These types of interviews do not carry any type of structure and can often be fun, especially if the interviewer enjoys meeting new people. Unstructured interviews are often conducted simply to get a ‘feel’ of somebody as an individual, and the conversation takes no particular format. The interviewer simply starts a conversation and the conversation takes a form that is not managed by the interviewer.These are useful for situations where the employer, or manager, wants to get to know the individual as a person out of the work-context. One of the downsides of unstructured interviews is that they do not carry any consistent criteria. Every conversation with applicants will take a different form which makes it very difficult to compare and contrast between candidates when making selection decisions. Often intuition is not managed and the difference between thinking someone is good and not-good is often down to how the interviewer ‘feels’ at the end.
It has been shown that most individuals who are sociable and can hold a good conversation often outperform those individuals who cannot in these types of interviews. As an interviewer, you are more likely to accept someone if they have been seen to come across as talkative, friendly and have responded to every question confidently. For many jobs, sociability, talkativeness and friendliness are not necessarily relevant criteria for the job and any decisions that are made on the back of this can be open to complaints.
It is unlikely that you will undertake an informal interview without an actual Competency-Based Interview in the process at some point.