I spoke to a fellow migrant a few months ago. She told me about her experience with a recruiter of Indian origin in Adelaide.
‘So, this recruiter said that he’d like to catch up over a coffee. At the end of the catch up (and coffee), he expressed his disappointment in me. He thought I was unprofessional throughout the conversation and didn’t dress appropriately. I don’t understand – he said we were having coffee, so I dressed for coffee and expected the conversation to be casual too. He also said that it was inappropriate that I spoke in Hindi a few times. How strange is that? Shouldn’t he feel the Indian connect? And besides, it was coffee. If he told me it was an interview, I would have dressed and acted differently.’
I didn’t even know how to react to that story! She clearly felt that she was right and the recruiter had treated her unfairly.
Apart from the fact, that a recruiter is a recruiter and a first impression is critical– the ‘coffee’ is a large part of how business is done in Australia.
A catch up over coffee is pretty much an interview – the interviewer is assessing you – your experience, your skills, your communication and if you’d ‘fit’ in their organisation (and country). Don’t get fooled by how casual the tone may seem. I don’t remember ever having a ‘casual’ interview in India – but that’s for another blog post.
When we were in Adelaide, I’ve had to have a few ‘coffees’. My first one was with the lovely Tony Stone from ASC Training and Development. I did end up working with Tony for a few months and enjoyed every bit of it. Thanks Tony for the opportunity!
On another occasion, I was supposed to meet a lady for coffee at 4 pm. When she arrived, she said ‘How about wine, instead?’ That was my first month in Adelaide (and Australia), and in my head I was like ‘Wine at 4 pm?’ So yes, we go to this cosy but quiet bar and chat over wine. We had a great conversation, she invited her husband to join us after an hour (interview over?), had many laughs. It lasted a few hours, she told me she’d definitely call me in to start some work with them, and gave me a hug before I left.
After that – nothing happened! I reached out to her on LinkedIn a number of times, sent her an email – but nothing. She just ignored me. Very, very strange! Sure, I may not be everyone’s cup of ‘coffee’ but hey, what’s with the big hug and all!! Bloody wine!
But coffee is more than just business in Australia!
Who has the best coffee? Melbournians will say that Melbourne has the best coffee and that ‘another’ state’s coffee sucks! Most people have their favourite coffee spots, which are often hole-in-the-wall outlets and will pick up one every morning before work – sometimes 2 – 3 times a day. At $3.80 for a small coffee, that’s a helluva lot of $ spent on coffee. You also have the 7-Elevens that serve $1 coffee (from a machine). Cheap, yes – but you get what you pay for.
Many folks buy a Large – I’m not sure how they can drink so much (it’s REALLY large). More so, they pretty much keep it on their desks and sip it during the next hour or so. No longer lukewarm, just cold. EEK!
Barista training: Yes, there are courses that Baristas do! You can’t just walk in and make coffee. I’m thinking of our guys at Shiv Sagar and wondering what courses they did… hehe!
Socialising: Some of my best memories in Adelaide have been formed over coffee and cake with Lesley, Hollie,and Luella. I’ve never managed to take pictures during these coffee dates as we’d get sucked into a delicious tart or pie and forget about everything else.
And ooh… if you’ve a child with you, order a babyccino – it’s a small cup of steamed milk, with lots of foam on top and two marshmallows, and it’s only $1.
To end, I found this quote which is relevant to life in Australia…
I’ve measured out my life with coffee spoons – T.S. Elliot