Thursday, June 11, 2009

Don't Forget to Impress the Boss's Assistant on Interview Day

A recent survey by OfficeTeam confirmed what we in the career business have known for a very long time - Diss the Assistant and you may not get the offer.

Job seekers should know that in addition to impressing hiring managers and other key decision makers they meet during the job interview, they should make a strong impression on administrative assistants who are the major gate keepers into organizations.

According to the survey, more than 60 % of executives said they consider their assistant’s opinion important when evaluating potential new hires. Why wouldn't they? Execs rely on their Assistants for other things, so why not this?

I go a step further and tell job seekers to not only be nice to the Assistant as office etiquette demands, but be courteous also to parking attendants, security staff or facilities crew. You never know who is in these roles.

I met a business owner at a conference once who shared with me that he and his father ran a small auto supply company. They were interviewing for a new sales rep. Before an interview, his father was in the lobby of their company wiping up a coffee spill. One job seeker literally stepped over his father's hand to get to the receptionist's desk. When the receptionist said, "You almost stepped on him." The job seeker said, "Why don't you guys do cleaning at night anyway?" He didn't get hired.

I always share that story with candidates since you never know who you are dismissing or who has influence.

Executives were asked in the OfficeTeam survey, “How important is your assistant’s opinion about the job candidates you interview for positions at all levels?” Their responses were:

-Very important—21 percent
-Somewhat important—40 percent
-Somewhat unimportant—18 percent
-Very unimportant—16 percent
-Don’t have an assistant—4 percent
-Don’t know—1 percent

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