It’s Interview Time: What To Do While You Wait

Yes, the “magazine test” I mentioned last week really happened!

So many people responded to the magazine scenario in the comments and had even more questions about what happened. I’ll use this week’s spot to share the details.

At the time, I had moved to a new state and was interviewing for a job. I was referred to one organization and invited to interview, so I arrived five minutes early and spoke briefly with the receptionist, who pointed to a nearby sofa and asked me to wait while she informed the manager I was there. 

I waited for 20 minutes, which can seem like an eternity when awaiting an interview. Turns out, they were making me wait on purpose to see what I would do.

They had intentionally placed several publications on the coffee table to see which one I, a female in my early 20s, would pick up first. My choices included several recent issues of People magazine and a few industry-specific journals. The receptionist was watching to see which one I would choose along with how I handled being forced to wait. 

What can we learn from this and similar situations? My takeaways are as follows:

  • First, someone is always watching you, even when you don’t think so.
  • The job interview began the moment I walked through the doorway.
  • The receptionist was actually my first interviewer and definitely had input on who would be hired.

So, what do we do while we wait?

  • Stay off your cell phone; in fact, turn it off when you walk through the doorway.
  • Definitely do not call someone and carry on a conversation out loud in the reception area.
  • Don’t scroll through social media or even text people.
  • Rather, pick up any industry-specific brochure or publication to familiarize yourself even more with the organization and its products and services.
  • Be engaging with the receptionist or person who welcomes you. Extend your hand to shake hands with anyone you meet.
  • Don’t hint at impatience by constantly asking how long it will take or what’s the holdup. Don’t even ask once. If it’s more than 30 minutes past your meeting time, and you truly have somewhere else you need to be, simply explain the situation to the receptionist and politely ask if you can reschedule. Only do this if it is absolutely necessary because of prior commitments. Typically, if the interviewer is running that late, they will let you know before then.
  • Be in the moment, and enjoy the extra time to prepare mentally for your interview questions.



To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

You might also like:

How Do You Handle Virtual Meeting Whiners?

Use this App to Capture Fresh Presentation Ideas

Wacky Word of the Week: Purge this Particular Word

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash