5 Pro Tips to Prepare for Interviews in the COVD Era
The COVD19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work, bringing with it new protocols (or lack thereof) when it comes to Interviewing.
As a professional Recruiter, my goal is to stay ahead of these challenges and help my clients (and myself!) navigate our new reality.
First, throw convention out the window. Panel interviews, multiple rounds, full suits, job shadows, briefcases, and cover letters have all gone the dinosaur’s way.
2020 is all about Zoom Interviews, “Meet & Greets” and taking a risk on the unknown.
Whether you have an interview coming up, or just want to stay informed, this is your step-by-step guide to nailing interviews and landing a new job in our COVD-shaped reality.
- Change Your Mindset: Interviews are no longer an exploratory mission.
Interviews in 2020 are either awkward, 30-minute Zoom Calls, or even shorter on-site “meet and greets.”
Due to COVD safety protocols, and everyone generally being frazzled, job seekers rarely have more than thirty minutes to learn about the role AND make a fabulous impression.
Instead of thinking, “I’ll learn about the company/job when I get there,” let’s shift the narrative.
2. Do Your Home Work: Research, Write it Down & Review.
See above. People are frazzled! Hiring Managers already carry the world’s weight on their shoulders, making difficult decisions all day long. Now, they have the added stress of keeping employees and customers safe while managing staff and resources in the face of uncertainty.
Do everyone a favor and figure out if you want the job BEFORE you go to the interview. Research the company website, check out employee and customer reviews, media coverage, and the job description itself. If you are not at least 50 % excited, have some mercy on the busy folks who will be taking time out of their day to meet you. The right fit is out there.
If you are at least 50 % psyched, maybe even 90 %, now it is your time to shine! The interview(s) will likely be short and sweet, so come prepared to show your enthusiasm and explain what you can do for them.
3. Get to Know your Interviewers.
Now that you have low-key internet stalked your prospective new company, try to dig up specifics on the interviews via a professional networking site, the company’s about page, or another non-creepy public information source.
Putting a name to a face and understanding the Interviewer’s credentials will calm any last-minute butterflies and make it that much easier to build rapport. I can hear the ice breaking already …
“I noticed you are a Big Brother/Big Sister, I am too! What do you love most about it?”
4. Zoom-ing Your Way to a New Job: Business on Top, Party on the Bottom?
Zoom interviews can be super stressful.
No matter what type of technological wiz you are, test your Zoom Account 24 hours before the interview. You never know when a forgotten password or expired credit card can throw a wrench in the works.
Ask a friend, family member, neighbor, or any other bored person currently at home in isolation to do a trial run with you.
Sounds simple, but you don’t want to be fumbling around for the Audio & Video buttons with three Interviewers staring back at you from your laptop.
Keep in mind that the Zoom Interviewers will be able to see into your home. Super. Awkward.
When you’re doing your test run, pay attention to the background. Is that a cat litter box sticking out of your closet? Last week’s pile of laundry that you ‘forgot’ to fold?
Get your act together, and prep a clean, neutral, and quiet space to take the Zoom Interview.
It’s Game Day! Log on to the meeting at least 15 minutes before the Interview Time. Actually, make that 20.
Depending on the company, a full suit is probably unnecessary, but you want to dress to impress even if you are home and generally in pajamas.
Business on top, party on the bottom sounds like fun until you have to stand up to grab an extra pen or glass of water.
Play it safe, and dress like a grown-up for 30 minutes.
5. Game Day
- Print at least one copy of your resume. The interviewers may discuss it with you, and its best to have it handy to follow along without relying on memory.
- Keep a notepad and pen handy.
- Feel free to write down notes from your Interview Prep (you basically get a Cheat Sheet!).
- Take a few notes during the interview if you’d like, just make sure to maintain eye contact and keep it subtle.
- Print 4–5 copies of your resume the day before your interview and put them in a padfolio or folder. I don’t care if you are only scheduled with one person, coffee stains are not a good look, and you may get some surprise intros.
- Same deal with the notepad — bring notes, write notes but be subtle about it.
- Most companies are only allowing visitors on-site for a limited amount of time.
- Your interview that might have taken hours in the past will most likely be a 15-minute “meet and greet.”
- Don’t panic when they show you the door!
- Smile, thank the Interviewers for your time and close the meeting like the Pro you are.
Are you an overachiever? Stay tuned for expert interview practice questions and a cheat sheet, of course. Good luck, you’ve got this!