So we have found ourselves in sort of predicament; uncharted territories both professionally and personally. We are employed but at home, employed but at work, or unemployed with no hope in sight thanks to COVID-19.
It’s been a rough few months and I have been on the “unemployed” side if you will. I have always had my consulting firm and a steady rotation of clientele, however, I wanted more.
So in January, I set out on a journey to go back to the office. Yes, I love my home office and being able to watch Logan grow but there was something major missing in my life. Camaraderie from my peers. I was missing my inspirational spark that I get from engaging with others with like and unlike mindsets.
THEN a pandemic. I was interviewing up until this whole run of COVID-19 began and did it really make some prospects bite the dust. I felt like application after application was getting “pushed” or “canceled” due to unforeseen circumstances and their inability to guarantee the position. It was stressful because I wanted to be able to achieve my goal but I also needed to take the health and wellbeing of my family and those around me seriously.
The new normal has been Zoom interviews. While convenient, it’s kind of awkward you know? It is a platform I have used to connect with people I know and I feel there is a huge personality disconnect interviewing over technology. You miss out on the grit.
However, I did have to go into an office setting of a non-essential business to interview for a position that I had been chasing for MONTHS (literally since January y’all). Let’s just say, my ANXIETY WAS THROUGH THE ROOF. So many things running through my head. Do I wear a mask? Should I wear gloves? How much sanitizer is too much sanitizer? Should I bring my own Clorox wipes? I had ZERO clue.
How do you interview without starting with a simple handshake, a common and necessary social gesture?
So here it is; the gist of things that worked for me while I interviewed during Covid-19 and hopefully a list of golden nuggets that you can take with you when you’re entering the search during this pandemic.
1 | DO bring your own hand sanitizer
Okay so if you’re like me, the whole “community sanitizer” things irks me out a little bit. Like we aren’t supposed to be touching things but then its to sanitize so you touch dirty then sanitize? Seems a little redundant and I don’t trust it. Being a mom I always have my B&BW hand sanitizers on deck! If you don’t have access to some you can always DIY. Mix some aloe vera and rubbing alcohol together in a travel size squeeze bottle, throw in some essential oils for jazz and BAM. Clean hands.
2 | DON’T shake. Just acknowledge.
Our entire lives it has been drilled into us that a firm handshake is a sign of respect and authority. But just don’t do it. Most employers are very understanding of this new normal and make light of the situation.
3 | DO send them your portfolio (if remote interviewing)
They might not get all your “pizazz” through a video call but they CAN see your capabilities through a well stocked portfolio. I curated mine into a Google Drive and then distributed the link to the interested parties. It gave them a little taste of my capabilities, my scope of work and my aesthetic sensibility. These are all things I always have a printed copy of when I go into an interview anyways. So now we get to save trees and show your stuff.
4 | DON’T feel pressured or be pressured.
A lot of people are not taking this pandemic seriously, including prospective employers. Do what makes you comfortable. If you feel like they are pressuring you to come into the office for an in person interview and that is just not within your comfort level, kindly decline. “Why decline, I need a job?”. Yes, you do BUT you also need your health too and employers need to respect that boundary you have created. I firmly believe that if you are put into an unideal circumstance from the get go, you will be put in more down the line and that is equally unhealthy.
5 | DO send a thank you E-MAIL instead of a card
For the sake of public health and germs, this is much easier than dropping something in a slot that will get touched by so many people and delivered. A clear, concise and warm email can have the same effect. You can even make a joke about how you’re keeping wellness in mind with a virtual thanks instead of a physical one. Plus, save the trees again!
During my hiring process I made the choice to do both in person and online interviews and 2nd interviews. This was aligned with what I was comfortable with.
When I went to an office, I made sure to keep my 6 feet of social distance. I sanitized and washed my hands after touching ANYTHING public, including arm chairs, door knobs and even my car door! If I felt the space was too close, I asked if we could move to a larger venue just for our mutual benefit.
We made light of the current situation and it was a great talking point as to how they see the business post COVID-19 (which is a great question if you want to see how solution oriented a company has been OR how you can create a positive solution if hired).
Whatever you decide to do during this pandemic just remember to be safe, stay clean and be compassionate. If you’re looking to move forward, GREAT! If you’re looking to hold back, GREAT! Take this time to ramp of that resume, add a little sparkle to your cover letter and really find the perfect fit for you.
As always, hit me on Instagram if you have any questions or just want to chat. I will always make time for you.
DISCLAIMER — This Blog is made available by Ashley Dunham, founder & publisher of Bossfidence.com for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of what I did during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent health advice from a licensed professional, your local/federal government and the CDC.
Please follow all local laws and regulations for your state and DO NOT go on interviews or public in general if you are experiencing signs of illness. If you suspect that you have COVID-19 please contact your local healthcare facility for the proper next steps.