At Interviews, Even the Waiting Room Counts

Posted September 26, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Career Moves

Career Girl Network featured an article in June 2011 about the “Most Important Person in Your Company” — the receptionist. And as important as a receptionist can be in the image a company puts forward, that same person can be the key holder to a job as well. Because, when it comes to interviews, you might think the only thing that matters is what happens after you shake the interviewer’s hand. But truly, your interview begins the moment you enter the building, and it’s up to you to start your interview at that moment.

Michael Spinale from The Personal Branding Blog agrees in his article about “Protecting Your Brand in the Waiting Room.” His most important piece of advice is one you should all take:

Don’t sit there playing with your smart phone, or even worse – talking on it.  This is the time to make sure your phone is shut off for the interview.  You can check-in in the parking lot.

What are some things to remember in the waiting room?

  • You never know who’s looking at you. I’ve been in many a company where we send someone down the hall to “check out” (read: judge) the candidate before others in the office interview them. Sitting up straight and professionally or having a nice chat with the receptionist might be information someone would report back to your would-be boss.
  • Be willing to have a conversation. If the receptionist strikes up a conversation, don’t be short and give niceties only. Have a real conversation. It will get back to the powers that be.
  • Don’t wait to change shoes or put your coat on until you get to the building. Especially if you live in a “walking city” this can be hard. But make sure you’re not downstairs in the building changing shoes. You never know who from the company might be watching you or running into you at that time. Find a spot a block away to change and freshen up.

Your interview begins earlier than you think. Take good advantage of that time.

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."