One of the stealth “votes” for job candidates in many agencies could be the receptionist, so don’t overlook him or her. At the very least, the receptionist can help break the ice and settle nerves before an interview.
Georgia Enty is Ketchum’s long-time receptionist in Chicago. She knows more people than anyone in the office, and she greets all job applicants–some of whom spend considerable time in the lobby waiting for busy staffers to finish client business so they can conduct interviews. After observing a recent conversation between Georgia and a job candidate, I asked her for tips for blog readers facing interviews. Here are Georgia’s suggestions:
Smile. The initial encounter with a receptionist can help set the stage for a relaxed interview.
Engage the receptionist in small talk. Too many applicants nervously announce their name and then retreat to the waiting area, showing no capacity for basic conversation skills. At least comment on the weather or ask a basic question about the office. (Georgia says men are more talkative than women).
Make eye contact with others walking through the lobby. You never know who is passing by; it could be the hiring manager or his/her boss.
Remember “please” and “thank you.” I can’t tell you how many people simply say an abrupt “no” when offered water or coffee.
Respond to all emails from the agency. (Georgia reconfirms appointments on behalf of the recruiter who arranges interviews. She says most people do not reply, so she doesn’t know for sure they’re showing up until they arrive).
By the way, the person I observed talking with Georgia who spurred this post idea began his new job with the agency last week.