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Mariah's avatar

Tips on staying classy while interviewing despite having a cold?

Asked by Mariah (19395 points ) October 2nd, 2012

I have a cold, and I have an interview tomorrow. I’m not feeling horrible today, but as the cold has only just set in, I’d say all bets are off as far as how I’ll feel tomorrow.

I definitely don’t think wiping my nose every two seconds would make the right impression. If my nose is runny tomorrow, how do I deal with that? Handkerchief? Enormous supply of Kleenex?

And no hand-shaking, I presume. Any other tips?

Thanks.

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21 Answers

Shippy's avatar

I think tissues are better, just explain you do have a cold, and “dab” now and then if required. A good nose blow before hand might help! Good luck!

Coloma's avatar

Haha, well…don’t cough and blow and hack in their faces, and, ideally, if you are THAT sick, don’t go at all. Just shaking their hand will contaminate them.
Quite frankly I really get irritated when sick people expose me to their germs, come to work sick, bring their sick kids around me, because they refuse to quarantine themselves for a few days.
I don’t believe in sick people going around as usual, stay home and get well.

JLeslie's avatar

Can you call and ask to postpone? Or, offer them the choice whether to postpone it? If I was going to interview you I would be happy you warned me and I would move you to a future date. I don’t want to get sick!

Jeruba's avatar

Of course it would be best not to inaugurate your possible future career with this employer by infecting everybody on first meeting. But I can see why you wouldn’t want to cancel.

In your place I would definitely dose myself up with whatever my favorite remedy is for suppressing symptoms without causing drowsiness. Try to take the meds at the optimal length of time before the interview (as guided by experience; I would say maybe an hour) to sustain the strongest effect while you’re actually on the premises.

I’d also do a really good head-clearing in the restroom just beforehand.

Try to seat yourself at as great a distance as you reasonably can, and preferably at an angle, not facing straight across. You can say “I seem to be coming down with a bit of a cold, so I’ll keep my distance.” Definitely no hand-shaking.

And yes, I’d come supplied with tissues and also have a plastic bag or equivalent in an ample purse so I could discreetly stow the used ones and not end up holding them, piling them, or dropping them.

Meanwhile, today I would be doing the whole rest-and-fluids bit, plus vitamin C (I don’t care who says it’s not effective), to try to fend it off as much as possible.

I have found that with concerted effort I can brazen out about three out of four colds that head my way. But it does take jumping on the symptoms right away and treating them with all diligence.

The fourth is usually a doozy.

P.S. If your nose is red, do not wear red or pink. That will really bring out the color of your nose. If you have a nice outfit in please-take-care-of-me blue, wear that.

Mariah's avatar

Yeah I haven’t thought about rescheduling because I’ve been shooting tons of emails back and forth with this guy for a week now trying to plan something around my and his busy schedules. I just feel like I’ve already hassled him enough, and rescheduling would be a huge pain. Does that change your advice at all, or still think I should ask?

Thanks for the tips.

flutherother's avatar

Dress well and avoid sneezing in the direction of the interviewers. They may admire your grit in turning up at all. Why can we go months cold free only for one to turn up at a critical moment?

Jeruba's avatar

Yes, it would be best to reschedule if you can. Bringing spreadable germs into the workplace is frowned on for a good reason. How much more of a pain will it be for him if he is down for a week or two on account of your reluctance to warn him?

CWOTUS's avatar

Unless you’re highly symptomatic right now, such as a continuously running nose; red, watery eyes; a hacking and continuous cough, for example, I would still go to the interview, acknowledge the cold (and avoid shaking hands, with a brief explanation that it’s out of thoughtfulness to the interviewer) and just ignore it and press on.

If you’re highly symptomatic or the thought of being in the interview with the cold causes you undue stress, then cancel it with an explanation, and reschedule if you can.

JLeslie's avatar

I still say leave it up to him. Let him know the situation, say you are perfectly willing to still make the time and date already agreed upon, but wanted to give him/her the option of changing it.

nikipedia's avatar

Take some cold medicine and wash your hands frequently. Bring hot tea and a pocket pack of tissues. Avoid the handshake.

Bellatrix's avatar

I would call and explain you are sick and ask if they would like you to reschedule. Or perhaps they can do a telephone interview? If they don’t want to reschedule or do a phone interview, then take some tissues, avoid physical contact and have some water with you. I find my throat is often dry and scratchy when I have a cold. Good luck with the interview – now or when it happens.

glacial's avatar

Offering to interview by phone or Skype is a good idea. Shows you’re still very keen, but don’t want to infect the workplace. But don’t push it; if they show reluctance, then accept that right away.

I’ve interviewed a lot of people for jobs; my choice would be to have you come in. The risk of infection is low if we’re not in contact (so, agreed on the no handshaking), and it’s inconvenient to have to reschedule. Everyone gets sick from time to time; it’s going to happen with some interviewees.

JLeslie's avatar

My husband has offered skype in the past, that’s a good suggestion @glacial. It’s good if there is likely to be follow up interviews anyway. If it is a one shot deal though, where they tend to hire on the spot, then that probably won’t work.

If you do decide to go to the interview as scheduled. Afrin your nose and take a decongestant, except remember some decongestants can cause drowsiness. And, take ibupofen if you are able too. Ibuprofen is like a magic drug I swear. it will help you feel better, unless of course you have some sort of adverse reaction to ibuprofen typically. Remember to eat a little with it and plenty of water to protect your tummy.

Jeruba's avatar

@Mariah, be sure to come back and tell us what you did—and how it went. Belated good-luck wishes.

Mariah's avatar

Wellll I didn’t end up sending an email about it, kinda selfish but I just wasn’t feeling too bad and I wanted to get the interview over with. I woke up feeling even better and the interview went pretty well. No runny nose issues.

Bellatrix's avatar

Not selfish. If you felt fine and didn’t go sneezing and snuffling all over them, all good. Hope you get the job!

Mariah's avatar

I got the job!

flutherother's avatar

Congratulations Mariah! I am pleased for you. Well done.

Jeruba's avatar

Oh, excellent! Congratulations, @Mariah, well done. When do you start? I hope you’ll have chased the cold away by then.

Mariah's avatar

Oh, it’s a summer internship. The cold had better be gone by then!

Thanks for the congrats, all!

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