interviewer.  Good luck!

Jan 17, 2021 - 6:42am

This is super common - I've had multiple interviews in coffee shops for jobs in different industries (both when I was in RE and now that I'm in PE). People meet for coffee all the time, and this is no different

Jan 19, 2021 - 12:32pm

crescrub

Hello all, I recently moved onto the next round of interviews, after phone screen(s), and the next step is an interview with people on the deal team at a coffee shop. I know I'm probably overthinking it, but why a public location? To see how I act with distractions? 

I was a little disappointed that it is not at their actual brick and mortar location, but with COVID, I guess firms have to adapt their interview process? Any feedback would be great; thank you for your time.

Some people enjoy having coffee, and are also busy, and so combine two things.

You're probably not going to be asked to underwrite a deal while sitting at Starbucks, if that's the fear.  Especially since you're in a second round, it's most likely that someone wants to get to know you on a slightly more sociable level while also getting their morning/afternoon coffee.

Jan 19, 2021 - 1:53pm

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