As a member of the Austin Digital Jobs Facebook group, I frequently respond to job seeker questions related to job searches, resumes, interviews, and LinkedIn. Recently, a member asked about wearing a mask to a job interview: “I have an in-person interview next week. It’s with the CEO, CFO, and COO… What are your thoughts on wearing a mask?”
Before I had an opportunity to respond, another member came up with a great response: “I’d find out the protocol from their end. It shows you’re thinking ahead and want to be prepared and safe for everyone. For the face-to-face meetings, expect they’ll want to see your face and vice-versa.”
Take the Opportunity to Be Proactive Before a Job Interview
While this is a thoughtful and proactive approach, I’d also add that you should err on the side of caution and bring a mask with you, just in case. Your health is essential, and other people’s health is just as important. Here is an example of what you could say ahead of the interview:
“Thank you for this opportunity. I’m wondering what your guideline is for wearing a mask to the job interview? I have been wearing a mask when I go out in public and am comfortable with it. I’m wondering if the interview space will be big enough to have that six feet of space so that I can take off the mask when we are interviewing, or would it be appropriate for me to continue to wear the mask throughout the interview?”
Coaching 4 Good Collective Thoughts
Since I realize that there are differing opinions out there and some additional advice, I decided to poll the Coaching 4 Good Collective to get their thoughts.
Amy Wolfgang (Co-Founder of Coaching 4 Good, & Career Coach) and Olga Cohen (Client Relations Manager & Recruiter) both echoed the first member response, that you should ask the recruiter or hiring manager directly but they will likley want to see your face at some point in the interview process.
Diane Dean (Executive Coach, Career & Academic Coach) said, “I would say yes [to wearing a mask] to be cautious. If you get there and are interviewing at social distances, you can take it off. Be prepared to be in step with the interviewer. Or perhaps ask, “do you require masks?”
Next, Maria Fernandez (Career Coach) responded by saying, “My suggestion is for candidates to research the company to better understand how the company is adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Maria went a step further and suggested possibly stopping by the company or campus ahead of the interview. “If it is open and there is a receptionist or greeter, that is a good person to ask about what the current policy or recommendation is. If no one is wearing a mask and safety and health are important to the candidate, is this a place s(he) wants to work? Or can she overlook this for the interview based on comfort level?”
Catherine Jewell (Career Transition Coach) offered the following advice, “Wearing a mask for any in-person encounter is a courtesy. It actually says, ‘I understand the situation, and I’m willing to protect you and my coworkers.’ The mask protects the wearer, to a mild extent, but mostly it protects those around him or her. Anyone working on-site would be asked to wear a mask, so wearing one to an in-person interview just makes sense.”
Samantha Watson, Diversity & Leadership Coach, stated, “I would say wear a mask, but send a note letting the recruiter know. I personally wouldn’t want to go to a job interview unless we were all in masks, and some precautions were taken. I’d rather forfeit the job than risk it at this point.”
As you can see, the Coaching 4 Good Collective is all on the same page: our core message is to be safe and responsible. The best option is for you to ask the hiring manager or recruiter about his or her recommended mask-wearing etiquette. See it as an opportunity to increase your personal communication and preparedness, which likely won’t go unnoticed.
Scott Kukowski provides career coaching services through Coaching 4 Good. Scott is a member of the Coaching 4 Good Collective and provides clients with the expertise and tools to showcase your career brand including Resume Services, LinkedIn Training, Job Interview Training, and Career Identification.