Mask Wearing at Interview

Mask wearing has become commonplace post Covid-19 lockdown in Ireland

As of this week, it is now mandatory for everyone entering shops to wear a mask.  We have come through a particularly challenging few months since the first Covid-19 confirmed case in Ireland earlier this year.

We have had a particularly challenging few months

The Irish Government is still advising those who can work from home to continue to do so for the moment.  A lot of organisations have commenced the re-introduction of their employees back into the work place.  Demand still exists in a lot of industries and these employees are needed in order to satisfy this demand.  There is a state of flux as employees get used to returning to the work place.

However, the return is to a “new normal”

The “new normal” may include temperature checks, signing in to confirm no Covid-19 symptoms exist and the use of face masks.  One size doesn’t fit all.  Each company and every sector has requirements unique to its own specific type of work involved.

Hiring has continued throughout the lockdown period.  With hiring, comes interviews – some virtual and some face to face (at a social distance) – and with face to face interviews, mask wearing becomes essential.

Interview Tips When Mask Wearing

Practice Mask Wearing Before the Interview

Most people will have worn a mask for brief periods whilst in a shop or perhaps getting their hair done.  Brief mask wearing is quite different to wearing a mask for an extended period of time.  Mask wearing whilst continuing a detailed conversation is another skill altogether.  Make sure to practice mask wearing for extended periods of time.  Hold conversations with others while you are still wearing the mask.  This is vital so that you can ensure you are speaking distinctly enough for the recipient to hear you clearly.

Annunciate and Pronounce Words Distinctly

Mask wearing can slightly muffle your words.  This will depend on the thickness of fabric in your mask and will be something you can assess in your pre-interview practicing.  When words are slightly muffled, words sounds less distinct.  Record yourself speaking whilst wearing your mask and listen back.  Again, this is something to do during your interview preparation and not something you realise during the interview!

Focus on Slow and Calm Breathing

Interviews are daunting and formal.  Few people enjoy interviews.  Interviews can induce panic in people as they try their best to present themselves.  This can result in nerves, sweating or stuttering.  Mask wearing can exacerbate these events but you can overcome this by wearing your mask for extended periods of time in a warm room to mimic what the interview effects might be like.  Over preparation will ensure that nothing will phase you, not even mask wearing!

Facial Expressions are not Clearly Visible

Body language and facial expressions are useful to notice during an interview.  Whilst you will clearly see the person’s eyes during an interview, mask wearing will cover the person’s mouth and nose.  Smiles will not be seen.  This can be off putting to a nervous interviewee.  Equally, the interviewer will not see you react with facial expressions.  Ensure that you use more verbal communication to counteract this.  Ask the interviewer if they would like more information after answering a question to ensure there is no confusion and no opportunity lost to present yourself accurately.

The main thing to remember is that the interviewer won’t be used to mask wearing either.  This is a new phenomenon for us all.  The interviewer merely wants to ascertain who the best person is for the job.  Follow these tips and your interview will go well.  If you would like further advice, feel free to contact us.