Job applicants often give thought on how to maximize the positive impact when they first meet a recruiter or interviewer.
But by the time you meet the person who decides whether or not to hire you, you have probably already interacted with at least one other firm employee, and been seen by several others. You need to start making a good impression from the moment you arrive.
Walk into the office exactly 15 minutes early. By which I mean, leave an hour early. Employers don’t care about traffic, cars breaking down, and buses off-schedule. Leave extra early to ensure you get to the appointment early.
But don’t go into the office too soon before the appointment. Fifteen minutes early says “I’m taking this job interview seriously,” without saying “I have nothing better to do than loiter in your reception area for 45 minutes.”
Arrive at the office an hour early? That’s why they have Starbucks.
Be fully prepared before you enter the office. Make sure your clothes are taken care of before you arrive. Check your hair and makeup. Use a restroom — but not the one at the company! If you have to, plan ahead. Does the office building have public restrooms? Is there a fast food place nearby where you can spruce up?
Also, be sure to TYCPTFO. That means “Turn Your Cell Phone The F–k Off!”
The receptionist may not be a receptionist. Never assume the first person you see sitting at a desk by the front door is a receptionist. Treat this person with the same respect you intend to show the interviewer. Apologize for bothering them and ask for the person you’re there to see. Don’t ask this person for a drink, or the location of the bathroom, or if they can validate your parking — even if they ARE the receptionist. You can ask about the parking validation on your way out.
Don’t pace in the reception area. If there is a reception area, just sit quietly. You should be able to sit still for 15 minutes. Don’t mess up the magazines. Don’t bother the “receptionist” — he or she has work to do. Don’t chat with anyone unless they initiate the conversation. Smile politely at anyone who walks past.
Don’t bother anyone if your interviewer is late. If it’s 20 minutes past the time of your appointment, you’ll feel like asking what the heck’s going on. Be patient (but make a mental note that this company may not be the place for you, if its employees miss meetings and/or don’t value people’s time).
If you haven’t heard anything in a half-hour, then you may wish to bug someone. A receptionist is the perfect person to bother. If they do not have one, maybe you can turn your cell back on and call whoever you have dealt with up to this point (a recruiter, HR manager, etc.).
And if no one helps you at the 45 minute mark, you should probably walk.
Got any other advice? Let us know in the comments!How to Arrive at a Job Interview by Erik Even