Tip: Beware the Receptionist Test

14 November 2008 at 12:41AM 3 comments

So – you finally find the office building where your interview is going to be held. You’re interested in the company and the position, and truth be told, you really need this job. You’re a computer professional, and you want to make a great impression on your future employer.

Once you show up, you’re ready to start selling yourself, but you’re asked to wait. While you’re waiting, the receptionist has a minor tech support emergency, and she asks you for some technical help. You stand up to help the damsel in distress. But that’s when it starts going downhill.

A company in England does this as an interview test. It doesn’t go well for the candidates. Here’s one poor toad’s experience:

John was a lot less level-headed. His task should’ve been the simplest of all — the receptionist couldn’t print a document. Totally understandable when the printer is turned off and all of the lights on its display were totally dark. First, he hit Control+P, selected the printer, and clicked “OK,” and confirmed it wasn’t working. His solution? Hit Control+P harder to make sure the printer really felt it. For 20 minutes, he kept increasing the force of his typing and mouse clicks, finally pounding his fist on the desk and giving up.

John probably didn’t get the job.

One big point to remember is that your interview starts as soon as you enter the building. Companies can (and will) use every means to make sure that  you are the best qualified person for the role.

For more on avoiding the Receptionist Test, start with Jake Vinson’s article in Tales from the Interview. Then check out the commentary by Andy Lester at the Working Geek. Then, you may want to finish off by reviewing my second post on this topic:

Good luck!


Entry filed under: Interviewing, Tips. Tags: , , , .

NotJobs: 6 Reasons You Failed the Phone Interview Liz on ’10 Ways to Ruin a Job Interview’

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My Core Ideas

1. "I can't tell you the best way to get a job - because there is no one best way. After 21 years of recruiting, I CAN share things I've seen candidates do to guarantee they DIDN'T get the job."

2. "Most companies don't realize how their recruiting process impacts their candidate pool, and their business. Attention to simple things will result in big improvements."

About the Author

Troy Bettinger, SPHR is a Denver Recruiter, Public Speaker, HR Metrics Analyst and Human Resources Leader who has been recruiting in corporate and municipal environments since 1991.

He specializes in the complete hiring process: defining, sourcing, recruiting, testing, interviewing, offering and orienting new hires. He's also well versed in strategic human resources, college recruiting, diversity recruiting, AAP, EEO, ATS integration, recruiting metrics, social media, recruiting leadership, training and employment branding.


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