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In-Person Interviewing Has Changed Its Face

Updated: Oct 3, 2020

The face of interviewing in 2020 has changed. More interviews are being held on the phone and via video call than ever before. When there is an in-person interview, it is conducted with both the interviewer and candidate wearing face masks. 

I have attended only one in-person interview as a job seeker in 2020. The majority of my interviews have been via phone and video call.

Excited is understating how I felt about this in-person interview. Leading up to the interview it occurred to me how much I have missed that in person interview energy. I knew I needed this experience to ignite my job seeking spirit and job search energy. 

What I did not consider...

It never occurred to me wearing a mask in an interview would create a barrier. It also did not occur to me that reading a face was a huge part of picking up on social queues and reading body language.

I sat down with the hiring manager in their office and the interview began. After a few minutes of face mask to face mask conversation, I realized I was smiling and showing my usual animated self behind my mask, but the interviewer could only see my eyes. The added barrier of no longer having an ability to read my interviewer’s face was surprising to me and felt odd.

Who is Wonder Woman without her lasso of truth or invisible jet?

If I am being completely honest about the moment, it felt like a huge setback.

As a self-proclaimed SHEro, I have always believed one of my superpowers is the ability to read and interact with most people. How will I show my sparkle? Will the interviewer see my super-powers and unique employability?

While I still had some body language to read, it was clear during this interview - I do prefer interviewing with a “whole face.”

Choosing to take this interview in all of its discomfort to the next level - I had to change my approach.

My pivot in the moment...

Immediately, I began to ask more direct questions related to my candidacy. If the interviewer could not see my excitement and enthusiasm for the job via my facial expressions -  I needed to make my words do ALL the work.

I remember thinking at one point, “How will I ensure my eyes are reflecting ALL of my superpowers?“

In-person interviews will continue to be held while both parties wear masks. As job seekers and hiring team members, we need to pivot our approach to ensure we are connecting with one another.

How should we pivot interviews going forward?

With more than 75% of interviews being conducted via phone, video, or a combination of both - the approach to interviewing must change.

We need to relearn how to interview in-person.

As a society, we spent the past six months learning to use virtual tools and tech to help us continue to connect at a distance. It's time to go back to the basics and review our interviewing practices as candidates and hiring teams.

My Answer To All Interviewing:

Start mentally & tactically treating in-person and all interviews like we would phone interviews where sight is not engaged.

This experience highlighted the importance of painting our conversational pictures bigger and brighter. Regardless of our ability to interview with our "whole face", our words must be used in more strategic and thoughtful ways. We will all be better candidates and hiring teams if we embrace this approach.

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