We have all been there. You have arrived 15 minutes early (not part of the 5 things but certainly a smart idea) and you are waiting in the lobby, nervous, for your interview to start. Hopefully at this point you have prepared, done adequate research on the company and have done everything you can to do a great job in the interview. However. Don’t stop now! There are still things you can be doing that will position you to not only do well in your interview but also things you can do to help you decide if you actually want the job. If you are spending the 15 minutes prior to your interview playing Clash of Clans, while widely entertaining, you aren’t doing anything to benefit yourself for the interview. You may have a lively Facebook or Twitter feed but let’s face it, that stuff is a distraction and right now you don’t need that. The rest of this post is about doing that’s that will best position you for success, in the very last moments you have to prepare.
Be nice to the receptionist
The first thing that you need to do when you walk in is be nice to the receptionist. For one, it’s just a good life policy to be nice to people but secondly it could really impact how you are viewed within the company. How so you ask? Well the person interviewing you is going to come and get you from the lobby and most likely is going to drop you off. If you were unpleasant, have you ever thought that the hiring manager might ask the receptionist if you were kind when you came in? Perhaps if you were polite or how you were while you waited? Or perhaps they might ask what you were doing. Sure, this doesn’t always happen but it does happen. So besides the fact that being kind costs you nothing, it is always better to air on the side of caution because you never know.
Look over prepared answers
If you have ready any of my other blog posts then you know how I feel about preparation. In my opinion preparation is king. One of the things I like to do is write down questions I feel like I am likely to be asked and then right below that I write out my answers to those questions. I always bring a folder of some sort with twice the amount of paper resumes I imagine I could potentially need, a notepad and these questions and answers. I’ve heard many horror stories of people being asked questions they knew how to answer but then blanking on the day of the interview. This happens and a great way to combat that is to be practicing answers like this right up until the last minute.
Look at the conditions of the office & the workers
Not everything is about you impressing the people there. Some of interviewing is you deciding whether or not the job is a great fit for you. When you arrive at your location, literally from the moment you drive into their parking lot until the moment you leave, everything there is information about what working there would be like. Is the parking lot full? How do the grounds look, are they nicely maintained? When you are greeted by the receptionist, do they seem happy or are they miserable? All the people you see walking around, what is there body language telling you? Are they miserable, are they in a rush, do they seem happy? Sure, seeing one person smiling doesn’t mean working there is like being at Disneyworld, if you see patterns, perhaps that does tell you something. What about the lobby, how does it look? Good places to work tend to put a lot of effort and resources into a creating a nice and welcoming space in their lobby. If they haven’t done that, perhaps you should ask yourself why. What does that say about them?
Turn off your phone
Today people are incredibly attached to their phones. While I totally get that, never make the mistake of leaving your phone on during an interview. A simple vibration, let alone an actual sound could derail an otherwise promising interview. Whatever you were going to use your phone for it can wait, you shouldn’t need it anyway so you might as well turn it off.
Recently I was walking to the bathroom and I saw a candidate of mine in the lobby. This was about 4 minutes before the interview was going to start, so they could have been brought back at any moment. I looked closer and I realized that the candidate had a giant frown on their face. Instead of looking happy and energized, they looked as if they were about to go into a dentist appointment. I couldn’t help but think to myself, “does this person not want this job, are they not excited about the opportunity?” Whether or not this impression is accurate, it is the impression given off when you look at someone who looks unhappy to be there. Not only that but smiling has actually been proven to improve your mood. So if you are nervous and that is impacting your mood, just smiling will put you in a better mood and put you in the right frame of mind to be successful.
Just remember, it starts the moment you walk in. You never know who is seeing you and how you are coming off. If you can manage to do these 5 smart things interviewers do in the lobby you will be putting yourself at an advantage and increasing the odds you receive an offer. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below. Thanks!