As the transition from a Covid consumed world slowly continues, Consortia is starting to see the dawn of face-to-face interviews returning. While many companies will continue to retain the newer culture of working from home and remote virtual meetings, there is something to be said about the in-person interview.
When in-person, body language expressions and nonverbal cues are more apparent, flow of conversations generally more fluid, and that personable touch is more prominent, helping with rapport.
However, despite these advantages, face-to-face interviews do also require much more preparation. It may have been a while since your last face-to-face meeting, let alone interview. If you have forgotten the face-to-face pitfalls or need a little reminding of what to think about in the non-virtual world when facing an interview, these reminders might just help.
PLAN YOUR ROUTE
Building in travel time is one of the unfortunate disadvantages that comes with a face-to-face interview. Ensuring you are sure of your destination and how to get there along with timings is essential. Simply assuming your sat nav will get you to your exact point on time is usually far from reality.
When organising your journey, do ensure you utilise your recruitment consultant. They may well have been to the client's offices and know the pinch points. Most recruitment consultants believe their candidates don't take full advantage of their knowledge, so make the most of it and ask!
ARRIVE WITH TIME TO SPARE, BUT NOT TOO MUCH!
Aim to arrive at least ten mins before your interview. Too early and you are about to have the uncomfortable wait in reception and being late is quite frankly, unacceptable. Hiring managers (and receptionists) we've spoken to over the years tell us that being overly early (20mins+) indicates as much of a lack of planning as being late and can potentially put pressure on the interviewer to move the start time up.
KNOW THE DRESS CODE
Dress code varies significantly from company to company, industry to industry. In recent years we've seen many client and agency side organisations completely change their dress code rules; it's all too easy to get the dress code wrong, so ask your recruitment consultant or HR officer. Get more information on the expected dress code and what to wear to avoid a potentially uncomfortable first few minutes in the interview!
Unlike with the online interview, there's nowhere to hide secret notes out of shot. Come fully prepared. You won't have the ability to 'wing it', so make sure you understand the company and role you are interviewing for. As recruiters, our job is to do the homework on the company, it's offering, and history, which we will ensure you know. However, when you are face to face, it is up to you to remember the details and show enthusiasm in your approach.
USE YOUR BODY LANGUAGE
With so much time working from home, many of the candidates Consortia work with have found they are now very comfortable with meetings and interviews online. However, the requirements for social interaction in the virtual world are very different from face-to-face and, at present, can be even more awkward with the remaining presence of covid. Should you shake hands? Should you accept the water offered? These are all situations you will need to be aware of and be resolute in your decisions. Following the most up-to-date current government guidance is our best recommendation. Ensuring your body language is generally open, and welcoming will help reduce the guarded /closed feeling that comes with social distancing.
ALLOW PLENTY OF TIME & THEN SOME
Every interview is individual, and every company or person within that company usually has their style and method even where interviews are standarised. Interviews don't always follow an expected pattern or time. Many of our clients have cited clock watching as a pet hate and a surefire way to be put off. Your recruiter should know how long the meeting is scheduled for so you can get an idea of how long you need to account for beforehand. Even so, add time in addition in case these timings overrun.
THANK YOU GOES A LONG WAY
Regardless of whether your interview is in person or online, the thank-you email is, without a doubt, the most underused tool an interviewee can utilise to help aid a job application. The thank-you email has been known to secure pay increases, job titles, and even offers. Not only does this show interest and enthusiasm, but it also provides the opportunity to summarise further why you're right for the role.
You should send the email to your recruitment consultant to forward to the client, giving them a chance to add their overview as to why you stand out and what they like about you.
There are many things to worry about when handling face-to-face interviews for the first time in a long time. You have to make sure you're on time, know where the company is located (no easy feat in some business centers), and hope that nothing unexpected happens during your meeting.
As if getting up on time and looking presentable in front of a potential employer wasn't enough. We are back to making sure the car starts or dealing with the rain while waiting for a taxi.
Although you can't prepare for every eventuality at the interview, you'll almost certainly be on the right track by following the above steps and being as prepared as you possibly can, you'll almost certainly be on the right track.
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