Never Underestimate the Receptionist in a Job Interview
In my past life as a Human Resources professional, one of
things I did on a daily basis was interview people to see if he/ she would be a
great fit for a job within my company. The ultimate hope was that during the
interview, the person would be “100% authentic”. Simply put, the person would
be and act as they would normally. Authenticity rarely happened. In the
majority of cases, it wasn’t because people lie. It’s because that under the
gun… in the pressure of on interview… fear and nerves change people. I learned
quickly on that you had to do everything you could to identify the “real
person”, so you could make an informed decision on whether to make an offer an
employment. So why should you never underestimate the Receptionist in a job
Some savvy HR Pros ask the Receptionist how the candidates treats people and acts while waiting in the receptionist area.
After every interview, I walked the candidate out of the interview room and back to the front entrance. I did this to be respectful; and also, it gave me an opportunity to ask our Receptionist how the person treated her. Why? While people are “on” when they encounter the HR Professional and Hiring Manager, people “let their guard down” in the waiting room. So a great resource to get additional information about how a person naturally behaves and acts is your Receptionist. In my experience, the Receptionist usually observed three things. One, nothing out of the ordinary. Two, a nervous, but pleasant person… a person who was very nice and kind and who smiled at people who walked by them… a person who seemed to be a good person and authentic person with great manners. Three, a phony. The Receptionist observed, and felt first-hand, a person who was fake… indifferent… couldn’t have cared less where they were… and only smiled when the HR Pro and Hiring Manager came in to greet them.
It’s tough evaluating people. I was burned many times. So were many of the Receptionists I worked with over the years. The bad candidates who burn you are good at deceiving people, so don’t feel too bad. We’re not trained in FBI interviewing techniques. We try to do all the right things (evaluate resumes, ask properly constructed questions, test, and ask for references- which may include colleagues who have interacted with the person. We then take all of this information together, and make the best decision we can.
In the future, you have decision to make too in how you will treat everyone you encounter during the job application. If you learned anything from this article, it’s that whether we know it or not, our interactions, whether big or small, are felt, interpreted, and made whole by others. Do your part in making all of your behaviors and actions… one you’d teach your children to do.
If want some interviewing help, email me at email@example.com.
Founder of WriteMyResume.ca and AlbertaResumeWriter.ca