How to Job Interview While Wearing a Face Mask
Keeping your distance from others and wearing a face mask are important safety measures that improve our safety but hinder our ability to communicate and interact with others. In this blog, you’ll learn how to successfully job interview while wearing a face mask!
Job interviews are incredibly soft skills driven – by the time you are invited into a potential employers office they’ve reviewed your resume and know that you’ve got the hard skills and experience they are looking for so they really want to get to know your personality, how you interact with others and fit in with their culture. Having effective and strong communication skills is in nearly every job description and a highly sought after skill for employers of all industries, whether you are a software developer or a salesperson, having great communication skills will make or break an interview! During a job interview while wearing a face mask, it is important to come prepared to communicate well under these new circumstances!
In normal times, you’d arrive for an interview and greet your future employer with a friendly smile and shake their hand firmly to forge an immediate connection. Throughout the interview, you’d speak clearly and eloquently to use your voice and presence to give your interviewer confidence in your abilities and excitement in the new job.
By now we’ve all caught ourselves feeling distracted and distanced from others while we refrain from offering a friendly smile to those we pass in the grocery store or feel awkward after shouting a quick “good morning!” to our neighbor as we are left wondering what muffled words they heard on the other side of your face mask. When simple daily interactions are this daunting, the prospect of doing a job interview or having to speak eloquently and thoughtfully for long periods of time sounds miserable.
Yes, you are equipped to communicate, even with part of your face concealed.
While masks have disrupted social interactions there are some helpful things we can do to enhance our communication and have a successful job interview while wearing a face mask!
Facial expressions are the primary way we display our most innate emotions. This is how interviewers can pick up on if you are feeling confident, nervous, excited, surprised, or happy. With a masked job candidate in front of them, it can be difficult for them to pick up on these cues and difficult for you (the interviewee) to convey your genuine excitement in the opportunity and professional confidence.
The solution. Utilize your eyes. As the only exposed part of your face, it’s the only way you can physically get a read into someone’s emotional state. Throughout the entire interview, maintain consistent eye contact even when it is so easy to fall into distraction of your mask or (even more problematic) self-consciousness. Another plus to having great eye contact – it makes you appear more trustworthy and intelligent!
Body language speaks volumes during a job interview while wearing a face mask
We also communicate heavily using our body language. With limited facial expressions, you’ve got to be aware and intentional with the message your body language is giving during a job interview! Make sure that throughout the interview you are not tensing up, slouching or crossing your arms. To let your interviewer know that you want to talk by leaning in, straightening your posture or nodding more frequently.
It’s not just what you say, but how you say it.
The most self-conscious part of communicating while wearing a mask is often our voice. Now we find ourselves consumed by wondering how we sound, if certain words are heard differently, if we sound muffled or if we have gotten our point across.
Fortunately, much of this is our own self-consciousness and innate worry, studies have shown that there is little significant impact to your voice while wearing a mask. Often unnecessarily, we feel the need to overcompensate for our mask and speak louder, but that changes the message you’re trying to send or comes off sounding angry or unnecessarily intense. Instead of changing the tone or volume, try focusing on enunciation and purposeful pauses.
Job interviews while wearing a face mask are new to everyone
These circumstances are new to everyone. We’re all prone to a blunder when we are trying something new and conducting a job interview with a face mask is no exception. Don’t expect your job interview to go perfectly. Just like any conversation, mistakes will be made. If there is a communication challenge or someone can’t understand you, try rephrasing your words and speaking more slowly. When it comes to enunciating, air on the side of caution and take your time choosing and speaking your words.
Just like any job interview in normal times – practice is the name of the game. In the hour prior to the interview, along with preparing for the interview, there are a couple vocal enunciation exercises you can try. Chewing gum (whether real or pretend) in your mouth helps you loosen your jaw muscles and prepare to speak. Or, you can repeat phrases like “red lorry, yellow lorry” or “unique New York, New York’s unique”, over and over again.
Everything you need to remember for a job interview while wearing a face mask:
In conclusion, here’s everything to remember to prepare for an awesome job interview while wearing a face mask!
- Focus on maintaining eye contact
- Avoid tensing up, slouching or crossing your arms
- To let someone know you are going to speak, lean in, straighten your posture or nod more frequently
- Don’t feel the need to raise your voice
- Speak slowly, enunciate well and take purposeful pauses
- Most importantly, don’t lose your confidence! Remember that your interviewer is just as new to the situation as you and could be feeling nervous about how to communicate too.
As we move forward with our lives in the “new normal” and find ways to adapt to our new circumstances such as wearing a face mask, we hope that you’ll feel empowered to successfully and safely take on a new job search and job interview while wearing a face mask confidently. Social distance doesn’t have to mean socially distant and your communication skills can be just as effective as they have always been.
PACE Staffing Network is one of the Puget Sound’s premier staffing and recruiting agencies and has been helping Northwest job seekers find their “just right” jobs for over 40 years.
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