– Six in 10 executives consider their assistants’ opinions important when evaluating new hires
– Rushing to fill awkward pauses between interview questions is the biggest downfall

New research published by OfficeTeam, the leading staffing services specialist, reveals how it is vital that candidates behave as consummate professionals as soon as they enter the building for an interview, as hiring managers will question a candidate’s suitability for a role with assistants and receptionists. Six in 10 executives regard the opinions of their assistants, including receptionists and PAs, important when evaluating new hires. ‘Small talk’ with an assistant when waiting for an interview can have a significant impact on the chance of a candidate securing their dream role.
While not all recruiters go as far as Roger Brown, immortalised in Jo Nesbro’s best seller ‘Headhunters’, who used Inbau, Reid and Buckley’s nine-step interrogation model, OfficeTeam’s research found recruiters and hiring managers use a range of interview techniques to coerce candidates into ‘divulging all’. They will apply skills such as remaining silent during the interview to try and entice the candidate to fill the silence with ‘personal’ information.

Phil Booth, UK Managing Director of OfficeTeam, says; “Many job candidates may not recognise that hiring managers can be as anxious as they are during interviews because of the pressure to find the right person. Hiring mistakes are costly, in terms of the time and money invested and the toll on staff morale. Interviewers are looking for subtle clues the applicant has the right job skills and work ethic, and will fit in with new colleagues and the corporate culture.

“Job seekers who do their homework and remain poised throughout the interview process will be able to engage in more productive, relevant conversations with prospective employers.”

In an effort to educate candidates to what hiring managers may be thinking, OfficeTeam has developed the following five points to remember:

· ‘I’m going to ask my assistant about you.’ Six in 10 executives surveyed* by OfficeTeam said they consider their assistants’ opinions important when evaluating new hires. It should go without saying, but make sure you treat everyone you meet with respect when you arrive for an interview. You never know who may be weighing in on the hiring decision.

Advice: If the administrative professional isn’t busy, make polite small talk while you wait. Also, avoid irritating behaviours, such as loud cell phone conversations.

· ‘I haven’t prepared in advance.’ You may have spent hours creating your CV, but there’s a good chance the hiring manager will not remember exactly what’s on it. Advice: Always have an extra copy of your CV handy, and offer to walk the potential employer through the highlights, particularly if he or she seems at a loss for questions.

· ‘I’m wary of phonies.’ Think again before you claim that your greatest weakness is that you “work too hard.” Most hiring managers have heard it all before. Inauthentic responses are a red flag to employers. Advice: Come to the interview with several job-related anecdotes in mind that reveal the real you and speak to how your specific talents can help the business.

· ‘I love to talk about my company and myself.’ Interviewers are advised to let the candidate do most of the talking. But hiring managers are only human and enjoy discussing things they are passionate about, including their careers and interests. Advice: Ask the prospective employer about his or her professional advancement within the company; this can yield valuable information about the growth potential at the firm and get the conversation going.

· ‘I may intentionally make you uncomfortable. ‘Job seekers often rush to fill in awkward pauses between interview questions. Hiring managers hope that if they keep you talking, you’ll reveal more of yourself: Advice: Rather than rambling and potentially saying something you’ll regret, keep your responses concise and on point. It’s OK to stop and collect your ideas before you begin to speak.