Sebastian JeanPaul Rindé contributor 

Marketing Manager at Fabric Staffing

Sebastian (a.k.a. Seb) is the current contributor and author for Fabric Staffing’s blog. Seb is an experienced marketing professional and USMC vet. 

Interviewing During a Pandemic

May 8, 2020

Companies throughout the U.S. are expanding their telecommute teams during this time of COVID 19. Yes, the global pandemic has changed “what companies are looking for” in candidates and this creates multiple opportunities for job seekers ready to make a change. Question is: Are you ready for the new string of interview questions recruiters and hiring managers are now asking candidates?

We get it. The world changed over the past few months.  In addition to knowing what skills candidates have, employers want to know how candidates have adapted and overcome challenges in our brave new world.

Get ready. They are going to ask you more than the standard interview questions. Employers are eager to learn about your personal and professional developments related to the recent outbreak. How have you adapted to working in isolation? What innovative solutions have you personally and professionally reached/achieved? 

Recruiters and hiring managers are eager to learn what candidates have achieved and learned about themselves. Employers want to understand how flexible and efficient candidates are at adapting to unexpected changes – and the challenges they overcame. Did they invent any new solutions?

Fabric knows recruiting. We know what employers need. We know what candidates need. We want all of our clients to thrive and achieve great things. So, we put together a list of trending interview questions so you’re ready when opportunity calls. 

Personal and Professional Development Questions

How did the candidate spend their time during the pandemic?

This is one of the most frequently asked questions. It opens the conversation, reveals the candidate’s approach to work, and demonstrates how much growth a candidate achieved within a few short months. The question explores each candidate’s level of self-motivation. Do they have the ability to get things done without constant management influence? Is the candidate goal oriented? Are they driven by personal and/or professional accomplishments? And finally, how does a candidate structure their time? Do they manage their time efficiently and productively? 

Recruiters and managers are looking for tangible examples about how a candidate continued to grow within their specific industry. Here’s a few questions to consider before your interview: Did the candidate learn any new skills during the stay-at-home period? What kind of online courses or languages did they begin, complete, and/or consider? How does the candidate handle stress? Did the candidate develop or initiate a personal project?

Every interviewer has their own style. They want to know about your skills. They also want to know more about the individual in front of them. Take a moment and consider: the interviewer wants to know who you are. Tell them – and show them all the qualities that make you, YOU!

Adaptability

Learning how a candidate managed and adapted during a crisis allows employers to assess a candidate’s emotional intelligence. Does fear motivate a candidate or cripple them? A lot of change happened to our current economy and more is coming. Not just to the U.S., but to the entire world. Employers want to understand how flexible and efficient candidates are at adapting to unanticipated changes.

What is the candidate’s work-from-home set up?

Hiring managers and recruiters don’t want to pry too much into a candidate’s daily lifestyle. But they are looking to understand if a candidate is prepared to work from home.  How resourceful are they? This question also sheds light on what ‘distractions’ they may experience, if any, that might routinely interfere with their productivity. Does the candidate have any special accommodations that need to be met? 

Are you willing to work in the office when the time comes?

Employers understand the value and flexibility of people working from home. But they also expect their teams to be in the office when the time comes. Will you be ready? During the interview process, it is best to discuss the company’s future expectations regarding work-from-home policies. That way, there are no surprises after you make a career change.

Innovation

The world will always continue to change. Market trends will rise and fall. New technologies and services will materialize, and new unknowns will continue challenging the success of businesses. Recruiters and hiring managers want to forecast how each candidate will rise to the occasion, based on their past choices and experiences. What challenges did the candidates overcome and what solutions were invented? This is a preview of what employers can expect when the tides of business change again.

What innovative solutions have you personally and professionally reached/achieved?

Innovation is the driving force of success. Hiring managers and recruiters are hunting for evidence that each candidate is able to proactively find workable solutions and check in for direction as they complete their tasks. Companies want more than an average Joe. They seek individuals who can make their company grow to the next level.

A few examples of innovative solutions you can discuss during the interview include:

Helping to organize and schedule office equipment distribution and management to accommodate the employees needing specific hardware offsite

Developing telecommute reporting procedures and process

Finding a unique niche upon which to monopolize

The Most Important Thing to Remember

When the sun sets at night, we know it will rise again in the morning. What we also know today the world has changed as a result of COVID 19 and will only continue to keep changing over the next year. But keep this in mind: change creates new challenges which in turn creates new opportunities.

Employers are looking for qualities within candidates that include honesty, industriousness, and drive. Candidates who imbue these attributes use every opportunity to make themselves and the company better, faster, and stronger.

-sebastian jeanpaul rindé

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