I am the first line of defense. You have to get through me before you see the “important” people – a recruiter, hiring manager, or CEO. You might not realize it, but you need to impress me before anyone else.

In the corporate world, it’s conventional to believe that the receptionist is the lowest person on the totem pole, but you should always be nice to the receptionist at the front desk, whether it be for a job interview, a meeting at another company, or even checking into a hotel. Know that the receptionist’s job is to analyze you, and he or she will report back to the people you are there to meet.

As a receptionist at a staffing and recruitment firm, how you interact with me is especially important because you are here to get a job. A part of my job is to watch you when you first walk through the door, and believe me when I say the recruiters always ask my opinion of you after you’ve left, to see how you normally behave. For that reason, here are some tips to impress your receptionist:

Present Yourself Professionally

This is both in terms of attire and attitude. For more direction, read our Workplace Wardrobe article. Employers care how you look and your etiquette, so if you show up to a meeting with a recruiter looking less than business casual, it sends me a red flag. Are you going to dress that way when meeting with the employer? That not only looks bad on us, but also decreases your chances of advancing in the interview process – and I tell the recruiter exactly that. The same goes for your hygiene- you want to not only act your best, but also look your best. Also, don’t forget to smile, because you aren’t fully dressed without it.

As for attitude, maintain positivity and be as kind as you can. Your attitude is as important as your resume.

It doesn’t matter what kind of day you’ve had; leaving your personal problems at the door and putting on your ‘game face’ to get the job you want really makes a difference and it shows. Be enthusiastic. You may be on the elevator or stairs with the person you will be interviewing with. Negativity and complaining isn’t professional, and it appears like you aren’t eager for the job. Many candidates fail to realize that employers are selecting individuals who have not only job-related experience, but who they believe will be a good fit for their business atmosphere.

Follow Directions

Typically when you come in, you are asked to bring certain items with you, such as an I.D., references or documents. Make sure to bring them. If you come in unprepared, it is a bad sign that you can’t follow simple directions and shows a lack of responsibility. This also slows down our process of getting you to a prospective employer. And, you guessed it, is part of the feedback I have to give to your recruiter or the person you are here to see.

Leave a Good First Impression

The candidate who comes in well-dressed and acting friendly really gets ahead of the game. Even if the candidate doesn’t have all the skill requirements or previous experience, we will want to keep them because they tried so hard and showed not only optimism but an eagerness for the job. The guy who acts like a jerk upfront will most likely act that way with our employers. Skills can be taught, but your attitude cannot.

First impressions count for a lot, so don’t forget to be the best you you can be, arrive ten minutes early, politely introduce yourself to the receptionist and get ready to rock the interview.