Occupying a hiring position for many years, I relied on nonconventional ways to filter through candidates quickly. Think about time constraints for a while. There I was, a Vice President of Operations with a sudden burden to interview and hire quality employees. This is a time consuming job in itself—unfortunately, I had to perform my regular ten hour responsibilities; shortcuts are not only common, they are demanded.
For this segment, we will go over the “pre-interview” impression and rapid filtering system known as the “receptionist respect” (Okay, so I just came up with that term). In other words, even before you meet me, you meet me through the eyes and ears of my receptionist. Here’s how it works:
Receptionists are informed to provide feedback to specific preset questions only she (or he) knows. These questions will be used to assist in the decision making process even before the candidate and hiring executive shake hands. Let’s take a sample peek at a specific or few as these are the questions YOU are being graded upon BEFORE the interview begins. Receptionists often respond to the following (this is not an all-inclusive list):
· Was the candidate respectful to you? This includes a proper greeting and smile
· Did the candidate arrive at the proper time and appear prepared
· Did the candidate possess a positive attitude
· Is the candidate dressed appropriately
· On a scale of 1-10, what is your overall impression
The above are simply a few items used by many hiring executives to get a “first” impression—and this is even before the official first impression.
So, what do you do? The easiest and most effective way to form a pre-first impression is to be respectful to everyone you encounter—remember the elevator scene a few segments back—keep a solid attitude and display professional courtesy. You may be surprised at how influential those you meet in typical settings are in the hiring process.