The world of work is spinning on a new axis since the Coronavirus took center stage.
The Coronavirus has added a new aspect of work to be discussed and understood before accepting a job offer.
Conventional advice surrounding interviewing has always included the need to prepare for questions an interviewer is likely to pose, as well as those you are eager to ask.
But do not assume you can just simply dust off those questions used in the past.
The pandemic has generated new questions headed your way. And, of course, you will have new questions of your own to ask.
The more traditional job interview questions will remain in the mix, and new pandemic-related questions will be added. Also, spend time reviewing these top 50 job interview questions to ask the employer plus new pandemic-related questions for you to ask employers.
As a result of the changes caused by the pandemic, employers have adapted in very different ways. Many employers have temporarily changed the workplace and the employee's need to be present in the workplace.
Some employers have permanently converted many jobs to 100% "remote" (a.k.a., "work from home") jobs when face-to-face interaction with customers/clients or fellow employees is not required like healthcare and food-service workers.
Other jobs are remote for part of the work week or transition from remote to in-person, depending on the work or location positivity rate.
Certainly, remote jobs are becoming more accepted and that trend is likely to continue:
Assume that companies are phasing in their return-to work plans and will rely on remote workers for the next several months, lasting through 2021 or even into 2022. Some jobs clearly have the potential to permanently transition to home offices.
Do the traditional homework needed and gather intelligence from a variety of sources: colleagues, employees, and LinkedIn connections. Pay special attention to the employer’s Twitter feed to see how they are communicating with stakeholders about their response to pandemic issues.
Because of the pandemic, this additional preparation is smart today:
The interview process varies widely from employer to employer and even job to job. Some organizations have a formal selection processwith very methodical steps while others are much less structured.
The opening few minutes of an interview may be spent with an informal "getting to know you" conversation. Show empathy for the interviewer’s situation by acknowledging the pandemic.
You might say, "Thank you for taking the time to meet with me. I’m sure you’re facing all sorts of challenges, and I really appreciate the opportunity to share my background. I hope you and your family are safe during these trying times."
Avoid making any political comments.
Hiring managers may reserve 10 to 15 minutes at the end of the interview for your questions. Many job seekers strive to move the interview into more of a conversation, asking their questions throughout the discussion rather than at the end.
Regardless of the timing, have your questions written down, and be respectful of the time limit.
The biggest mistake candidates make is missing an opportunity to keep the door open after the interview. Typically, a thank-you email is sent, and then the long, agonizing wait to hear back from the hiring manager begins.
The most critical time for decision-making occurs after the final round of interviews, so why go silent now? Show the interviewer you are a problem solver, listened to their needs, and are willing to find creative ways to be a stand-out candidate.
High unemployment and increased competition call for a more proactive approach in your follow-up to stand out from the other candidates, demonstrating your interest in the opportunity as well as showcasing the quality of your work.
In addition to sending your thank-you notes/emails, follow these easy steps to move to the front of the line:
At the close of the interview, ask the interviewer if you may call should you have any additional questions (and you will have questions). Ask for the best time to call and the best phone number to use.
Immediately after the interview, jot down your notes. Identify 2 to 3 areas where you could add value and prepare examples of what you have already done or would propose to do in the future.
Wait at least 3 to 4 days for your follow-up call. Remember, you will not be viewed as the dreaded "stalker" because you already got permission to call the interviewer.
Use the follow-up call to continue the discussion:
Consider: Here’s an example of a follow-up call: You answered "No" when asked, "Have you ever worked from home?"
After the interview, you realize that you failed to mention that while working in an office, you did operate remotely by managing a distributed team of workers. In that capacity, you held weekly video conferences, reduced travel expenses more effectively using technology, and maintained collaboration within the group.
This example is a MUCH better answer, and you can share that experience in the follow-up phone call.
#WereAllInThisTogether is a hashtag seen in virtually every corner of social media. It serves as a powerful reminder of the universal solidarity needed to conquer this pandemic. Show your future employer that same willingness to partner with them in creating fresh solutions to emerging challenges.
Barbara Schultz is an HR executive, career coach, writer, and co-author of Adulting Made Easy(er): Navigating from Campus to Career. Barbara has held senior HR leadership roles in entrepreneurial settings and gives a unique perspective to job seekers from a life spent on the "other side of the desk." She is also the owner of CareerStager.com, helping people successfully navigate their careers. Follow Barbara on LinkedIn.
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