Interviews In Post COVID Times

Interviews In Uncertain Times

Companies will begin interviewing applicants soon. But what can you expect and how can you succeed in interviews after COVID?

As we emerge from the unprecedented period of uncertainty, we are being told by the government to start living a “New Normal” life. Yes, social distancing remains, queues at the supermarkets will still be an issue with possible food shortages.

The way we work will also change with staggered start times, working “bubbles” and longer working weeks. This will in turn have a massive impact on the recruitment industry and how companies will approach the interview process.

The UK job market has always been competitive. Post COVID this competitiveness will surely only increase especially in the industries that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. People need to consider their approach to a job move carefully.

If you have a job that meets your current needs then the decision surely must be to remain with your employer for a further 18 month period before reconsidering. Let the market settle.

If, however, you are among the unlucky ones to have been laid off by your employer then a strategy needs to be implemented to ensure success.

What Will Employers Be Looking For In Candidates Post COVID?

With the economy in a precarious state, employers will, as always, be searching for people with a solid skill base and that add value to their organisation. But I don’t think this will be enough.

I firmly believe that employers will be selecting candidates that can also demonstrate 3 extra factors:

  • Flexibility
  • Awareness
  • Ability For Remote Working 

Awareness: Government’s across the world continue to emphasise, as communities emerge from self-isolation, how essential it is for individual’s to remain aware of the virus and its abilities to multiply extremely quickly. Its therefore necessary for employers to select people who have an awareness of how to operate within a business safely, ensuring that the virus isn’t spread through the company, forcing it to close whilst employees isolate.

Live Online Mock Interview should be arranged after an interview coaching session

Flexibility: To stand any chance of securing a role, individuals have to demonstrate their flexibility towards their work. There is no point attending an interview and expecting a work schedule that resembles the “Old Normal”. Businesses just won’t be able to operate the 9-5 Monday-Friday if they are to meet social distancing guidelines. Individuals must clearly highlight that they are willing to be flexible in their hours, shifts and days worked in order to allow the business to operate smoothly

Remote working: Can you work from home? Do you have an area at home that can become an office? If you do tell the interviewer, should the second wave of COVID arise, you can continue to operate from home. None of us want this to happen, however businesses will continue to develop contingency plans should the need arise. Emphasising your ability to work remotely, could provide you with the competitive edge needed to beat the other interviewees to the job offer.

Which interview will be most used post COVID, Face to face or virtual interviews

What will interviews look like post Covid?

Video Interviews

We expect that the majority of interviews organised to take place virtually, using services such as Zoom, Skype, Teams, Face time etc. This will prevent the need for individuals to undertake un-necessary travel and allow the interviewing company to meet social distancing guidelines.

Here are our top 5 tips for virtual online interviews:

  • Prior to the interview select an area at home to hold the video call.
    • Make sure that the background is suitably professional
    • Select an area of the house you won’t be disturbed
    • Ensure that you have good internet connection, especially if you are working off a mobile connection
  • Dress to impress. Even if you are sitting in your front room dress as you would for a face to face interview, not your loungewear!
  • Maintain eye contact with the camera when talking, this will give the impression to the interviewer that you are maintaining eye contact with them. If you look at the screen, especially on a laptop, it appears that you are looking down slightly.
  • It doesn’t matter that you are being virtually interviewed, the normal rules apply with interview etiquette. When you begin the interview remember to smile!
  • If you are being interviewed by a panel via conference video meeting, then a polite nod to each interviewer as they are introduced is a suitable replacement for a handshake.

Face To Face Interviews

Some companies will still prefer to meet people in a face to face interview. Protocol for these will depend on the environment in which the meeting will be held. Therefore, you must remain open to all possibilities but ensure that the social distance is always maintained. You may be offered a mask, gel to wash your hands. Go with the flow, you are demonstrating your flexible approach to a difficult situation.

Top tips for face to face interviews after COVID

  • If the interviewer doesn’t offer you hand gel, ask to use the bathroom so that you can wash your hands. This demonstrates your awareness for personal hygiene during these times.
  • Remember not to shake hands. Yes, it will feel awkward but remember this is the “New Normal” and your interviewer will naturally feel the same. A small nod of the head will suffice as a sign of recognition.
  • If the interview room hasn’t already been arranged prior to the interview, select a chair that is a suitable distance from the interviewer to observe Social Distance, but not one that is on the other side of the room!

I hope that the above provides you with some ideas of what to expect in any upcoming interviews. Whatever your situation I hope that you are successful in progressing your career during these difficult times whilst keeping yourself and families safe.

About the Author of Interviews in Post COVID Times

Matt Wallace – CV Writer/Interview Coach

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