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One of the jobs I have applied the hiring manager (tech lead) wrote me an email to discuss the position more. So after a week I had a 40 minutes good Skype talk (he didn't turn on the video) with him. He didn't force me much he was friendly and didn't examine me with hard technical questions. And at the end he said he will invite me to the company show around and talk to other colleagues.

My problem is from the beginning he never use the term interview at all. So should I consider my self as I passed the first interview or it was just a talk? Are such Skype or phone dialogues under the category of "first interview"? Or there is no consensus about it?

The reason I'm asking because I try to figure out whether I should prepare as I am going to the first or to a second interview, if he really invites me.

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    Why does it matter if it's the first or second interview? Is there some sort of list of topics somewhere you are expecting them to cover depending on if it's the first or second? – Gregory Currie May 27 at 12:36
  • I try to read about perpetration tips and they always categorise "if you are going to the first interview.." or "if you are going to the second interview..". The thing is that guy doesnt use that term interview. – GNZ May 27 at 12:40
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    " The reason I'm asking because I try to figure out whether I should prepare as I am going to the first or to a second interview, if he really invites me." How would you preparation be different? As you haven't had a technical interview yet, you'd be good preparing for that, regardless if you, or the one doing the hiring, considers this the first or second interview. – dan.m was user2321368 May 27 at 14:59
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You should treat every interaction you have with a new company as part of the interview process.

This includes "informal" chats. Often there will be a clearly defined assessment phase but it is naive to assume that this will always be the case.

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    And that includes speaking to the receptionist before the interview. – Gregory Currie May 27 at 13:00
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    and lunches during the process – Keith Loughnane May 27 at 14:20
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    @Sulthan : there was a highly active question about this topic recently, so there really seem to be companies doing such things. – Val May 28 at 7:19
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    @Val - The moderators in many parts of the SE network don't like comments very much, and apparently not very much at all in this corner of the SE network. Comments disappear quickly here. – David Hammen May 28 at 14:09
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    @DavidHammen : then why aren't the others deleted as well? I was referencing another related question. If that's not allowed and chatty/funny comments are, then I don't really know what's appropriate and what's not. – Val May 28 at 14:11
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If you talked to someone who is potentially going to hire you, consider yourself in the process of being interviewed.

“The reason I'm asking because I try to figure out whether I should prepare as I am going to the first or to a second interview, if he really invites me.”

Why would you do this? What is different from a first interview as opposed to the second interview? You should look at all contact with a potential employer as part of a screening process and not look at each contact as a clear step.

“And at the end he said he will invite me to the company show around and talk to other colleagues.”

Then this means you are in the pipeline and after an initial conversation he feels you are ready for the next step. So if you insist on this “first or second interview” way of approaching things, you should consider yourself at the second interview.

That said, who knows if there won’t be a “third” interview of some kind.

In general, don’t think of all hiring processes as equal. You are in the pipeline for potentially getting hired and your attitude should be to simply be ready to present your best self at each stage regardless of the lightness/heaviness of what your expectations might seem to dictate.

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Every hiring is done differently. Some do one interview. Some do a phone screen. Some do group interviews. Some have you meet the team. Some do all of the above. Some have so many steps it is never clear how close you are to the end of the process. Of course everything may have changed with COVID-19.

Treat everything as part of the process. Every phone call. Every email. Every conversation. They are all part of the hiring process.

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I would regard this as a screening interview and it's common that these screening interviews are light on the technical part.

That being said some companies do ask technical questions on this screening interview. I've had as simple as what's the difference between the stack and the heap to explaining boxing/unboxing in C# and some small algorithm questions like reverse a string. I've heard that companies like Google will get you to solve complex algorithmic problems on a call and really grill you on space time complexity.

I guess the reason you're asking this question is that you thought there would be some sort of a quiz or technical questions during this initial interview stage. In all honesty yes I would be concerned about this for two reasons:

  1. If they aren't screening candidates with at least one or two technical questions then it's likely that the types of candidates that are getting past this stage are not technical. That'll be the type of people you are working with
  2. Maybe they didn't ask the technical questions to you because the realised it was pointless before then and just skipped that stage

In any case don't wait to long for an answer back say a few days at most.

For the face to face (is that possible at the moment ?) interview I would expect more technical questions. It's uncommon not to have some sort of technical test in the face to face interview so if you are called I would gear yourself up to answer technical questions quite often in a quiz style format.

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    While not getting any technical questions at all, would be a huge red flag, the initial screening focusing on other things is not. (Most likely, the technical questions are going to be handled by someone else in a later interview.) – Llewellyn May 27 at 18:26
  • @Llewellyn this is subjective I kinda knew that when I put this answer in but zero technical questions in a screen is a red flag to me as I know all the jokers out there that can't code to save themselves. Face to face interviews are a huge timesink compared to a 20 minute screening call. So if you get 10 people in for FTF and 25 screening calls I'd want the FTF to be the best out of the 25 rather than FTF interviews with peeps who can't code. It's drastically lowers the chance of a good hire. – Dave3of5 May 28 at 10:29
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While applying for jobs, any interaction with a potential employer should be seen as an interview.

Every impression you make will be taken into consideration when making the hiring decision, no matter if it was part of a "formal interview" or not.

Good interviewers will try to make the interview experience as friendly and colloquial as possible, as this allows them to get a better impression of the personality of the applicant.

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I'd call what you've had an informal first interview. There are a few reasons (some good) not to call it an "interview".

  • The hiring manager would like to get a feel for what you're like in a work-related chat situation, rather than the more pressured environment of a formal interview. What you say unprepared can give a good idea of how you would be to work with than trying to make a prepared answer fit the question.
  • The manager themself may be more comfortable doing it this way. They don't have to prepare as much, and they're not on the spot in front of their colleagues as they would be in an interview panel.
  • Employer policy may make arranging formal interviews difficult especially at the moment (e.g. they require the potential manager, another technical person and someone from HR to sit down with the candidate). A pre-interview chat means they'll only put this effort in for candidates they're serious about.
  • The hiring manager may be ready to start talking before HR (probably not in your case as you've properly applied, and not your problem anyway).

I'm still not clear how you would prepare differently for a second interview (compared to a first) unless you were told you would be assessed on something specific. Anyway it's a good sign - they talked to you, and they like you enough to keep talking to you

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Was this the first interview or just a talk?

There is no such thing as "just a talk". Unless the person hiring you is a family member, because then the person might have reason to talk to you about something other than work. Even then, though, you can consider the entire time period as being a sort of interview.

For that matter, your entire life may be up for inspection, and considered to be fair game for an interview. (Well, okay, I withdraw that stance slightly, since there are government-protected details that officially should not be considered as part of the hiring process. But, unofficially, they often may be.) These days, many company check Facebook accounts to see whether you seem like a focused person who accomplishes things, or brag about getting drunk and high frequently and badmouthing current or former employers.

Or there is no consensus about it?

P. Hopkinson's answer and first couple of comments are right; every interaction should be considered part of the broad "interview process". You see multiple answers saying the same thing, with no highly rated answers saying something different. So, yes, there is consensus on this.

Are such Skype or phone dialogues under the category of "first interview"?

Sure. I recall one of the best jobs of my life started out with a phone interview. Then, he asked me to come in person, so I could meet the team.

And at the end he said he will invite me to the company show around and talk to other colleagues.

That's a great sign. The hiring manager likely values the time of your other colleagues who are already hired. Your hiring manager wouldn't want to bother your potential future colleagues with meeting you unless you were a pretty serious candidate.

Just beware that there are predatory people and even organizations that pretend to offer you a promising rich future, only to say they need things from you like your social security number. (This is a particularly devastating reality, since legitimate organizations also ask for this same information.) A blind interview when using video technology seems to me like a pink flag-- not quite red, but some concern. With scammers being so elaborate that some Nigerians even created a fake embassy which seemed official to basic scrutiny, perhaps all you can do is try some basic research to see if the organization seems legitimate. Such research may also be helpful for an ongoing interview; I recall once an organization's president was happy that I knew at least a tiny amount of basic information, which showed that I invested at least some effort in trying to learn about the organization.

So, I can't say that all of this is definitely a good offer. (Even some legitimate employers, who will actually pay you, may represent offers of bad employment situations.) What I can say is that what I'm reading sounds pretty promising and overall pretty consistent with a good situation. It does sound like you passed the first hurdle. Congratulations. Stay persistent in your efforts. Good luck!

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When it comes to any sort of dicussions with a potential employer, it's always better to follow it up with a mail or a phone call to get a clear picture of the process and/or updates related to the role.

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    this doesn't seem to offer anything substantial over points made (and much better explained) in prior 6 answers that were posted few hours before. See Back It Up and Don't Repeat Others – gnat Jun 6 at 8:28

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