The 27th of October is National Mentoring Day. To celebrate, Renovo Career Coach Sarah Rycraft has shared with us her techniques on how she prepares her clients for an informal meeting.
"One of the most common questions I get asked is how do I prepare for an informal meeting with a recruiter or with one of my contacts?
This is very topical at the moment and these meet ups are often referred to as ‘coffee chats’. They generally take place away from the office with the aim of being more relaxed, so both parties can have an open conversation. The coffee chat could be with a Recruitment Consultant, a hiring manager or someone within your network helping you to secure your next role.
Here are my 4 steps for coffee chat success:
Ahead of the meeting, do your research. You want to come to the meeting knowledgeable with a good understanding of what they do and how they can help you. If you are meeting with a connection, research them on LinkedIn. Familiarise yourself with their career history, connections, the industry they work in and any professional groups they are a member of. If you are using this as an opportunity to gain insight, what do you want to learn or gain from this meeting? What do you want to get out of the coffee chat?
If you have instigated the meeting, there will be an expectation that you will come prepared and have an agenda in mind. Ask yourself what is your desired outcome? Why is this meeting taking place? Was it arranged by you or them? If you are meeting with a recruiter or hiring manager, what opportunities do they have in mind for you
Put together a plan of the key points you wish to discuss during the conversation. Prepare for any meeting you have as you would an interview. If the meeting is taking place in a more informal setting its likely you will feel more relaxed. Dress appropriately, first impressions count.
Ahead of the meeting you need to pay extra attention to what you are going to say and how you say it. If you are discussing your career aspirations with your network, how can they help you? If you are being considered for a specific opportunity what are your USPs How do you match the role? You need to be able to identify what makes you unique. Focus on the qualities only you have that can benefit the listener. Coffee chats are an opportunity to get to know an individual, personality traits and can often be seen as a chemistry session to ensure the individual would be a good fit within the business.
The intention is to stand out from the competition, whether it be other candidates or ensuring your contact supports you in your next career move. Like anything else, practice makes perfect. How you present yourself is just as important as what you say. So always consider your audience and what elements are most relevant.
After the meeting has come to an end, what happens next? Set an agreed action, whether it’s to keep in touch, be introduced to a new connection or to arrange a future interview. Connect on LinkedIn and keep in contact. Coffee chats are all about building relationships; whilst they may start informally, how you continue to build and manage a professional relationship will help support you to career success."
Renovo is the UK’s leading specialist provider of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org