You think you nailed your job interview. You wore the perfect outfit, nodded at appropriate times, and gave all the correct answers. You are so certain that you’ll receive an offer until a couple of days later, when they call and thank you for your time but have decided not to hire you. What in the world could have possibly went wrong?
It is always highly likely that there was a more qualified candidate with more experiences and better skills. Or maybe it was a candidate with equal credentials as you—except they greeted the secretary warmly when they walked through the door.
Never underestimate the power of the person behind the big front desk. They may not be the boss, but they are essentially Bauces of the workplace. They have access to the big guns in the company and the ammo to make or break them. They know the nooks and crannies of the office and also make it function. Do not view them merely as people who simply handle mundane errands and coffee. To do so would be to put your young career in jeopardy.
If you are looking for a job, always be nice to the secretary when entering. They will definitely tell the higher-ups/your interviewers their impression of you. No one wants to work with someone who won’t give him or her the time of day. If you have a job but don’t even know the secretary’s name, it’s high time to learn it and greet that person every single day. Below are some tips for young professionals/interns to get on the good side:
- Greet warmly and by name. A simple “Good morning, ____” is all you need to establish even a tiny bit of rapport.
- Thank them for everything. They are there to make your and everyone else’s lives easier. At the very least, they deserve a thank you. Gratitude can go a long way.
- Get them coffee. Or breakfast. Better yet, buy them lunch. It’s major class on your part to take care of the person who takes care of everybody, and they won’t forget it.
- Don’t dump unnecessary tasks on them. Do your job, and only ask them for things you absolutely can’t handle. Otherwise it’s not fair for you to delegate them with tasks that you are there to do.
- Build a relationship. All it takes is a little effort every day. Small talk, casual conversation, doing #3… all of these will eventually result in a positive, friendly work relationship that can be nothing but beneficial to you. Never use someone for what they can do, but it can’t hurt to be on great terms with someone who can get you into the top exec meetings. And make sure to return any favors and hook them up with anything that would be of value to them.
photo credit: mpujals