Ralf Weiser's Blog – Shake Up Your Snow Globe! ©

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7 first impression clues whom to do business with or work for

7 first impression clues whom to do business with or work for

First impressions count no matter where you meet new people. The same is true for companies. Front lobbies and even the parking lot can often tell you more about the business that you are either looking forward to do business or secure a job with. Do not be fooled with razzle-dazzle telephone conversations with your future meeting attendees. The show starts from the time you spot the company sign at the company driveway.

  • The best kept secret: The entrance. Some companies seem to be having fun concealing where their building entrance, drive way, and / or parking lot is. Do they have visitor spots? How full is the parking lot? How empty is the parking lot? What kind of cars are parked there? How current are the car models? How convoluted is the way to the entrance? Are there doors that you think are entrance related and you get close just to realize they are side exit doors that are locked? How many weeds are in the walkway? Is there even a walkway? Do you have to fight through snow and ice to get in? In general you can immediate conclusion about what the business looks inside based on what the outside looks like.
  • The entrance is totally dated or even dilapidated. Helllloooo! It’s a sure sign that either the company is in financial trouble or the company culture is in deep trouble. Either way watch out for more trouble when you go into meeting rooms or offices. Chances are that the whole place is a pig sty.
  • The entrance features items that do not go with what the company brand stands known for. I once visited a sheet metal fabricator and in the lobby there was a full size antique fire truck sitting right smack in the middle. “Oh, the owner who does not have an office here just likes it and that’s why he put it here on display”, my host tried to explain. Huh? 6 months later this place went out of business. Out of place or just totally mismatched display items are a sure sign of trouble.
  • There is either no front desk attendant or there is one, but he or she is rude to you. How many times have you gone into a business and there nothing but a telephone that could have come out of a 80’s museum and a tattered telephone list that you need to pick out your host from. Equally disconcerting is when there is a front desk person but he/she is so acerbic that you contemplate leaving right away. For instance I asked for a guest wifi login and I cannot tell you how many times they told me off. Guess what? Leave!
  • The waiting area shows awards or reading material that are totally dated. Nothing reeks of stasis and trouble more than when these tell tale signs are outdated. The lack of attention to detail typically permeates through the organization. If that is not the problem, the company culture is typically not progressive and therefor in catch up mode with many if not all other things. Get out of there!
  • Tardy hosts. You wait and wait and waaiiitttt. You make all the effort not to be late and also not to be too early (what does that say about you?). The person you are to meet with though is late to his/ her own meeting with you. I’ll give you 5 minutes before I deduct major points off of your total score.
  • Finally, my favorite no-no: Encountering bad water cooler talk. You got in and are waiting in the waiting area. Great. Company employees walk by and they just let it rip. Anything from bad corporate decisions, gossip, badmouthing management, company or co-workers. You want to do business or a job there? Come on!

Try proving me wrong. I would be surprised if you have come across many exceptions. Perhaps you have a few other interesting examples that you would like to share with us?

Like our looking into our eyes lets others look into your soul, company lobbies and entrances let you look into any business as well. Look for these clues and choose wisely whom to do business with or if you should accept a position with the organization.


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