Interviews: A First Impression

Most people are aware that when they go into an interview for a new job, they are giving the company their first impression of who they are and possibly the last impression they have of the interviewee. However, sometimes I wonder if the company ever thinks about the fact that an interview is also the first and possibly last impression that the person coming in may have of the company. I can admit to the fact that I have just randomly applied to companies before just to get a job. This was especially true straight out of college with a student loan hanging over my head. Randomly applying to companies meant that I wasn’t always sure who I had applied to and I have a really hard time believing that I am the only person who has done this. I would like to think that companies are aware that people will apply to them without knowing a thing about them but sometimes I feel that the companies forget.

Interviewing for my most recent job gave me a unique perspective on first impressions and how they come across. I had two job interviews within about a week period. Both were in the same state but one paid quite a bit higher than the other as well as having better benefits. I thought that I would be hearing back from both around the same time. Now I will admit that I may have misheard or misunderstood about hearing back from one of them. They may have said that they would be making calls in a week rather than me hearing back from them in a week (which can be a big difference). Either way, I had gotten a job offer from one of the two companies and had about a weekend to decide if I was going to accept the one offer or not. I called the other company (which I didn’t hear from) to see if I could get an update. When I called two times, the person wasn’t at their desk and the person answering said that they would let the individual know I called. I didn’t hear a word or see a single email acknowledging that I called. I know that I probably hadn’t gotten the job by that point but was hoping for a definite answer no. They didn’t need to call me, a short “we went with someone else” email would have been sufficient. I would have been okay with that.

I don’t believe that they will ever contact me again unless I decide to apply there another time. That isn’t the point. The point is that when I see their product or name, I will think of my interview and their lack of acknowledgement that I called. I wasn’t really aware of their products before the interview and now just think about the tension I felt talking with the receptionist when I called the second time and the fact that even though I interviewed, they didn’t bother giving me notice that I wasn’t continuing. I am used to the lack of email when plain applying but when you have made the effort to go through with an interview, I feel that there should be more followup. Perhaps I am expecting too much effort and perhaps I feel entitled to a bit of respect that maybe some would say that I haven’t earned. I don’t know if I am asking for too much. Regardless, I will always think about the vague sense of rude behavior that came across after my interview with that company. While ignoring a person calling is somewhat mild and can be understandable in some circumstances, a company should generally be aware of how they are coming across in an interview just as much as the person being interviewed. Maybe even more so.

Every person that conducts an interview is the face of that company even for that brief time spent. How that interviewer treats the interviewee may determine how that person views the company permanently. A relatively innocuous interview may fade into history but a disastrous or rude one may negatively impact the company’s brand. Great customer service is an aspect of business so heavily worked on by so many companies. What customer service is the interaction between an employee of the company and an outsider trying to fix a problem. That is the bare bones of customer service and a job interview is just another form. The company is trying to solve its problem of needing a role to be filled and the interviewee is looking to solve their issue of wanting/needing a new or better job. The person conducting an interview is filling the role of customer service whether they like it or not. Therefore, they affect how the company is perceived in the world even if its only for 30 minutes or less. Do you think an interview influences a company’s PR? Do you agree or disagree that someone conducting an interview is effectively customer service in some way during that interview? Please comment your answers below and thanks for reading.

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