Interviewing for a job in person was often expected before COVID. Now, the landscape has changed with emerging restrictions and expectations as the pandemic has continued. Here is what you need to know about interviewing in person for a job after COVID.
Give Yourself Time
Everything takes more time post-COVID. Many employers will have safety checkpoints to enter the premises or rules about when and how to enter their worksites. Make sure that you allow time for these in planning the logistics of your interview. Give yourself enough time to meet with the people that you are interviewing with at the time that the interview is scheduled.
If you are running behind, make sure you have a person to contact with the company to let them know. Be respectful of the interviewer's time and let them know in advance if at all possible. Remember that showing up too early can also be as bad as showing up too late for an interview. So, plan your time and travel carefully.
Do Your Research
Many companies will post their COVID protocols on their websites or on their careers page to give candidates the information they need to succeed at the interview. Take the time to research these if possible. You can also do a quick online search to try to find details about the location, construction, and traffic around the interview site. You would be surprised what you can find and how effective it can be to use this information in the interview to stand out.
Ask Questions Before the Interview
Do not hesitate to ask your HR contact or the person that you are coordinating the interview with about what to expect onsite. This person wants to help you succeed in the interview and they know that you probably haven't been at the company before. So, feel free to ask them questions about arrival instructions, safety protocols, and anything else that you need to know about interviewing in person.
Remember to ask these questions with some strategy. This person is your contact and will help facilitate the interview. But, they are not your friend and they are coordinating the final decision about whether or not you are a good fit for the role. So, make sure that you are keeping these interactions professional at every step.
And, remember to show your skills in each interaction. Meaning that if you say that your skills are that you plan ahead and do your research. That you should in fact show the people interviewing you that you do this research and plan ahead in every aspect of the interview process - including asking questions of the right people about the logistics and expectations for the interview.
Follow Safety Protocols
You may or may not agree with the particular safety protocols that the company is using for COVID or otherwise. But, you will be expected to follow these protocols if you end up getting the job that you will interview in person for. So, you should expect to follow the safety protocols when onsite doing the interviewing. If you cannot agree with or follow the protocols when onsite, that should be a signal to you that you should not proceed with the interview and let the hiring team know that right away. There is no point in continuing with the interview if you ultimately won't be able or happy in following the company guidelines before you even start.
Follow the Lead of the Interviewers
Social customs can be tricky in any job interview, let alone now with the extra complexities of post-COVID social interactions. Always make sure that you feel comfortable and safe in the interview process when onsite. But, when in doubt, a good guideline is to follow the lead of the people interviewing you. They know the company's expectations and culture. So, they can be a great guide to what is expected or typical at the worksite. Don't be afraid to ask questions about these cultural expectations in the interview either. An interview is simply the chance to get to know the company and the people that work there. So, use that opportunity to ask the questions that you want to know so that you can make the right decisions for your career on how to proceed with this potential opportunity.
Feeling like you need more guidance? Get help from an expert career coach to prepare for your next big interview. Learn more.