5 Places to Interview Candidates That Don’t Involve an Office

Job interviews in an office are so boring aren't they? We asked around for stories on more unusual places to query a candidate. Here's the 5 best responses we got back.

1. Co working space

Michael Gardon, a serial entrepreneur and freelance consultant says the best place to interview someone is a co-working space such as Wework.

There’s no better place for a fast paced atmosphere, yet with a laid back vibe. The energy from other startups in the building is electric, plus you get all these great collisions with other small businesses that you just don’t get in a dedicated office setting. You’re sure to impress a candidate when you walk down the hall and say hi to 5 other startups!

2. The Networking Event

Our second response comes from Stacy Madden. She is a Senior Recruiter for Naviga
Business Services
a national sales and marketing recruiting firm. She writes;

I worked with a company that had a very nontraditional way of meeting with potential sales candidates. They would would source and recruit about 30 sales candidates and have them come to an invitation only Networking Event at their company headquarters. From there they would give presentations and tours to promote their business and their brand. They would provide food, drinks, and even gifts to the candidates who attended. The candidates were
supposed to mingle with each other, employees from the company who attended, and leadership. If the company was impressed with anyone, they would invite the candidates back for a more formal interview. The employer would hold large events like this and sometimes only invite one candidate back for an interview.

Part of what made this setting so unconventional was that the candidates were essentially on their first interview with 29 other candidates. There were not any real guidelines about what to do to stand out and so few people were called back from these events.

3. The Bar/Pub

For my current position at Netrepid, every interview I had took place during a happy hour at a pub. I have no idea how many people were considered for the position that I have filled, but only one interview occurred 'at the office' - my final one with multiple team members, when it was apparent that the position was mine to accept/decline. Now I totally understand that some job seekers may be turned off by that type of interview process. After all, they might think "why won't this CEO meet me at his place of business during regular office hours?"

But, after working for the company for over a year, I now know that being a team member at Netrepid requires an 'always on' approach to your work, and that regular office conventions are not part of the SOP for the company. The interview process was an early indicator of that, and it also proved beneficial in the long run. By the time I did accept the job and came onboard, I had the added benefit of already having the professional respect of the CEO as well as a good personal relationship with him.

Submitted by Jonathan Bentz, Marketing Manager.

4. The User Group

I run a small software company the employs software developers on a full-time, part time and contract basis. My favorite approach to recruiting is to find a local user group meeting in the relevant technology. User groups have a long tradition in technology – Apple came out of the famous Homebrew Computer Club – and continue to this day.

Sitting in on a meeting and watching the discussion and the way long time members react to each other provides valuable information about what someone knows and the respect they have earned in the community over time. You also get to see how they function in a group.

Most user groups meetings end with pizza or a trip to a local pub. At this point you can engage the people that interest you without them even realizing they are being interviewed. If it goes well the conversation usually ends with “I’d like to work with you” and the exchange of business cards.

Mark Anderson, FloristWare

5. The Hotel Suite

My best interview ever was at a brand new 5-Star hotel in New Orleans. When I arrived, I called the Hiring Manager, who told me what suite he was in. I went upstairs and knocked on the door. He opened the door and joked that if I had known that the brass thing in the middle of the door was a doorbell, I would have gotten the job without the need to interview. I promptly slammed the door in his face and beat on the doorbell like crazy. I could hear Mike laughing through the door. He opened it and said, “No, no, no, it’s too late. You have to go through the interview.”. Obviously, I had broken the ice.

That's only the first half of the story...

The interview went so well that he said he had something to show me. I followed him into the suite’s bathroom, where there was a bidet. He stepped on the foot pedal. Me being me, I said in my best southern drawl, “Hot damn! They even got a water fountain in the bathroom!”*

Not only did I get the job, but Mike later named me regional trainer and helped me become regional manager. We later became business partners and have been friends for more than twenty-five years.

Again, interviews are like first dates. Be yourself. You’re about to enter into a relationship that will hopefully last many years. So you don’t want to “tie the knot” with someone if the fit isn’t right.

Al Smith, Transition Sherpa.

Do you have a great interview story that didnt take place in an office? Let us know and we'll write about it.