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Your interview started before you knew it ...

Updated: Mar 17, 2021

....and ended only after you left the building.

Did you know that your interview starts way before you step into the interview room, and ends way after you leave the interview room? Other than preparing and practicing for interview questions, there are other little (but significant) things you need to look out for. Keep these tips in mind the next time you attend an interview.

Your behaviour outside of the interview room is of more interest to the interviewer than what you say inside the interview room. Many little events can happen while you wait - for e.g. you may be offered a drink, you may have to ask for directions to the washroom, you may choose to use your phone to call a friend. Remember that your interview has already started from the moment you walked through the door - so, how you asked for help, responded to the offer of a drink, how you speak to your friend on the phone may be and can be observed by other officers, including the receptionist and service staff.

1. Be polite to everyone

Remember that the interview was set up to get to know you. How you behave outside of the interview room, is very likely to be your true self. And if your true self is not someone who has the same values and fit to the company culture, then it is unlikely that the interview will go well. Treating everyone around you politely, regardless of the designation or occupation of the person is a crucial requirement to any job.

2. Assume you can be seen at anytime

Many interview locations use frosted glass or mirrored glass these days. And some times, candidates have no idea that they can be seen while they are seated in the waiting area, and while they are walking towards the interview room. I have seen candidates who stop in front of the mirrored glass to comb their hair, and arrange their tie etc. Its likely still fine if it was a quick one, but not if you stood there, took out your comb, followed by your hair gel, and then primp yourself as if you are heading out on a date.

3. Avoid lounging around after the interview

There is a very high tendency for candidates to remove their "superpower interview cloak" the moment they step out of the interview room. It is true that the moments of nervousness has ended, but remember also to try and curb your feeling of relief just a little while longer.

And when I say a little while longer, means wait till you are completely off the premises.

In that moment of feeling exceptionally cheery and relieved, I have had candidates give a blow by blow account of the interview on their phone, thinking that they cannot be heard (remember that this includes the washroom). Candidates have also used swear words while on the phone with their friends. Very common also are candidates who were feeling very uncomfortable in their power suits, pulling their shirts out so that its no longer tucked in (removing the outer jacket is fine if you are wearing appropriate business attire on the inside) and walking around looking much sloppier than before. Some even muss up their hair immediately after they close the interview room door.

If this is a job interview you really want to ace, extend your prep to include all those moments while you were at the location of the interview. Yes, washrooms included.


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