Job search can feel socially isolating in the best of times. Being removed from the daily work schedule and now confined to a solo job search can feel disorienting and lonely in a typical job market. To prepare for a job search in today’s socially isolated, “work from home” situation, I suggest many of the same tactics but with an extra eye toward self-support. Take care to get plenty of wholesome nutrition, stretching and stress reducing exercise and rest. Put together a daily routine, get up and dress as if you are ready to put your best face forward. Take care of your spirits with some positive reading, meditation, watching a comedy or listening to music, or take an on-line class. I am a big fan of Coursera. Keep a positive attitude during this social isolation by contacting friends and family by phone. What a good time to reach out to former colleagues, classmates or long-lost friends to reconnect. Who have you been meaning to reconnect with? Now is the time to stay positive.
There is a good possibility that your job interviews will be almost exclusively on the phone or video-based in the next weeks to months. Now is the time to make sure you are using best practices and putting your best face forward.
When preparing for a video interview:
Make sure your equipment works well. Check connectivity, lighting and camera angles. Look straight into, or with a slight upward chin slant, the camera, not down at it and remember to look at the camera, not the screen. A reminder for that is to put a Post-it note (or something that catches your eye) above the camera. Look at the sticky!
Determine a place to hold your video interview where the light is good (no unflattering shadows on your face), where it is quiet, and where the background is professional. Not acceptable places to interview: the closet, the bathroom, your car.
No interruptions, of course. If your children are similarly socially isolated, this might be a challenge. Be sure to prepare beforehand so that they know you require a quiet work-place. Here is my favorite interview gone awry.
Be seated and ready to begin a few minutes before that actual call. Take some deep breathes and imagine a successful interaction. Think about and clarify the 3-4 points that you want them to know, with certainty, about you, when the call is concluded. Have your STAR points in front-of-mind.
Dress as you would for an in-person interview. Even if they only see you from the shoulders up, you will feel prepared and have your mental game face on. Colors to avoid: black, white, stripes which can “crawl”. Arrange your hair out of your face. Subtle scarves, earrings and jewelry only.
Have your resume handy and be ready to take notes.
Relax, and try to smile and engage with the camera.
Turn your phone to silent.
You can refer to this article by Indeed which is a very complete guide for preparing video interviews.
Many of us are very familiar with the screening phone call. This is a typical part of any job search. They might be longer now, or with a team dialed into the call. Here are some tips for creating a more successful phone interview experience:
Be ready minutes before. As with a video interview, gather your thoughts about what you want to communicate clearly about yourself and imagine a positive outcome from the interaction.
Stand when you are speaking. Smile as you rely. They won’t see your smile, naturally, but they can hear it in your voice, and it will communicate your enthusiasm.
Be ready to answer some of those tricky questions, which are part of screening, such as “what kind of money?” questions. Do your research and be ready to respond. Talk to your career coach to develop possible strategies.
Prepare some “any questions for us?” questions. They will ask and even if it’s just a 15-minute conversation, be ready. As with all interviews, research the company in preparation and generate informed questions about your potential employer.
For either a video or phone interview, take notes once you’ve finished and prepare your follow-up email reflecting your fresh recollection of the conversation.
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