5 advantages of doing an internship or job interview face-to-face
It's stressful, but there are more benefits to meeting a potential employer in person than online.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made having a job interview physically almost impossible to imagine.
After two years of doing almost everything online, just suggesting that interviews should be done face-to-face can spark off fierce debate, even though we are moving on from the pandemic.
It’s understandable. Doing an interview can be convenient, especially considering that one might not need to leave the comfort of the house to make the journey for something that may wrap up within 30 minutes.
But showing up in the flesh for an interview is not without its advantages, especially for applicants.
Here are five reasons why you might want to elect for a face-to-face interview, should you get the option.
1. Getting a glimpse of your potential office and colleagues
As much as an interview is useful for employers to suss out candidates, it is also an opportunity for applicants to figure out if the company is one they would want to work for.
Beyond meeting your future supervisors, heading down to an office for an interview lets you get a glimpse of what the workplace environment is like.
The office layout, dress code or interaction between staff are all useful clues that could help you decide if this company is one that you can fit into, or even thrive at.
Making your way down to the office also lets you explore your transport options and appreciate exactly how long your daily commute is going to be. You can even get a sense of how much your lunch breaks are going to cost based on the food options available nearby.
2. Undivided attention on you
After over two years of online meetings and lessons, we’ve all come to master the art of looking engaged on our webcams, whether we are paying attention or not.
One of the drawbacks of online interviews is that you can never be certain your interviewer is totally focused on you and not something else on their monitors.
Even if they are trying to pay attention to you, there really is nothing stopping random work notifications from appearing on their screen and stealing your thunder without you even noticing.
While nothing is stopping an interviewer from looking at their devices in a face-to-face interview either, it’s much more challenging for them to do so without looking impolite. For that reason, in-person interviews allow you the opportunity to better command your panel’s attention.
3. No distracting connectivity issues
Few things are more disruptive than having to ask your interviewers to repeat themselves because of issues with your internet connectivity or devices.
As an interviewer myself, I sat through one particularly disruptive interview where an applicant was using her school’s Wi-Fi that seemed to be doing everything to sabotage her interview. The lags she suffered caused her screen to freeze repeatedly, eventually leading to a disconnection.
It was so hard to continue the conversation we had to reschedule the interview as a physical one.
Interviews are already stressful in themselves. A physical interview will allow you to avoid the additional variables to worry about.
4. Making full use of body language
There’s more to communication than just words and facial expressions, especially when you’re not confined to talking with a floating head on a computer screen.
When speaking to someone in person, you have full access to all the nuances of body language to express yourself. From hand gestures to sitting posture, it’s much easier to convey what you are trying to say to your interviewer.
While some may worry that it is difficult to hide negative emotions like nervousness in person, the same is true for positive emotions like enthusiasm that will be on full display for your interviewer.
5. More opportunities to make an impression
An online interview begins once the Zoom room opens, but a physical interview could begin the moment you step through the door of the company.
Every person you interact with in the office, from the person who lets you in,to the person who later sees you out could well have a say in your hiring. It is also an additional opportunity for you to impress.
Be on your best professional behaviour with everyone you meet at the office and you might just find yourself ahead of the competition for the role.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so if you ever get to choose between in-person or online interviews, be sure to seize the option that lets you leave the strongest mark on your potential employers.