How to Behave in a Job Interview During the Pandemic
If you plan on looking for a job during the pandemic, be prepared for some major changes to the interview process.
Both individuals and companies alike are taking some major precautions in order to ensure the safety of themselves and their staff. As a result, it is important that you act accordingly with proper safety precautions. Not only does this show that you have everyone’s wellbeing on your priority list, but that you are also respecting everyone’s safety.
Follow these tips, and remember to stay safe.
Prepare for a Virtual Interview
More than likely, your interview will be done virtually rather than in person. However, there are companies that still will require an in-person interview, so the following steps deal with those circumstances.
For virtual interviews, there are some general things that you should consider.
First, make sure you have the technology capable of conducting a video call or a phone call. This means that you need to have a strong signal and a charged battery.
Next, you need to prepare your office space for the call. You don’t want the interviewer to be distracted by anything behind you in the video call, so make sure there is a blank wall behind you. Also, let your household know that you are going to be in an interview and need them to stay quiet for a while.
Finally, dress accordingly. Make sure that you are comfortable, but wear something professional so that the interviewer can see that you are taking this seriously even though you are at home. Neatly groom your hair/facial hair, wear professional attire, sit up and behave like a professional.
Dress up And Wear a Decent Mask
If your interview is in person, you should obviously still dress up. They need to see that you are taking this interview seriously. However, you also need to make sure that you wear an appropriate face covering to the interview.
Look, we all think that masks are a bit uncomfortable, but they are a necessary safety precaution during the pandemic. Wear an actual face mask that covers the entirety of your mouth and nose. Don’t wear a bandana around your face or an old T-shirt.
Luckily, decent masks are now available at basically all grocery stores, and can be ordered online. Make sure you have one prior to your interview.
Prepare to Get Your Temperature Taken (Don’t Go If You’re Sick)
When you go in for an in-person interview, there will more than likely be somewhere there who takes your temperature and asks you to sign paperwork saying that you have not been experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
Don’t worry, you won’t be sharing a thermometer that goes into your mouth. Typically, businesses use a thermometer that scans your forehead and takes your temperature that way.
This should be obvious, but if you are sick and think you might have the coronavirus, STAY HOME! Even if it seems like an unnecessary precaution, the interviewer will respect the fact that you didn’t want to risk the health of their office.
It will be really awkward if you go in for an interview only to find out you have a fever of 101.
Don’t Initiate a Handshake
Crack open any book about job interviews and you will probably find a full chapter on how to give a good handshake. Well, it looks like the handshake might be a thing of the past due to the coronavirus.
Since we are all trying to socially distance, handshaking is now off the table. For your safety and the safety of those at the interview, don’t initiate a handshake. If the interviewer initiates a handshake, don’t reciprocate if you do not feel comfortable doing so.
There is nothing wrong with saying that you are just trying to stay safe during the pandemic. Even though it is a bit awkward, a lot of people are now bumping elbows as your elbows typically don’t come into contact with surfaces nearly as often as your palms.
Keep Your Distance and Speak Up!
Try your best to keep about six feet away from everyone at the business where you are being interviewed. You may have to sit across from someone at a desk, or peer over someone’s shoulder at a computer screen, but make sure that you keep your distance from them the entire time with your face covered by a mask.
Since you are further away from people and from behind a mask, speak up! Make sure that you are articulating yourself well, and that can be heard by the interviewer.
Don’t Touch Anything, But Get a Business Card
As your mom used to tell you, “Keep your hands to yourself.” Yes, we already talked about how you shouldn’t shake hands, but you should also touch as little as possible.
Bring a pen with so you don’t have to use any of the pens that they keep at the business. Do not touch anything on anyone’s desk. Avoid using the bathroom there if at all possible
However, even though you are not supposed to touch anything, ask for a business card from the interviewer. On everyone’s business card there are multiple ways to contact them. This also gives you the correct spelling of their name (unless their business card guy really sucks). This means that you can send the interviewer a “thank you” for the interview. You also now have multiple ways to contact them so that you can follow up on the interview.