Dear Matt: I've been at interviews where I've been shown around the company and introduced to people throughout the company after the interview. In both cases I was never eventually offered a job. Why do companies walk you around a company and what are they trying to gauge/gain? How do I act and am I being judged by the other people in these short meetings?
Matt: Known as a walk-around in the industry, this is most definitely an extension of the interview process. Carole Arndt, founder of The Human Resource EDGE, a Twin Cities-based company that specializes in placing HR professionals, points out that as a candidate you should assume that everything is part of the interview process. That means it's not time to let your guard down, start to act out of character, or assume you have sealed the deal and will be offered the job.
The reasons for the walk-around are many, says Arndt. First, it's clear that you are someone the company is considering for the position. You may even be a final candidate and this could be a part of the final decision-making process. Maybe they want to see how you meet and greet people. How do you handle yourself? Are you confident? Are you making good eye contact? Are you engaging and seem like you would fit in with the culture of the company?
"Your interaction with others, your reactions to the facility and overall demeanor are most certainly being judged," says Arndt.
Since this has happened twice without the result of a job offer, Carole Martin, a nationally known interview coach, says it's important to look back at those situations. How did you handle meet and greets? What was your reaction to their facility when they walked you around? Did you ask questions? Did you do anything that would give them a cue this might not be the right fit for you?
More importantly, did you ask for the sale? Martin advises saying this at the end of the walk-around: "I'm sold. I would love to work in this environment." Use that time to reinforce your interest in the position and company. Let them know that you see this as a place you want to work.
If you do that, then the next time you are walking around that building could be when you are being introduced to your new coworkers.
Do you have an employment related or job search question for Matt? E-mail him today at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All responses will be in the paper and no names will be used to protect your privacy.