One morning last week, I sat drinking a coffee in a well-known County Dublin hotel preparing for a client meeting that I was attending around the corner. It was early, and the place was relatively empty, and I worked away on my preparation.

Shortly after, two tables of two people arrived. I quickly worked out that one was an interview and the other was two colleagues from a nearby company having an early morning chat. Whilst you might think that voices do not travel – they most certainly do!

Both conversations were fully audible!

The first table of 2 was conducting a first round interview and I heard significant background and details of both parties and their employers. The second table was discussing an employee in detail – how inappropriately they dress coming into work every day and what should be done about it.

As someone who regularly interviews off-site, I walked away that morning making a commitment to myself as follows:

  • I would encourage people to come into our lovely, private offices as much as possible
  • I would book a room for meetings if interviewing off-site, particularly if more than one meeting
  • I would find an appropriate venue for off-site interviews and ask hotel staff to point me to a quiet, tucked away area where I cannot be overheard
  • Keep my voice down and be cognizant of the fact that a lot of sensitive, private information is about to be discussed

This all seems very basic, but as someone who has been interviewing for a long time, it was an interesting and handy reminder of what not to do in an off-site meeting.