Job Doc

I just secured an interview for a job I’m really interested in. However, the recruiter gave me a choice between an in-person interview and a virtual one. Which option should I take? Elaine Varelas guides

During the past few years, virtual interviews have been the standard for most organizations. However, with increased vaccination rates and more mask mandates lifting, the option to meet in person is becoming more widely available. Elaine Varelas guides on the benefits of face-to-face meetings while providing alternative options.

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Q: I have the opportunity to interview for a job I am excited about. The recruiter asked if I wanted to have a face-to-face masked meeting or a Zoom call. What is the best way to present myself?

A: With many people still working remotely or in a hybrid environment, meetings are done much more frequently virtually than in person. Whether it is a Teams call with coworkers or a Zoom session with clients or a potential employer, the use of virtual engagements continues to be the standard for many. Maintaining your health and that of others is the first default in all situations. However, as mask restrictions are lifted and vaccination rates increase, many people are being offered a choice on whether to attend an in-person meeting or continue to meet virtually. If you’re given the option and you’re concerned about health safety, it is crucial for you to get more information about the practices and policies of the organization you would be interviewing with prior to meeting.

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Face-to-face meetings are always going to be more successful than a call conducted via technology. If you have the opportunity to present yourself in person for an interview, chose that! Don’t get lazy and avoid a commute or dressing professionally. Make the effort (which will most often be rewarded) and get additional information to use in the interview or to make a more informed decision.

When you’re given a choice, there is often a third point of view for you to consider and introduce. Let the recruiter know that you would be happy to meet the hiring manager in the office and masked but add options, such as continuing the conversation while going for out for a walk unmasked or meeting for coffee at a local restaurant to continue a more personal presentation. If going into the office is not an option for you, think outside the box. Demonstrate to the recruiter and the hiring manager your problem-solving capabilities by offering other choices other than going on location. This can really showcase you as the candidate of choice.

Meeting one or even a few people directly provides so much more information and is beneficial to both parties. Facial expressions and body language deliver clues to ask questions or add to an answer that you might not get any other way. Many organizations are doing virtual first and second interviews before continuing onto a face-to-face meeting for roles that are highly interactive. Managers are prepared to make offers by then, yet because of a behavior, mannerism, or inability to relate, candidates walk away with no offer. Candidates have also found that information they gained from a more personal interaction left them not at all interested in working for an organization. Recruiters, hiring managers, and candidates all need to be prepared to bring their A game to both virtual and in-person meetings so that every exchange is valuable even if it doesn’t result in an accepted offer.

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