December 02, 2013, 5:12 PM — Waiting to get called in for an interview is nerve-wracking. You're in your Sunday best, half-heartedly trying to distract yourself with your phone while remembering your greatest weaknesses.
However, Ben Weiss of U.S. News & World Report offers up a very productive way to use that time while you wait: play detective.
Weiss says there are several clues for the taking when you're waiting for your interview that can tip you off as to whether this employer is right for you.
First, check out the receptionist. No, not like that. Make some small talk and get a sense for the person who runs the front office.
"You can glean a lot of information about a company from observing and interacting with receptionists," Weiss says.
He also notes that given receptionist is a high-turnover position, "if you manage to ask how long he or she has been with the company and learn it has been many years, that can be a great sign."
Another area for observation: tech.
"Take a look at the kind of desktops, mobile technology and video/projection equipment being used around the office," Weiss advises. "If it all appears cutting-edge, that can indicate the firm values up-to-date technology and will provide the resources to keep it that way."
But if the receptionist is rocking an ancient beige dinosaur running Windows ME and you're the prospective new tech guy, that gives one food for thought.
Click below for more things to look for and make the most of your pre-interview time.