How To Interview While Wearing a Face Mask

How To Interview While Wearing a Face Mask

 If you go on an in-person job interview, you may be asked to wear a face mask or you may choose to wear one for health reasons.

It’s perfectly understandable if you’re a little nervous about interviewing while wearing a mask. It’s hard enough to communicate your qualifications without covering the bottom half of your face. But if you manage this the right way, you may be able to turn a challenge to your advantage. Interview well, and you’ll show the hiring manager that you’re someone who can shine through adversity.

Choose the Right Mask

Many people have gotten creative with their masks, making or buying custom versions with slogans, sports logos, even prints of their own face. But while those eye-catching masks are fun at the grocery store, they’re not a good idea for job interviews.

Why not? Well, in short, they distract from what’s actually important: you. Loud patterns, shiny embellishments, or goofy slogans will pull focus from your message.

Your best bet is to keep it simple. Choose a plain color or a simple pattern and make sure it doesn’t clash with your outfit. You don’t need to go all out and match it to your pocket square, but you want it to work together. Remember that the goal is for the interviewer to forget about your mask and focus on your conversation.

Bring a Spare

Remember the good old days, when an interview wardrobe malfunction meant spilling coffee on your shirt before the meeting? Now, you also have to worry about keeping your mask intact and presentable as well.

To ensure that things go smoothly, pack at least one extra mask that you’d feel confident wearing during the interview. The world is an imperfect place. Elastics snap, lipstick wanders, birds drop a present right before you enter the building. Have a backup, and you’ll be prepared for anything.

Carve Out Time to Build Calm

Even in pre-pandemic times, it was normal to have some job interview jitters. Now, you have the added stress of observing safety precautions, plus navigating an interview with half your face covered. If you’re feeling nervous, it’s totally understandable.

The best way to handle this new and unusual situation is to prioritize stress relief. If you haven’t already incorporated stress management practices like meditation, mindfulness, and breathing techniques, now is a good time to start. If you’re already doing so, be sure to leave extra time before your job interview to build a sense of calm.

Take an hour or two to de-stress before heading out. Go for a walk, meditate, do some yoga – anything that will help you regulate and relax. Remember that you’re not just interviewing – you’re interviewing while coping with a pandemic. Give yourself a break … by taking a break.

Remember Tyra Banks and Smize

Did you know that people can hear when you’re smiling, even over the phone? The same goes for when you’re wearing a mask. Plus, the top of your face will be visible, which means that the interviewer will be able to see your smile in your eyes. Your posture may also indicate that you’re feeling positive and upbeat. So, don’t use the mask as an excuse to wear a neutral expression. Smile, and the hiring manager will feel your enthusiasm.  

Use the Right Body Language

In addition to smiling, be sure to use positive body language. Avoid slouching, leaning back in your chair, or fiddling with your pen or paperwork. Keep your posture open and approachable, with uncrossed arms and a slight forward learn to indicate interest. Make eye contact, but don’t stare.

Above all else, avoid looking at your phone. There’s no quicker way to indicate that your mind is on other things.  

Be Respectful of The Interviewer’s Space

The pandemic has complicated interviewing, along with just about every other activity in our lives. But it also provides an opportunity to show respect and consideration – valuable attributes in a potential hire.

When you meet with the interview, adhere to social distancing guidelines by staying six feet away. Do not shake hands or touch the interviewer in any way. (If they offer an elbow bump, and you feel comfortable, go for it. But let them lead.)

Do Practice Interviews (and Dress the Part)

Mock interviews are always useful. They can help you practice answering – and asking – interview questions, as well as giving you a chance to try out your elevator pitch. However, practice interviews are more valuable than ever right now, because so much has changed from the normal routine of job seeking.

Ask a friend or family member to do a trial run, wearing masks and observing social distancing. Have them critique your performance, offering any tips for improvement. You might also consider making a video of the mock interview, so that you can see for yourself whether your body language communicates your message.

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  • October 13, 2022