Since the lockdown was enforced across the UK, following the Coronavirus pandemic, recruiters have already transformed how they carry out interviews, with many opting for video interviews instead of traditional face-to-face interviews to shortlist candidates. As the economy regains momentum with more sectors returning to work, we anticipate that interviews will continue to evolve with hiring managers introducing ‘coronavirus-related questions’ to explore candidate’s personal experience during the health crisis.
Below are some suggestions, for what we think you should prepare for:
What did you do during the Coronavirus lockdown?
Interviewers often ask candidates about their hobbies and interests during an interview. We expect that in addition they may also ask what prospective employees did during the lockdown period.
Use this as an opportunity to highlight how you proactively developed your skills. For example, if you began learning a new language that improved your communication skills; maybe you did an online customer service course or learnt about coding. This will demonstrate to the employer that you utilised your time off to focus on your continuous professional development, to improve your skills and abilities.
If you started volunteering, helping elderly or vulnerable neighbours, use this opportunity to describe how you helped and the positive outcome. Highlight how you used your initiative to complete tasks and what you coordinated within your community to help others. This will show employers that you can adapt to new environments, work under pressure and demonstrate resilience and compassion towards others.
Are you able to do this job from home?
Working from home has become an increasing trend even before the lockdown, with 40% of individuals in the UK working from home during the lockdown.
Even though, many sectors of the labour market will begin a slow transition back into the workplace where necessary, some organisations may choose to allow employees to continue working from home, where this is possible. We foresee that as office environments downsize, more employees will be working from home and therefore employers will be eager to find out whether future employees can adapt to this.
If a job description entails “remote working”, we highly recommend that you are prepared to answer how you can adapt to working from home. Reassure the employer on resources that will enable you to carry out your duties including a dedicated office space, high-speed internet or a separate phone line. Also, emphasise your ability to use technology that enables you to successfully work from home including Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Docs and Trello boards. This will demonstrate to employers that you possess the practical resources as well as the communication and organisational tools to effectively carry out your job.
If you could re-live the lockdown period, what would you do differently?
Employers are always keen to see how you self-reflect and evaluate your behaviours and more importantly how you use this information to continuously evolve and improve your skillset. Exploring what you would change about any situation is a typical example of a competency-based interview question. Whilst answering this, it is vital that you identify what you would do differently, showing that you are open to change and forward-thinking along with how this will have a positive effect.
For example, you might decide to discuss that you would invest more time in researching new or upcoming legislation changes in your sector or that you would enrol onto a job-related course to expand on your skills. This will foreground that you are a critical thinker. You can then go on to explain how this will positively attribute to the role you are applying for.