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A recruiter’s perspective of the ‘general chat’ (it’s not a “general chat”)

Employers often describe the initial interview as a “general chat”. This terminology may seem casual, but the relaxed tone can inadvertently set the scene for a potential trap: under-preparation.

The truth is, there’s no such thing as just a ‘general chat’ and over the years, I witnessed many instances where candidates didn’t progress beyond this initial stage because the hiring manager was underwhelmed by their knowledge of the role or the company.

It’s safe to view the ‘general chat’ as a subtle form of a competency-based interview, it’s best to approach it like one.

👉 Be prepared to showcase your skills and how they are relevant to the potential role.

👉 Identify and understand the required competencies. These can typically be found in the job specification. In the absence of a job spec, research similar roles within the company or the industry.

👉 For each competency, prepare 2-3 examples that clearly illustrate your suitability for the role.

👉 Leverage your recruiter. If you’re engaged with a recruiter, they can provide invaluable insights into the company and the role.

👉 Research is paramount. Make an effort to understand the company and the interviewer, demonstrating your genuine interest in the role and the organisation.

While the terminology of a “general chat” may seem casual, don’t be lulled into a relaxed approach when it comes to preparation.

Good luck to anyone having “general chat’s” at the moment!