In some ways job interviews during the pandemic are the same, but in some ways, they are different than those you’ve had in the past. Hopefully, you’ve mastered virtual interviewing techniques to ace your interview and you’ve also prepared (and practiced) your answers to the most common questions. Now you need to prepare for interview questions related to the global health crisis.
Hiring managers are looking for people who have taken command of the situation and demonstrate the ability to be flexible, calm, and motivated in the middle of this crisis. Be prepared to answer these 3 questions every recruiter and hiring manager will be asking.
How have you been spending your time?
Recruiters are aware that many people have seen their workloads reduced, if not eliminated, during the pandemic for various reasons. It’s important to demonstrate that regardless of your employment situation or additional demands such as home-schooling and caretaking, you’ve been busy and proactive dealing with the pandemic’s impact on your career.
This type of question is a great opportunity to mention online classes you’ve been taking or remote volunteer work you’ve been doing to keep your talents sharp.
Explore digital volunteering opportunities with organizations like the Smithsonian, Project Gutenberg, or Zooniverse where you can take part in cutting edge research in many fields across the sciences, humanities, and more. Connect with non-profits through www.volunteermatch.org to extend your expertise to organizations that need assistance with marketing, finance, and operations.
How have you handled stress associated with the pandemic crisis?
Recruiters are always interested in knowing how candidates adapt, manage stress, and stay motivated throughout their careers. Today it’s more critical than ever. They’re looking to see how a prospective employee will use communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills to navigate challenges and achieve company goals.
Indicate that you’ve kept your emotions in check and responded to the current situation with a thoughtful and structured approach. Explain that you have a dedicated workspace and how you’ve leveraged technology to communicate remotely with your team and leadership.
If you’re not currently employed, explain how you’ve assessed the viability of the career you were in and determined it was time for a change. Mention the self-assessment tests you’ve taken to help guide your decision-making process.
Describe how you’ve invested time in developing your professional network by joining LinkedIn Groups to meet professionals in your industry, share insights and experiences, and ask for guidance.
What have you learned about yourself during the pandemic?
In addition to asking the familiar “Tell me about yourself” question, hiring managers are now following up with a question to find out what you learned about yourself during the pandemic. Your answer reflects your resilience, attitude, and self-awareness in times of uncertainty.
It also reveals your level of Emotional Intelligence (EI) which is important to recruiters. Employees need to possess EI to collaborate successfully and respond creatively to change.
Explain how you stay connected to the outside world through technology without feeling overwhelmed. Describe how journaling, meditation and breathing are helping you remain calm and focused. Illustrate how empathizing with others and providing support help you feel more in control. Check out these additional ways you can boost your emotional intelligence during the pandemic.
Preparing yourself for these three questions will set you apart from other job seekers. And if you nail these three questions, you’ll be sure to ace the interview and land the job.