We all know that one of the keys to a successful job interview is to know a bit about the company's culture. To get a better view of that before the job interview, author Tim Hurson suggests asking the receptionist a few simple questions.
Photo by Evan Bench
The time you spend sitting in the waiting room waiting for the interview is a great opportunity to gather up some intelligence. Hurson has a few questions to ask the receptionist to help you with that task:
- How long has the company been at this location (or on this floor)? What was the reason for the move?
- How many people work here? What kinds of jobs do they do? This can often lead to great follow-up conversations. If the location has both engineering and marketing in it for example, you can observe that that's an unusual combination. Any reason for that?
- What's the biggest department or division in this location?
- Is everyone always this (relaxed, friendly, energised, busy) around here, or is something special going on today?
- What do you like best about working here?
- Are the principals usually around, or mostly on the road? Do you get to see or talk to them much?
Obviously you don't need to ask every question and context is important. The real point is that the receptionist is a great resource for information about a company, so make sure to chat it up with them if it seems appropriate.