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What To Do Immediately Before Your Interview

The Voice Warm-up Technique

Have you ever been awakened by the phone in the middle of the night? "He-l-l-o?" And then you wonder why you have such a froglike voice? Your vocal cords are simply not warmed up yet. The same thing can happen at the company-site interview. You likely have had little, if any, opportunity to actually speak until you arrive at the company-site. And then you are expected to talk nearly nonstop for the remainder of the day.

Take the time to warm up your voice on the way to the interview. If you are driving to the interview, turn on a radio station you enjoy and sing along. Top of your lungs is just fine. If you are taking a cab or Uber, either spend time talking with the driver (they have some of the most interesting stories you will ever hear) or ask to have the radio turned on. Again, sing along—although perhaps a little more quietly than if you were in your own car.

In any case, use and stretch your vocal cords before beginning your day of interviewing. You will benefit with a clear and resonant voice.

The Lobby Waiting Technique

As you arrive at the company, take note of the surroundings. If this is the corporate headquarters, take note of the grounds and buildings. These are often major sources of pride for image-conscious companies.

When you arrive in the lobby, you should step up to the receptionist, state your name (present one of your networking business cards if you have them), who you are there to see, and the time of the appointment. Note that you should say you have an "appointment," or "meeting" scheduled, not "an interview."

The receptionist will phone your contact and will inform you of your status. "Jane will be with you in just a few minutes. Feel free to take a seat." Do not sit down. Instead, walk around the lobby, looking first at the walls for plaques and awards. Read them all. And if there is a product display, study it closely. Next, look for employee newsletters or other internal documents which may be displayed by the waiting room table. Finally, take note of the industry trade magazines that are being displayed.

This information will give you a very practical feel for the corporate culture, as well as an excellent starting point for rapport-building small talk throughout the day.

Friends in High Places

One of the worst mistakes you can make in your job search is to treat the administrative assistant (aka receptionist, secretary or executive assistant) poorly or on an inferior basis. The administrative assistant usually has a great deal of influence over whether or not you will be hired. One of the first things interviewers typically do is ask the administrative assistant what s/he thinks of the candidate. If the person was rude to him/her or treated him/her disrespectfully, the candidate is typically eliminated from consideration. That's right—no matter how well the candidate did in the interview, if s/he was not equally impressive to the administrative assistant, the interviewer knows that the candidate was a fake and was just putting on a good show in the interview. The secretary/admin is one of the best "friends" you can have within the company. But do not go beyond standard business protocol. Interviewers will also disqualify candidates for coming on too strongly. Be professional.

One other important tidbit is to always take note of the administrative assistant's name. It's a scary thought, but this person may be the actual Guardian of the Gate you will need to get past when you call the manager again at a later date. Make friends now so that you have an ally later.

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