Differences Between Job Interview and Job Chat

A job interview is a conversation between an employer and a prospective employee with a view to assessing the suitability of the candidate for job offer.

While a job chat is also a form of conversation with a prospective applicant with similar goal, there are a number of differences between the two.

However, before highlighting the differences, it is important to caveat that both terms are sometimes used to mean the same thing. Your sms or email invite could describe it as chat but it could end up being a full scale interview. So it is necessary to bear that in mind.

Now, let’s look at the differences where the recruiter does not intend to use them to mean the same thing.

  1. Order: Where a recruitment process involves both interview and chat, interview usually comes first.
  2. Formality: Interview is usually more formal than chat. Some light, informal questions that were not asked during interview could be asked during chat – things like your marital status, number of children, state of origin etc. Some other exciting things about you are also asked during chat. While decisions are hardly made based on these questions, they are usually asked in a friendly manner, depending on the curiosity of the personnel chatting with you. While you could also give light answers, you should never forget to drop your guard too low. Maintain some level of formality, still.
  3. Decision stage: In most cases, when you reach the chat stage of a recruitment process, you have gotten the job. While a candidate can still be dropped at chat stage, it is hardly the case. In 80% of cases, chats are just formality just to tick the recruitment steps or to let the senior management know that someone is joining. However, this does not mean anyone cannot be dropped during chat. interview questions to ask
  4. Who to meet: The party in the company you are meeting during chat is usually a senior person, like CEO or or other executive management staff like Group Head of HR, Group Head of the unit you are being invited for etc. They are in most cases more senior to the person/people you met during interview.
  5. Number of people: Interview could be panel or one-on-one, but chat is most times one-on-one.
  6. Where to meet: While interview usually happens at a meeting room or conference room, chat most times happens at the office of the person to chat with the candidate like the CEO’s office, Group HR Manager’s office etc.
  7. Purpose: Sometimes, chat could be to thrash out some issues that were not discussed during interview, after decision to employ you has been made or reached advanced stage. So issues like salary may come up during chat. Some other times, chat could be set up as a tie breaker. Maybe two of you tied or are strongly considered for the job, chat may be set up to have the CEO or any other top guy talk to the two of you and settle who to hire.
  8. Too big for interview: Sometimes chat is used at top executive level, especially when you are a highly sought-after executive or someone with some specialized skills. Whether it is the company that approaches you or you are the one that applied, some companies use chat as a way of having their senior executive talk to you rather than formal interview. You could be invited for a lunch with their CEO or CFO at a top hotel or even at a venue abroad like Dubai or London, where the company’s executive sits with you, semi-formally after lunch, to have you talk about your experience, your vision for the company, their plans etc.

Again, it is important to state that chat and interview are sometimes used interchangeably, but where a distinction is made in the process, the above are the differences.

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