Applying for any job is a long process. You must update your resume, search for positions, tailor your cover letter to a specific position, and you still might not even hear back! So you pass all the initial screening and you put on your best suit and head to the interview. From the second you walk in the door, you are creating an impression on those around you. According to a quote from CEO Andy Ory on Careerrealism.com, first impressions are generally formed while the applicant is waiting in the lobby, and they become relevant to the hiring decision between 5 and 10% of the time.
That means, it’s time to check yourself before you enter the building. What do you in the next few minutes can be the deciding factor before you even step foot into your interviewers office. Most employers ask their receptionist how they were treated by applicants, and if they divulge that you were a few minutes late or exasperated this could be the end of the road for you. NO employer wants a rude and inconsiderate employee regardless of your credentials. Here are some dos, don’ts and tips to help you be perceived as a polite and well-prepared individual ready to be interviewed.
DO Sit Calmly and Quietly
We understand these first few minutes can be nerve-wracking. If this is a position you’ve been hoping for you’ve most likely spent a good amount of time preparing yourself and you’re worried you won’t make a good impression. The bad part is, when we’re nervous we tend to fidget and start to look for things to do with our hands i.e. biting our nails, rummaging through our purse etc. This makes you look less prepared and overall disheveled. Try crossing your hands and going over what you’ve practiced in your head. Take in what’s around you, maybe the office has photos of charities they support, all good things to bring up and get the conversation started during an interview.
DO Ask for Company Materials to Read
If you have been sitting for a longer time, or have been told it might be a few minutes it’s A-OK for you to ask the receptionist if she has a company newsletter for you to read. This shows that you are genuinely interested in the company itself and not just making sure that your paycheck comes each week. Not only will this make you look good, but the newsletter could give you some great talking points in your interview. As an interviewer myself a question I always ask is “what do you know about us?” It shows me just how interested they really are and if they’ve done the proper research.
DO Look Over Your Notes/Portfolio
Coming to an interview prepared is important. You should know the points that you want to stress, like the fact that you helped your old company earn an awesome client and became the POC for them. Know what cards you want to play! This is also a great idea if you can’t keep still. This will show your interviewer you have a great attention to detail.
DON’T Begin Reading Unrelated Material
I once had an applicant pull out a gossip magazine in the waiting room. This made me feel like I was interrupting her private free time to call her into my office. An interviewer also expects a degree of nervousness, and sometimes we find it can be endearing that they care so much about getting the job. However, if you have your feet up on the coffee table laughing at a photo of Brad Pitt in a speedo you seem like you could care less if you didn’t get the job.
DON’T Get on Your Phone
I CANNOT stress this enough. I have been asked several times if I could wait a few minutes to interview a candidate because they needed to call their wife/brother/sister/friend etc. I’m on a schedule and I allotted time for you to fit into that, do not make me wait. Regardless what you are doing on it, even if it is checking out our profile with your LinkedIn app we’re always going to assume you’re texting.
DON’T Start Listening To Your Music
Basically, don’t do anything that might be disrespectful to your interviewer. We understand that music can be calming, but it Is not the proper setting. Once during an interview with a candidate and I could hear music from someone’s headphones in the waiting room! That is a true disregard for those around you, and someone I would never want to hire.