Believe It or Not, COVID Hasn't Changed This Interview Etiquette Rule

Woman preparing for interview


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Courtney Dercqu156
Current Social Media Manager/Former Recruiter
April 16, 2024 at 10:27AM UTC

In a world where virtual employment reigns supreme, many applicants have gotten used to emailing their resumes to potential employers. As businesses start to roll back restrictions, one common question among applicants is whether or not they should bring a hard copy of their resume to their in-person interview. Just take a look at this question posed to the Fairygodboss Community.

The short answer, according to other Fairygodboss Community members, is yes. You should still bring a paper resume to interviews.

One talent acquisition professional, who is personally only doing online interviews, said they would still bring hard copies of your resume to an in-person interview. 

"I personally still would bring paper copies of my resume. Pre/post covid, I just like to be prepared. It gives me a boost of security as well," they wrote.

"I think you should still bring it with you and just offer it as an option, reminding them that they already have the electronic copy," another FGB community member said. "Paper is not a likely vector to transfer COVID; I don't think that will be their main concern."

Derek Loosvelt, a senior finance editor at Vault, agrees. Loosvelt recommends checking in with your interviewer beforehand to find out if they have any COVID-related restrictions or preferences. However, if you don’t get an answer back in time or forget to ask, you should err on the side of caution and bring a paper resume with you anyway. Doing so has several benefits. 

Benefits of bringing a resume to your interview

The bottom line is that you can’t always guarantee that your recruiter has a copy of your resume handy. There were so many times when I worked as a recruiter that I had to ask an applicant for their resume upon arrival and watch them get super embarrassed because they thought I already had it. While many of them did send me their copy after the interview wrapped up, the realization that I didn’t have it often made applicants uncomfortable and nervous — two things that can negatively impact your interviewing skills. 

This is one of the biggest benefits of bringing a resume with you. If the recruiter doesn’t have it, you can provide them with a copy that explores your experience in greater detail. This also helps refresh the recruiter as to why they brought you in in the first place. Recruiters sift through a ton of applications, so your resume can help you stand out from the crowd. 

Second, bringing a copy of your resume shows that you took the time to get prepared. This is why it’s recommended to bring several copies of your resume in case two or more people sit in on your interview. Jessica Kleiman, the Chief Communications Officer of New York Women in Communications, echoes this sentiment and says, “you should always bring two to three copies of your resume so the person you’re meeting can have it in front of them throughout your conversation.” 

How to prepare for an interview during COVID-19

According to WebMD, COVID variants can live on the surfaces of paper for up to five days. If you have an interview coming up, it’s recommended that you put your resume in a sheet protector, just in case. 

When it comes to COVID-19 precautions, the bottom line is that they will vary depending on the employer. Failing to consider this can make or break your interview and ability to secure employment. Bring a mask and hand sanitizer with you, and always ask your interviewer about their comfort levels regarding shaking hands, removing masks, and exchanging papers. 

Other tips to nail your interview

Like bringing along a paper resumes, you need to adhere to other etiquette rules during your interview to boost your chances of success. Here are some helpful tips to help you nail your interview:

  • Give the recruiter eye contact

  • Think about your responses BEFORE you answer a question

  • Dress appropriately (this applies to wearing your mask when asked, too!)

  • Prepare and ask open-ended questions, such as “How do you think my experience would benefit this role?”

  • Avoid speaking negatively about your previous employer

  • Give details, but don’t overindulge

  • Do your research on the company beforehand — what you like about their mission statement, products, etc. 

While many things have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, interview etiquette has not. If anything, employers are placing more emphasis on preparedness and communication due to the remote or hybrid environment. With these tips, you’ll be on your way to securing employment in no time!

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