Keep It Professional

What impression are you leaving behind as you interview for a new job?  Candidates often wonder, “Did I explain my resume clearly?  Did the interviewer like my response to that tough question?  Did I score well on those assessments?”  But what many people fail to realize is that those are not the only things that can affect the hiring decision. 

Your interview begins the moment you enter the building and does not end until after you’ve left.  Sometimes the biggest impression you leave is not even during what most would consider the traditional “interview.”  These impressions can occur before you meet with the interviewer or after the questions conclude.

Others in the office, not just the interviewer, will be paying attention to your actions.  Here are some things to ask yourself:  “Was I friendly to others in the lobby when I arrived?  Did I introduce myself to the person at the front desk and tell them who I was scheduled to meet with?”  You would be surprised by the number of people who show up to an interview and do not remember the name of the person they are meeting with or the different ways people act when they think no one is paying attention.  These “little” things can have a huge impact on what the other staff thinks of you as a potential colleague and whether or not they can see you becoming part of their team.

Another thing to consider is how you pass the time as you wait for the interviewer to arrive.  This is something that candidates can often overlook.  Once you have checked in at the front desk, sit patiently and wait for the interviewer to greet you.  Even if he or she is running behind schedule, it is important not to let any frustration or irritation show.  Review your resume or look through a newspaper to pass the time.  It is fine to make small talk to others in the lobby, but make sure your conversation is welcomed and you are not distracting to others.  Do not make a phone call or text on your cell as you wait. While those things may seem harmless, they can give the impression that you feel there is something more important going on or may cause the interviewer to wonder if you are going to be on your phone all day when you should be working.

Once the interviewer arrives, stand up, introduce yourself, and firmly shake his or her hand.  As you enter the interview room, you may find yourself focusing on the possible questions that you may be asked.  Those answers will be important, but so will your actions when the questions wrap up and you go to leave.

After the questions conclude, thank the interviewer for his or her time.  Ask for a business card if one has not already been given to you.  This will show your intent to follow up on the position and will also provide you with all of the contact information you will need to send a thank-you letter.  Conduct yourself professionally as you gather your coat and as you fill out any necessary paperwork.  Do not appear to be in a hurry to leave or annoyed with any forms that you are asked to complete.  Those behaviors can give the impression that you may not be as interested in the opportunity as other applicants.  And again, remember to be respectful to all others in the office.  Even though the question and answer session is over, it does not mean people are not paying attention to your actions.

In three simple words, keep it professional.  Keep it professional from the moment you enter to the moment you leave.  Focusing on your resume, questions that may be asked, and skills that may be assessed are important, however, it is also important not to lose sight of the “little” things that occur before and after the traditional “interview.”  Those “little” things are often what people remember and they might just be the determining factor on whether or not you get the job.

Keep It ProfessionalKiley Clausen

Kiley grew up in the small town of Oakland, Iowa. She attended college at the University of Iowa where she graduated in May 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. After college, Kiley lived in Des Moines for a year and worked as a home mortgage consultant at Wells Fargo. She moved to Omaha in June 2011 and joined Celebrity Staff, where she currently supports the Omaha team.  She enjoys being part of the staffing industry and finds that no two days are ever the same.  In her free time, Kiley enjoys spending time with her husband, Justin, and hanging out with friends and family.


  1. I have had problems with giving my resume to these companies but getting no where with a job.How can you guys help get somewhere. I have an entry level paralegal degree certificate from the MCC Colleges and never had any experience in an actual job. If you think that you can help please give a call at 816-548-9662. Please leave a message and I will call you back.
    Amy Zumwalt

  2. Hi Amy,
    It is a challenge when someone has a degree but no experience. When companies contact staffing firms they often want someone who has a proven track record of prior experience, so your situation is a challenge for us as well. My suggestion is to call MCC and inquire about an internship program or their employer job posting program. The school often will have placement counselors who can help you explore companies who are willing to give someone a closer look.
    Good luck!

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