Career Planning Expert’s Tip of the Month – November

Why It Pays to Be Nice to Receptionists

The head coaches of professional sports teams are well known and sometimes famous. But even huge sports fans probably don’t know the name of a single trainer. Yet a trainer is a major part of every team, someone who advises the coach on many key decisions.

It is often the same with managers and receptionists. And just like an athlete is smart to nurture a good relationship with a trainer, you will be a step ahead if you start your relationship with a company by showing some basic courtesy to the receptionist.

Here’s why:

An Interview Begins the Moment You Walk in the Building

We may be so excited or anxious about our interview that we miss what could be a key “pre-interview” first impression: meeting the receptionist. You would be surprised at how many managers rely on assistants and receptionists for opinions about potential hires. In fact, some employers trust a receptionist’s evaluation more than their own!

Even the simplest “she seemed nice” from an assistant to a hiring manager could be a key factor in making your interview a success. So, be friendly to everyone in the building, from security people to office personnel to other visitors. Look everyone in the eye, and smile when you greet them. Hey, even if you don’t get the job – it never hurts to be courteous.

What you do and say prior to an interview indicates what you would be like after you were hired.

Okay, so it’s not like an army of office staff are secretly watching your every move on a stockpile of cameras stashed behind a one-way mirror. But still, hiring managers are very conscious of how an employee will reflect on the company. They know you are going to be nice to them. So they are likely to pay attention to how you treat others – like the receptionist.

The next time you’re waiting to be called in for your interview, engage those around you in conversation, even if only for a moment. You never know who might have some influence in landing you the position – plus it’s always great for networking.

The Same Rule Applies for Phone Conversations

Say you make a follow-up call to see if a resume has been received. The receptionist may be the one who determines whether your resume sits in the “in box” for two weeks or goes straight to the employer. You often have no control over such matters, but you always want to give yourself the best chance – so be polite to the person answering your call. Also, in exchanging a pleasantry or two, the receptionist may share valuable information with you about the job.

~ The Résumé Girl, Lauren Hasson, Career Planning Expert, Campus Calm

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