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What not to do before an interview - advice from the Cpl reception desk

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The Cpl Interview Handbook advises that it’s important to be nice to everyone on the day of an interview – from the interviewer to those working at reception. If you’re nice to the interviewer, but rude to reception they’ll offer bad feedback and harm your chances of getting the job. To prove this statement, we asked 3 of our Cpl receptionists, Aisling, Vanessa and Laura, about their experiences and advice they’d give to anyone preparing for an interview.

1. Forget who you’re meeting

One of the most common mistakes our receptionists agree on is candidates forgetting the name of who they are meeting.

Aisling and Vanessa from Cpl Percy Place agree…”Looking presentable and knowing who you’re meeting with is very important. If a candidate comes in and doesn’t know who they’re meeting they appear unorganised.”

Always do your pre-interview research and know the name of the person you’re meeting and their title within the business.

2. Be rude or stand-offish

Wondering how to leave a good impression? Just be polite and greet the people you meet. When asked about memorable candidates the girls favoured good manners over anything extravagant.

Vanessa from Cpl Percy Place remembers one candidate fondly for simply remembering her name – “a man was very polite, introduced himself, remembered my name and thanked me when leaving.”

While Laura at Cpl Merrion Square says… “If people are talkative and generally nice it sticks with me because I find it’s rare.”

When you’re rude people are three times less likely to help you out or offer advice, so do yourself a favour and be nice.

3. Wear unprofessional shoes and clothes

Another thing that sticks out in the memory of our receptionists is what people wear.

Laura tells us… “I’ve had people in all Adidas tracksuits, people eating chocolate bars before interviews, people smelling of smoke, girls wearing inappropriate clothing like thigh-high boots, people shouting on their phones or bringing their kids, partners, friends, families – one man had his whole family in reception (mother, partner and three kids).”

If you’re not sure what to wear the girls advise “it’s better to dress up than dress down if you want to make a good impression.”

4. Turn up at the wrong place

If you’re not sure where you are interviewing try and do a test run the day before. It might sound simple, but people do get lost or arrive at the wrong office.

Laura remembers… “One lady couldn’t locate where we were so she rang me. I was on the phone trying to figure out where she was when I realised she was out the back of our building…When she came in she gave out to me that Google maps gave her the wrong directions.”

Save yourself unnecessary stress by double checking the address of where you are going and always give yourself an extra 20 – 30 minutes in case something goes wrong.

5. Behave overly familiar

Being friendly is recommended, but it’s important not to get too familiar with your interviewer or the other people you meet.

In one particularly odd case in Cpl a man asked about a receptionist’s teeth and asked another receptionist for her number to ask advice on the day to day care of his teeth. Not your average encounter but proof that people can go too far and ruin any chances of interview success.

If you’re unsure if something is inappropriate, err on the side of caution and keep to generalised chat.

Lastly, when asked if they would offer bad feedback if an interviewee was rude all our receptionists confirm they would. Laura summarises… “I always tell the recruiter if someone is rude to me over the phone or in person.”

Need interview advice?

Download the Cpl Interview Handbook