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Having trouble landing talent? Take another look at your front door.

Welcoming employee at front deskOne of the oldest and simplest tricks in the world of recruiting is to ask the receptionist how they were treated by the executive who came in for an interview.

If the receptionist reports that the executive treated them with respect and displayed a genuine interest in them, you may have found a candidate with values. However, if the executive is rude, aloof or disinterested, these are glaring red flags and shouldn’t be dismissed if the candidate otherwise brings a strong skillset to the interview.

That may seem obvious, but what most organizations don’t consider is how the receptionist can act as an additional recruiting tool. The person sitting at the front desk can serve as so much more than a greeter.

Recently, while working with one of my long-term clients on the recruitment of a senior manager, I received feedback that solidifies this theory. When I circled back to the candidate for feedback following her interview, she quickly stated that it went “excellent” and went on to say that the receptionist set an incredibly positive vibe that continued throughout the entire visit. From greeting her with a smile and addressing her by her first name upon arrival, to letting her know that she would be there help with anything needed during the visit, the candidate couldn’t help but have the impression that the company offered a friendly environment and valued its people. The candidate also went on to say that at her current organization, you would be lucky to get more than a few words from the receptionist, much less a smile.

Setting the tone for an interview beginning with the receptionist may seem like a small thing, but I can assure you that in this tight labor market, you need every advantage that you can find.

About the Author:

Tim Pappas is a principal with Pappas DeLaney, LLC, a Milwaukee-based consulting firm specializing in working with CEOs and top-management teams on leadership strategies and organizational alignment for corporations nationally.