Front Lobby Etiquette for Interviewers

  -by Leslie Crain

-by Leslie Crain

Welcome to the Office!

You’re ready to go. You’ve researched the company, practiced interview questions in front of a mirror, picked out the perfect outfit – and now you open the door and walk in.

But wait! Your first step into the lobby is actually the first step into the in-person interview. What you do in the lobby counts.

Your initial impression on the office is made with the person sitting at the reception desk, and as the first point of contact in Maven’s reception area, I can give you some tips to help you navigate the Front Lobby.

1.       Walk in with confidence!

I can’t tell you how many people walk into our office frowning, expressionless, or looking confused. We’ve given you our address and explained how to get to our office; you’ve found us, now own it. Walk in with a smile and say hello – no need to ask if you’re in the right place when there’s a sign on the door!

2.       Show up on time.

Everyone knows not to be late to an interview, but no one talks about exactly how early to arrive. In general, shoot to be at the office no more than five minutes early. Ten if you have to, but anything more than that, go walk around the block again or find a coffee shop. Your interviewer has a set time allotted to speak with you, and not all front lobbies are conducive to long waits. It can sometimes feel uncomfortable having someone sitting right next to me for an extended period of time while I’m trying to get often-confidential work done.

3.       Polite conversation is good; lengthy conversation, not so much.

The person at the front desk is most likely busy. Yes, we’re greeting guests and of course we love to chat for a bit, but no, we probably don’t have time for a conversation longer than a few minutes. Gauge the level of busy-ness: if the receptionist is answering a constantly-ringing phone, or concentrating on typing, you don’t have to make small talk. If you’re chatting, but s/he keeps looking at the computer screen, cut the conversation short. It’s a fine line between being friendly and taking someone away from work, but it’s important.

4.       Act like you’re in the interview.

What I mean by that is to treat the front lobby as a precursor to the interview itself. Don’t smack your gum; spit out gum before coming into the office. Don’t chat on your cell phone; texting and emailing is fine while you’re waiting, but if you need to talk, please step out. Put your fancy shoes on before coming into the office; don’t change footwear in the lobby. We notice these things.

My colleagues often ask what I thought about certain candidates, and front lobby behavior is what I have to go by. If they’re on the fence about someone, and I remember he came in and was really inconsiderate, even if he was polite in the interview, that’s an insight my colleagues will keep in mind. Similarly, if I have a great interaction with him, that could help push a hiring decision in a positive direction.

That being said – welcome to the office! How can we help you?