The way we interact professionally has changed. But your desire to excel in your career hasn’t. Face-to-face interviews are still taking place even in the midst of COVID-19. Since the rules have changed in light of the global pandemic, it’s important to prepare accordingly.
Companies are now hiring as the workforce in America begins to rise again. As businesses begin to open and look for new employees, a prospective employer may ask to interview you in person. With the strategies below, you can be able to put your best foot forward during a face-to-face interview.
Interviewing During COVID-19: What’s Changed?
When interviewing during COVID-19, you’ll need more than the conventional interview tips to impress the hiring manager. Knowing how to interact confidently with the interviewer is crucial for success. But it can be challenging when handshakes and other typical practices are off the table. For a pandemic-proof interview plan, keep these changes in mind.
Socially-distanced, in-person interviews are becoming more prevalent. You may be asked to sit further away from the interviewer to keep both of you safe. Getting up close and personal may not be possible, so be prepared for this slight yet noticeable change.
Instead of a usual interview in a small office, it may be held in a larger conference room to provide enough space between you and the prospective employer. The separation may be a bit uncomfortable at first, but knowing that there will be room, you can adapt to the increased distance.
The safety of you and the interviewer is crucial. If you do have a face-to-face interview coming up, the company will likely require you to wear a mask while in the building. In fact, the US Department of Labor recommends employers suppress the spread of COVID-19 by having their employees wear a mask.
Within the past year, companies, especially those that deal with the general public, have implemented mask requirements for their employees and customers.
The type of mask that you wear is important as well. Be prepared with a mask that is clean and a neutral color or pattern. Avoid any masks with questionable or distracting designs. Remember, you want to look as professional as possible. To ensure the mask will be a good fit for the interview, practice speaking while wearing it. If it begins to fall as you speak or feels too tight, select another mask for the interview.
The Interview Questions
Sure, you’ll get the standard “Tell me about yourself” along with other common interview questions. But employers will also ask questions about COVID-19 and your ability to adapt in light of unexpected circumstances. Expect questions about your comfort level with in-person meetings, how you handle the new challenges of working during the pandemic and how you respond to challenges.
Along with the employer’s questions, you should also think about the kind of questions you want to ask the employer.
The questions you ask the interviewer should showcase that you are mindful of the pandemic and striving to keep yourself and those around you safe. Feel free to ask about what COVID-19 guidelines and precautions the company has in place. You can also ask about how the pandemic has affected the company and its operations, as long as you are specific with your inquiry.
Must-know Strategies for Interviewing During COVID-19
When interviewing during COVID-19, increased distance and masks can make it difficult to make a lasting impression. However, it’s possible to shine in an interview—even from six feet away. Read the key strategies below to stay one step ahead.
1. Ask What the COVID-19 Etiquette Is
Before you set off on your way to an interview, be sure to ask the interviewer if there are any expectations for what is appropriate regarding COVID-19. Certain normal pleasantries like handshakes may be out and replaced with a friendly nod or wave. The interviewer might ask you to wash or sanitize your hands before the interview begins. Knowing this information beforehand will help you come across as prepared and professional.
2. Keep a Respectful Distance
It’s important to be able to converse easily with the interviewer. But you do need to be mindful of personal space. Take note of where the interviewer asks you to sit and how much distance they keep while speaking. Mirroring how they position themselves can tell them that you understand the importance of social distancing.
If you’re seated far from the interviewer, slightly raise your volume to ensure they can hear you. To showcase that you are still engaged in the conversation, you can nod, lean in when the other person is talking and make eye contact throughout the interview.
3. Use Body Language
Because you will most likely be wearing a mask, body language is crucial. Nodding when prompted and talking with your hands periodically can make up for the fact that half of your face will be covered.
Another important part of nonverbal communication is eye contact. This can make or break an interview. Making eye contact can express emotions and hold the interviewer’s attention. Also, face your body towards the interviewer to show them that you are engaged and listening.
4. Speak Slowly and Clearly
Because you will most likely be required to wear a face covering while interviewing during COVID-19, the possibility of a muffled voice arises. To avoid this, make it a point to enunciate clearly. Speak slightly slower than normal, and make sure that the interviewer can hear both your questions and answers. You don’t want to keep repeating yourself throughout the interview. You might have to raise the volume of your voice as well. Practicing beforehand with a partner while wearing your mask will help you determine the right volume to use.
5. Prepare with an Innovative Tool
Modern challenges require innovative solutions. If you’re interviewing during a pandemic, set yourself up for success with smart preparation. InterviewFocus is a mock interview platform that takes your skills to the next level. By practicing your interview beforehand, you can get ready to ace your interview and get one step closer to being hired.
Approach a Face to Face Interview with Confidence with InterviewFocus!
Don’t let interview nerves impact your performance. Impress your interviewer with skills that you have learned with InterviewFocus! We have a variety of tools for you to use from the comfort of your home, including mock interviews, coaching sessions and honest feedback from experienced interview coaches. Don’t let the pandemic stop you from giving a stellar interview. Get started with InterviewFocus today!