Finding a job has never been easy, and the rapid workplace changes brought on by the pandemic haven’t helped. After COVID-19 left many jobless and changed operating procedures at nearly every workplace, job-seekers are facing unique challenges. While many of the traditional interview tips still apply, potential employees need to keep in mind the new circumstances they may face.
Top Interview Tips for 2021
- Be prepared for a virtual or phone interview. Many companies started opting for a remote interview process in the wake of the pandemic. Even though some offices have begun returning to in-person work environments, video or phone interviews are still common. Try and familiarize yourself with common video chat technology like Zoom or Skype, because there is a good chance you will be required to use it for an interview.
- Interview from a clean, uncluttered location. If you’re going through a virtual interview, make sure you’re in a quiet location without distractions. Also, pay attention to everything that’s in the frame of your webcam. You want your environment to be neutral, clean and well-lit.
- Dress appropriately. Whether your interview is in person or online, dress your best. It may be tempting to wear pajama pants when the interviewer is only seeing your top half, but looking sharp head to toe is your best bet to make a good impression. Studies show that our clothing choices can affect our confidence levels, and looking professional helps us feel more professional. This will help you come across as more confident during the interview. If you’re interviewing in person, use your best judgment on attire. If you’re applying for a plant manager position, for example, you may be touring the facility, so leave the open-toed shoes at home.
- Research the company and position and come prepared with questions. Show the hiring manager that you are engaged by researching ahead of time. Some example questions you might want to ask include:
- Ask about the corporate structure and culture.
- Ask what specific challenges you may face with this position that the company has dealt with before.
- Ask what a typical day is like.
- Ask what the interviewer likes about working for the company.
- Ask what accomplishments in the first six months would make the company pleased with their candidate selection.
- Avoid talking about promotions, but show interest in growth. Focus on growth opportunities that have to do with your knowledge, skills and abilities rather than titles and hierarchies. This will show that you are interested in leveraging your skills to help the company rather than only for your own benefit.
- Prepare for the unexpected. When it comes to technology, mishaps are always around the corner. Use the interviewer’s video platform of choice at least one time before the interview so that you know your way around the program if anything goes wrong. If you’re interviewing in person, be prepared to comply with any safety procedures the office requires, such as wearing a mask and social distancing. Being calm and adaptable when the unexpected happens will show the hiring manager that you have the ability to adjust to circumstances outside of your control.
Above all, being comfortable and confident will help your interview go well. Millwood’s Director of Human Resources, Courtney Russell, and Regional Human Resources Manager Michelle Lehr advise candidates to be themselves and not get hung up on the stress of an interview.
“I recommend being yourself and being confident,” Lehr said.
Russell echoes this sentiment.
“Relax! It’s a conversation,” she said. “Know what you bring to the table, and be able to admit things you’re looking to get better at.”
Whether you’re a recent grad, looking for a career change or searching for your first job, congratulate yourself on landing an interview! May you be blessed with a position that’s right for you.