Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When Does An Interview Begin?

What many people don’t understand is that interviews begin the moment contact is made with a company.  Interviews definitely do not start when you show up for a meeting.

If you are working with a recruiter and they have introduced you to a company, your interview starts at that moment.  The speed with which you respond to emails or phone requests is indicative of your level of interest.  Observation has taught me that no matter how busy someone is, if they make time to respond, they are very interested.  If their response is delayed by a day or more, they are showing either disinterest or ambivalence. 
Everyone understands that people are overworked.  Clients show up unexpectedly, sometimes for days at a time.  Management is forever calling last minute meetings.  All of these things interfere with your ability to be responsive and communicate.  But emails can be sent at any hour of the day. Calls can be made to voice mail anytime.  If someone sends me an email or calls in the middle of the night telling me that they are on a shoot and with the client 24/7, I fully understand.  But when calls are not returned and I hear nothing, or worse, the interviewing company hears nothing when someone is supposed to be setting up an interview, I assume there is at least some degree of indifference.  People who really, really want to interview, find a way of making time to work out schedules. 

Calling for an appointment is a great time to start the ball rolling in a positive direction.  Being positive, upbeat and self-assured on a voice mail is an indication of who you are and your degree of interest.  Being the same way with an administrative person who is setting up an appointment is even better.  More than one admin has said to his/her boss, “boy, John sounds great on the phone”.  And don’t forget to introduce yourself to the admin when you arrive at an appointment.  That chit-chat could be critical to your success. 

Also, what you do in a reception room could be important.  I wrote about this last month. Paul Kurnit, former President of Griffin Bacall, wrote an important answer to that posting.  He wrote that he used to go to reception himself to greet people interviewing and that he decided whether he liked them before they got to his office.  What he was referring to was both demeanor and attitude.  If you are sitting there on your Blackberry and have to finish reading or emailing while your interviewer is waiting for you, the interview may be over before it starts.  Your body language and non-verbal communication may communicate more than you think.

All of these things may play a role in your ability to land a job.  Just remember that the interview may be anticlimactic. All the other things - your responsiveness, your attitude, your demeanor, how you handle yourself in reception and with other you meet -  may account for 30-40% of your "score", so to speak. 

Just last week, a candidate showed up twenty minutes late for an interview.  In and of itself, in this city that is no big deal.  But he didn't call.  And, when he arrived, he neither apologized nor gave an explanation.  His interview really was dead before it began. 

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree wit your comment about how one conducts themselves at reception. I once had an interview with someone who ate several candies from reception and had a coffee while waiting - they left all of the wrappers and coffee cup sitting at reception. A little common courtesy would have taken them much further in the interview process.


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