Cubicle with a View

by Lindsay Mapes

As an administrative assistant I do not have a corner office with a view of Locust Walk.  Instead I have a corner cubicle with a view of every move you make before your settle in with your counselor or advisor, and sometimes it’s not pretty.  The scenery doesn’t change much when I head down to OCR to check in employers and students for their interviews, either.

Etiquette starts when you pick up the phone to schedule an appointment or interview.  Make sure it doesn’t sound like you’re not standing in the middle of a six lane highway or while you’re leading a kindergarten class in a sing-along. You should also have your calendar handy when you call.  Similarly, when you have an appointment or interview over the phone find someplace quiet, with good reception and free from interruptions.  We actually had a student call for her scheduled phone appointment while she was on a bar crawl.  Not only is it disrespectful to who you’re speaking with, but it hampers the quality of your appointment and what you get out of it.

Whether you’re interviewing in OCR, meeting with an advisor at Career Services, or headed to an unfamiliar city for an interview, make sure you know where you’re going.  That doesn’t mean having an address scrawled on a wrinkled piece of paper. Career Services is tucked away in the basement of the McNeil Building.  Tons of students show up late for interviews in OCR or appointments in Suite 20 because they don’t know where they’re going. Google the address before you go.  Also, administrative assistants are happy to give directions! If you had an interview in Manhattan you wouldn’t just show up at the train station, then try to figure it out on your own and call 10 minutes after your appointment begins breathless and lost?

If you are going to be late, call as soon as you know.  If you’re not going to show up at all, you should also call or email as soon as you know.  As redundant as this advice seems, it’s surprising how many students simply do not show without advance notice.  I notice and so do the advisors, especially the frequent no-shows. Interviewers and advisors are very busy, as are you, so if you let them know well in advance they may be able to accommodate you for another time.  Blatant no-shows do not guarantee any accommodations.

When you do show up on time to your interview or appointment you should know what company you’re interviewing for or who you’re meeting with.  This prevents you from sounding like a disorganized person who doesn’t want to be there.  There’s no Anne Redstorm or Ted Rothum here.

Be aware of your surroundings when you’re in the waiting area, especially in OCR.  Sometimes when people get nervous they get chatty, and then they get loud.  Other students (and interviewers) may not want to hear how your last interviewers thought you were perfect.  People also probably aren’t interested in hearing a phone conversation about how much you drank over the weekend.  Be considerate. If the three people in the waiting area with you are exchanging looks and rolling eyes at each other, you might want to stop playing Angry Birds with your sound on.

Administrative assistants and receptionists are here to help you from the moment you pick up the phone or come in to make an appointment.  Do not hesitate to ask for directions, to call when you’re running late, or to see if we can schedule you for a different day.  And Lifesavers! We have Lifesavers!  Could someone with a basket of Lifesavers steer you wrong?

Author: Lindsay

Lindsay Mapes is the the Pre-Grad, Pre-Law, Pre-Health team Administrative Assistant in Career Services.