Coronavirus also known as Covid19 is spreading faster in the US than anyone anticipated – and it’s having an impact on job search.

As of today (3/11/2020), LinkedIn is reporting that hiring in the US is going on pretty much as usual BUT many companies in large urban areas are switching from in-person to video interviews. Comments from readers indicate that this practice is becoming widespread. Some readers, however, are reporting that companies are putting hiring on hold until they see what unfolds. It also appears, though, that there will be job opportunities at companies that offer virtual solutions to business problems, e.g. mobile crowd engagement and virtual gaming, and companies that are responding to coronavirus – pharma, makers of sanitizing products.

The bottom line? Keep on looking for jobs, take proper care of yourself (wash those hands for 20 seconds, often!) and be ready to put your best self forward during a virtual interview.

Tips for video, Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts interviews:

1) set up and test your computer’s video and audio the day before the interview so you can fix any problems. Also test every application to make sure you know how to open it and that your sound and visuals work well in it. If you’re using your cellphone or pad, download the app.

2) present a professional image. Place your computer or laptop in a space where the recruiter or employer will see a clean, uncluttered background, and will see mostly your head and shoulders.

3) look at the camera when speaking so you are “making eye contact” with the person asking questions – you can look at their faces when they are speaking.

4) practice a video interview with a friend, and listen to their suggestions for improving your performance. It’s really important to practice if you’re using your cellphone or pad because you will either have to prop it up or hold it for the length of the interview – get the angle right so you are facing the camera. Please make sure the camera is not looking up your nose!

5) make sure you have a quiet space and that there will be no interruptions during the interview. Shut off your phone unless you’re using it for the interview.

Remember that a virtual interview is exactly the same as an in-person interview – it’s a conversation with a person or people with whom you might want to work. They want to find out more about you and you want to find out more about them. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll be.

And remember to virtually shake hands – no hand washing needed afterward!

Last thing: send a thank you email to everyone you interviewed with, emphasizing how much more interested you now are in the position after learning more and meeting them, and citing at least one example of how your past work meets their current and projected need. Always say thank you, and always take the opportunity to (enthusiastically) market yourself as the right person for the job .