Here’s an important question for job seekers: When does your interview begin?

  1. When it’s scheduled to begin.
  2. When you sit down with the person interviewing you.
  3. When you walk into the building.

Hopefully, you didn’t fall for either of the first two options. If you did, you could be setting yourself up for a disaster – because your interview actually starts the moment you walk into the building.

You might not think you’re thereto impress the front lobby staff, but keep in mind that they might have the ear of the person you are there to impress. Anything they hear or see could be relayed to the hiring manager. Monitoring how you behave while waiting could even be part of the company’s interview process.

Get off to a good start.

You want to make a good impression the second you walk in the door, and you can’t do this if you’re late or rushing. Show up early.

You also need to show up prepared. This includes knowing the name of the person you’re there to see. Yes, the receptionist could probably figure this out for you, but you’ll come off as unorganized if you don’t have this basic information. You also risk appearing as if you don’t care about the position. After all, if you don’t even know the name of the person you’re meeting, it seems unlikely that you’ve done any research on the company.

Be polite and professional.

When you arrive, introduce yourself and say why you’re there. Be polite to the receptionist as you do this.

  • Engage in friendly – but professional – conversation. The receptionist’s opinion of you may matter a great deal, so you don’t want to come off as cold or snobbish.
  • Be respectful of the receptionist’s time. You want to win over the receptionist, but the receptionist has other work to do. Don’t demand to be helped right away if the receptionist is helping someone else, and don’t let your conversation go on too long.

Maintain normal interview etiquette.

You wouldn’t chew gum during an interview, so don’t do it while waiting in the lobby. Remember, this should be considered part of your interview, too. Here are some more tips for while you wait.

  • Put your phone on silent and don’t talk on the phone.
  • Don’t bring in food or drinks.
  • Don’t say anything inappropriate or overly personal. If you start chatting with someone – another candidate or a vendor, for example – you might be tempted to let your guard down and say things you would never say to the hiring manager. Don’t. You never know who might be listening.

Have more questions about how to optimize your interview performance? Mulberry Talent Partners can help.  Join us by clicking here.