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Keys to passing a job interview … with a mask!

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Six tips for effective communication

Keys to passing a job interview … with a mask!

Instructions, distancing measures, without fear of repetition, use visual and body language and the choice of mask, among the main instructions

BY RRHHDigital, 12:15 – 28 October 2020

The compulsory use of a mask makes many social and professional situations difficult, such as face-to-face job interviews. The mask severely limits the reading of facial expressions and speech comprehension by covering a large part of the face of the candidate and the interviewer.

So that the professional’s performance is not hampered by this new element, Walters People, a specialist recruitment and interim agency of the Robert Walters Group, offers six tips for showing empathy with the interviewer in these unusual circumstances:

Confirm the safety instructions before your interview. Many companies have started accepting meetings with people outside of their offices, maintaining safety measures and social distancing. Rooms and elevators have a maximum occupancy limit, and use of a mask is mandatory for meetings and office travel. However, confirm with your interviewer what protocol the company has in place before your job interview, it is possible that there is a specific measure that you are not aware of. Tell your interviewer that you want to track all social distancing measures. We recommend that you do not remove your mask during your interview – especially if it takes place in a closed room – in order to avoid possible risks of contagion. After greeting your interviewer from the recommended distance and entering the interview room, let them know that you plan to keep the mask on throughout the interview. This way, you will avoid situations in which the investigator wants to remove it, although it is not recommended. Don’t be afraid to repeat your words or ask for them to be repeated. When everyone is wearing a mask, it is often difficult to understand what the other person is saying. In addition, the fact that two people meet with a mask 2 meters apart makes communication even more difficult. You may feel worried that you cannot express your ideas clearly to the other person, or frustrated if communication develops with problems. To reduce your anxiety, it’s best to accept that there will be times when you just have to repeat what you’ve said, and vice versa. If you cannot understand the explanation or the other person’s question, do not hesitate to politely ask them to repeat what they said. Pay attention to the way you speak. Try to speak and pronounce clearly, and state your words well. You may need to converse at a higher tone than normal, as the mask may cause you to reduce the volume of your voice. Important numbers and keywords should be repeated at least twice or highlighted at the end of your answer to ensure that there has not been a lack of understanding on the part of the other party. If you tend to speak too fast, make an effort to slow down so that the other person can understand everything you are saying. Short pauses – before and after keywords or experiences – will help the interviewer better understand your message. Tip: before the interview, record yourself by answering the questions using the mask and see how your voice sounds; Get a second opinion before going to your appointment to be as prepared as possible. Having already adjusted your tone of voice, as well as the volume and speed of your speech, you will enter the interview without worries. Use eye contact and body language to your advantage. When half of your face is covered, reading your facial expressions becomes much more difficult. Use eye contact, tone of voice, and body language to your advantage to better convey your ideas. Keep your eyes always visible and try to keep your gaze while you are speaking, it will give you a feeling of closeness and trust, it will promote you to empathize with your interviewer. To show that you understand what he is saying and that you are paying attention to his words, use gestures that indicate understanding / confirmation as a nod. When you wear a mask, showing your enthusiasm with a smile is impossible. To counter this limitation, there are very effective alternatives. Use your body language to show your interest and personality as a professional. When it’s your turn to speak, maintain eye contact, don’t be afraid to use your hands, and do whatever you feel is necessary to support your words. When gestures are used effectively, positive emotions and attitudes such as drive and enthusiasm can be conveyed. However, it is not advisable to do it in excess as it can be a distraction for your interviewer, in balance and in the middle is virtue. Choose a smooth and simple mask. While there are many mask options to choose from in terms of style and color, the ideal is to use soft tones. Disposable surgical masks are a good option and are often more comfortable. If the color of your mask is too strong or has very colorful and / or striking designs or pattern, it could distract your interviewer from what you are trying to convey. The main thing is to be formal and professional.

“We recommend that the first phases of the interview be carried out by video, thus avoiding social contact. If it is necessary to carry out a final interview in person, the use of the mask becomes essential. While this does create some difficulty, if certain advice is followed, there is no reason why an interview under these circumstances will lead to a worse outcome. If the preliminary preparation of the candidate and the interviewee is optimal, and the two interlocutors pay particular attention to the way they speak, interact and present themselves… Everything will be fine ”, comments Alexandra Arranz, Associate Director at Walters People

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