Everything Has Changed, Including Job Interview Questions

8.6.2020 | Just six months ago, it would have been very odd for a candidate to ask, “If I’m required to go into the office, how far will I sit from my nearest co-worker?”

However, the pandemic has transformed oddities into commonalities and nothing is immune, including job interview questions.

Candidates now have different priorities and employers do too, so both parties are revising and reordering their must-ask questions.

Candidates Want Safety & Stability

Many candidates are worried about taking a job that may compromise their health. They want to know what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and what you plan to do to address the spread of coronavirus. They are also likely to use your responses to draw conclusions about the company’s culture and its attitude towards employees.

If you aren’t already, be prepared to answer the following questions. Moreover, listen to your answers from a candidate perspective or, better yet, read them to an objective peer to get their impression.

Safety Questions

  • Are employees working remotely? Will I work remotely? If so, for how long?
  • If/when returning to the office, what safety procedures will be in place?
  • What happens if I get COVID-19 or need to be quarantined? (Candidates may also ask how soon health benefits kick in and if they will be paid during quarantine.)
  • What’s the protocol if a co-worker tests positive for COVID-19?

With the sharp increase in layoffs and furloughs, job stability is a larger factor than ever. Some job seekers may be out of work, some may be looking for a role that is more stable than their current position.

Stability Questions

  • Have you had to lay off or furlough employees during the pandemic?
  • What impact has COVID-19 had on your business?
  • Have you changed your business plan in response to COVID-19?
  • What is the current forecast for your business within the next six months to a year?

Employers Want Insight & Reassurance

While employers must be sensitive to how candidates and their loved ones may have been affected by the pandemic, they may also gain insight as to how individuals managed this unparalleled situation. Additionally, if the potential employee will work remotely, employers need to be assured that the candidate is suited for virtual work.

  • If you had extra downtime during these past months, due to a lighter workload or not commuting, how did you spend this time?
  • If you were employed during the pandemic, how did you adapt your job responsibilities to add value to your organization?
  • If you’re working from home, what do you do to ensure productivity and team communication?
  • What kind of experience do you have with virtual meeting platforms and/or cloud-based collaboration tools, i.e. Zoom, Google Docs, Smartsheet, etc.?

The pandemic may have re-scripted the questions, but the goal of the job interview remains the same – ensure the candidate is a good fit for now and in the foreseeable future.

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