I have just come to something. Observing people’s behavior in the reception area can tell you a lot about a perspective employee. While candidates are waiting to see you, what they do in the reception area can tell a lot about them.
Many companies have company literature available in reception. Are prospective employees curious and interested enough to read it? Many ad agencies have monitors showing their latest television and interactive work. Do prospects look at it? Ditto print work on the walls – do they even look at it?
Are they friendly with the receptionist? Did they bring coffee (any of you who follow my blog posts know that this is one of my pet peeves) and, if so, when it is time for the interview, do they simply leave their cup in reception or do they ask to throw it away or do they take it with them?
All of these things may be tell-tale signs of the character and personality of the people interviewing with you.
In my own reception area, I keep Ad Age and Ad Week as well as a collection of my Ad Age columns. I observe whether people read any of it while waiting for me. Not that it is essential, but it tells me about the curiosity of people coming to see us. Many simply spend their waiting time on their Blackberries, reading and writing emails or playing games. I am always surprised when people don’t pick up any of the literature I keep out. I, for one, would certainly want to know about the company I was seeing – I don’t mind being kept waiting when I make sales calls so that I can read the literature or see the work of the companies who retain me.
It might be very interesting to bring your reception people into the process to observe and report. The demeanor of candidates as they arrive may tell you a lot about their personality, their interest in your company and their curiosity in general. I am not asking reception to be a spy, merely to be part of the process.
Just a thought.