This year has been a trying one—but we don’t have to tell you that. COVID-19 has completely reshaped our lives, both personally and professionally. Of course, the job market has been upended and a record number of people are out of work or underemployed.  As such, we have written many posts thus far on the challenges that the coronavirus has presented to a job search.  In this post, we aim to discuss how COVID-19 might shake up a job interview, and how to answer these interview questions—because crying on a Zoom call is just not an option.

Pandemic Related Questions to Prepare For

Just because 2020 is headed to a (thankful) end, doesn’t mean that the coronavirus is going to magically disappear come January 1st.  Therefore, it’s important to realize that pandemic-related conversations are likely here to stay, at least until a vaccine is widespread and we begin to get back to the semblance of normalcy.

With that being said, when presented with the chance to interview for a new position, it is important to keep in mind three key tenets that are going to power your answers and your approach to communicating just how you have dealt with the craziness 2020 has thrown your way.

Empathy, Adaptability & Resilience

  • How have you been dealing with quarantine?

This is likely going to be the beginning of any conversation—interview or otherwise. Answer honestly.  You don’t have to be worried about expressing the uncertainty or angst you have experienced.  You also don’t have to veer away from expressing if you have found parts of your best self in isolation. While yes, things have felt scary and uncertain, we also know that for many people quarantine has offered a chance to take a deep breath—a reset of sorts.  When faced with this question, explain how you have managed and convey your resilience and your ability to adapt. And also don’t hesitate to turn the question around and ask the interviewer the same thing. It shows emotional IQ and your humanity.  We all need to care about one another right now.

  • Have you had to transition to remote work? How has that worked out for you?

Let’s face it, some people love remote work environments and others…well…don’t. Early on in COVID, the Grammar Chic team had a few laughs over just how little our work life had changed—we have always been remote. However, we know that this isn’t the case for everyone. With that in mind, again, honesty is the best policy. Maybe you struggled at first or felt distracted by household tasks that needed to get done. Perhaps you felt lonely and isolated because you were used to being around co-workers. On the other hand, maybe you realized just how much you loved it and how much more you could get done without office distractions. Whatever your experience, explain it. Discuss roadblocks you might have faced and how you overcame them.  Or talk about how you realized you were suddenly thriving in your professional life.

  • Has COVID made you reconsider your career goals?

This year has led many people to truly take a look at their life, their values, and what is important. You may have faced a layoff. You may have been surprised to learn that you are an essential worker. You may have realized that life is too short to stay in a job where you are unhappy. You might have uncovered a passion for another field. Whatever realizations COVID has caused in your life, use them as fodder for an interview discussion. It might sound crazy, but COVID might just be the driver behind you coming out of your cocoon and embarking on a brand-new path.

  • How have you changed your approach to communication during the pandemic?

It’s likely that even if you didn’t know how to video conference via Zoom or some other platform prior to the pandemic, you are an old pro at it now. Or have you had to learn some other approach to collaborate with team members while remaining socially distant?  What about clients and customers? If your office moved to a remote environment, how have you changed your approach to relationship building? Discuss what you have appreciated or what has frustrated you—but with the latter point make sure you are also not just venting about the stress you felt by getting your computer camera to work correctly or realizing that you had to be more connected to your email inbox than ever before. Touch upon how you have moved past your stress into a place where you are able to at least deal with it.

At the end of the day, no one expects you to be a COVID superhero and know that everyone has reacted differently during this time. We encourage you to simply show your authenticity during an interview—that you are a mere mortal who has done their best to keep their sense of humor, their ability to deal with ambiguity, and the outlook that this pandemic will eventually end.

In the next post, we will discuss some additional pandemic interview prompts to prepare for as companies focus on coming out on the other side of this thing…constructively and positively. Of course, if you need any assistance creating a resume that can help you land more interviews, pandemic or not, reach out to the Grammar Chic team today.