How to get an interview during quarantine

We’ve all been there. We’ve sat down at our desks or our kitchen tables and waited for the phone to ring. Shook our leg and answered the phone with an equally wobbly voice. Phone interviews can be daunting, but there’s always been a safety net. We’ve always had the opportunity to redeem ourselves in the in-person interview. A true meeting. A handshake, a smile, a grasp for who you are as an individual. So what happens when that chance isn’t present anymore? Let’s talk about some things to keep in mind while interviewing for jobs in quarantine.

First, understand that these are unprecedented times for interviewers as well. This is uncharted territory for many businesses. It’s important to keep in mind the novelty of this situation for all parties. Approach your interviews with empathy. The landscape of hiring has changed. There will be adjusting to do in the workforce. Show employers you will be patient and support them as they figure that out. Acknowledge that you understand the situation and are eager to help the business in any way you can – especially the way you’ve spent four years learning and perfecting. Andrew Kohl, senior assistant director of the career center at K-State, encourages students to provide some certainty in the midst of COVID-19 chaos.

“Do your best to assure the employer that although everything else may be hectic right now, you will be able to persevere, remain flexible, and utilize your tech skills to get the job or tasks done,” Kohl said.

Virtual interviews are not new to many people. Interviewees from other states and countries use video chatting platforms to interview across oceans and countries. These interviews require the same amount of professionalism and preparation as a face to face interaction would, so show up. Dress the part. Wear your power-suit. Something you feel unstoppable in. Put on your favorite perfume. Be confident. This will put you in a proper mindset to show employers you are taking this seriously. Designate a quiet, calm place with minimal distractions to do the interview. Let your roommates know you are interviewing and need a window of space in the common area. Pick a place you won’t be tempted to look at things besides the screen and try to limit fidgeting. You can do this. 

In preparation for the interview, make sure you and your technology are on the same page. Be prepared to share your screen for your resume or portfolio. Silence your alerts and close applications that may have pop-ups. Set up your workstation well ahead of your interview so you can get comfortable with the layout. Be ready to go 30 minutes before the start of the interview to revise questions you have for the employers, organize your documents, and test the audio and video components of your conferencing service.

You don’t have to do this all on your own. The career center has various resources to help you gain your footing and rock these internships. They have virtual drop in or scheduled appointments with advisors to get you headed in the right direction. Advisors are experts in their colleges, so connect with yours to get information about the field and how to move forward. Life as we knew it has changed but we won’t let that discourage us. We will get through this. Keep your head up and ask for help if you need it. Be confident in yourself, you have worked for this. Your perseverance, tenacity and hard work will show when you implement your skills along with the tips above. Go conquer.

Check out these resources to help you nail your next interview during quarantine!

  1. Individualized appointments with career advisors:
  2. Resume critiques (no appointment required Mon-Thu 12-4 p.m.) :
  3. Answer interview questions and go over them with field professionals:


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