Have you ever been in a coffee shop and seen a manager interviewing a job candidate in the area for customers? Asking them all sorts of very personal questions in public to share their answers with nearby patrons? This happens all too frequently and is very demeaning for those job applicants.
I often work in coffee shops and can't remember how many interviews I've seen (and heard) conducted in these very public places. The managers who choose to do these interviews seem oblivious to how it exposes already nervous applicants to public display.
The personal information I have seen exposed makes me sick, yet the interviews keep happening. Maybe these managers believe that a nice coffee shop is more relaxing for the applicant. Applying for a job is certainly nerve-wracking in any location. If that's what drives these managers to do this they are sadly mistaken in this writer's view.
I've heard applicants talk about the reasons they left their prior employment. I've heard heart-breaking accounts of family problems that make getting that particular job so important. I've heard of sick children desperately in need of health insurance. I've heard people practically beg for the job.
None of these discussions should ever have been held in public, within earshot of everyone in the immediate area. Job interviews often result in the disclosure of personal information and should be held in private.
Job interviews are the most common personal meetings that happen in public but are by no means the only meetings I've been exposed to. A few weeks ago a meeting was held, in a coffee shop at a table about 6 inches away from my own, that was incredibly personal.
It didn't take long for the loud discussion at that meeting to make it clear to everyone around that the young lady was meeting with a government official to discuss a sexual harrassment claim against her previous employer. The harrassment was discussed in incredible detail and before the meeting was concluded the name of the attorney being reported was shared (I'd like to think unintentionally) with coffee shop patrons.
So please, managers and other workers who conduct personal meetings such as those discussed, keep them private. It is not fair to make job applicants (or anyone) have personal discussions with you in public. Even if you choose the location to make it better for the nervous applicant it's not the thing to do. Privacy should be a primary concern for every meeting, so choose your meeting spot accordingly.