The pandemic has impacted everyone’s life and is still a part of our everyday lives, with new virus variants and a growing sense of confusion. We are still processing our new experiences, trying to figure it all out. Whether you choose to socialize with or without jabs or not, it is a different story. But we all have to work. Since the pandemic foreseeably will remain among us for a while, we have to prepare for it at our work too, or when we are going for a job interview.
Are you currently preparing for interviews? Besides using the common 50 Forbes questions, or of any other well-known work platform, you should also prepare for any questions asked related to the pandemic or your experience with COVID. This is a perfect time to check your adaptability, flexibility, and willingness to learn new things quickly. The new things you have come up with or courses you took to overcome the pandemic caused mayhem.
Possible Interview Questions and Answers
1, How Has Your Life Been Affected by the Pandemic?
This question is meant to be our current icebreaker. So you should answer it like one. Talk shortly about how it has impacted your life and what you have done differently. More about your challenges, and how you overcame them. You could express your future hopes, but keep your answers short and diplomatic, this is only the warmer part of the interview. I wouldn’t personally mention losing someone due to COVID, you could just say it was a hard and sad year.
Always keep a positive attitude and mention how you are looking forward to better days. You also need to be careful about how you form opinions about what’s going on in our world right now, the situation around vaccines, and how well you managed to keep the lockdown rules…
If you had COVID, keep your story short and sweet, no need to mention the number of your antibodies. In my experience, these conversations can easily lead to quarrels.
2, How Has Your Career Changed? How About Your Future Plans?
You could mention if you had to work fewer hours, change workplaces, or just took a break. If you had your own small business, you could mention the challenges you encountered, and what marketing tools you used to get more clients, for instance. Make sure you show an interest in the specific role, the message hiring managers get shouldn’t be that you only want to change because the previous workplace was awful.
Instead, you could say something like I realized this was a great opportunity to get back into the corporate world as a Personal Assistant. I very much enjoyed this role earlier, including the business environment and being a part of a team. This is also the most secure option for me now. You could mention your transferable skills, your future professional goals, and how the pandemic situation made you realize the fragile, quickly changing state of our economy.
3, What Is Your Experience Working in a Hybrid Way?
You could translate it as what was your answer to unexpected workplace changes? Smaller or bigger changes always happen in business life, so you need to be well-prepared to tackle them. Including technological updates, new ways of operations, new products, systems, and requirements, changing work environment, and colleagues. The interviewers want to learn about how adaptive you are, how well you can take the pressure, and overcome challenges.
You could talk about turning your living room furniture into a modern home office with both sitting and standing stations, and how you designed a cool background for video and conference calls. What steps did you take to advance your Zoom calls, and communicate with your managers and co-workers more effectively, even from a distance? If you applied for a remote or hybrid role, also talk about how you would stay organized independently.
4, What Has Been Your Experience During the Pandemic?
How did you grow? What creative solutions did you come up with to problems? How did you spend your free time? You could mention spending more time with your friends and family members. You perhaps did some creative projects, learned a new skill, or got one or more new certificates, you learned technical stuff, or you picked up a new hobby. You could say you have learned many new things about the world, people. Even your productivity.
Chances are, you took care of your elderly parents, or helped your kids get used to virtual schooling, or did all these and helped out wherever you could. We have all been overwhelmed, so it is okay not to give an overly ambitious answer here. Helping so many people around you is already a huge deed. You should take pride in that, saying you learned to be a better parent, and more resilient. You feel like you truly grew after these experiences.
5, How Did You Overcome Tension and Fear Caused by COVID?
Another behavioral interview question that intends to find out how do you cope under pressure? You could say the whole pandemic started quite busy and chaotic, so I soon realized I needed to manage my time better. I changed my schedule by creating a daily plan and ticking off the completed tasks. This saved me some precious time.
Also made me realize where I lost the most time, what I needed to take out from my schedule, and what to delegate. As for sports I was jogging, doing yoga, and breathing exercises regularly that also helped a great deal. Meeting friends and people from my social circle, and going hiking with them made me forget about COVID even if for short periods.
6, What are Your Thoughts on Returning to the Office?
Home office and the hybrid working system changed employees’ preferences. Therefore, recruiters want to find out what you are open to. Of course, when this question is asked, or hints are in the job description, the management would prefer the candidate to be present in the office. If working from home is important for you, you should ask questions about your options.
Such as, will you need to be in the office full-time or part-time? Can you work remotely, from the home office, and what are the conditions? If you are keen on getting back to office-based work, you should mention it to your employer. You could say, I am very interested in going back to the office once things are fully safe. I would love to hear about office-based options you may have then. You should ask about the company policy to work from home some days.
7, What Do You Think About Working Fully Remotely?
You won’t be able to socialize with your colleagues, have meetings and lunch together. Working remotely with your team members also means you cannot go for drinks and parties together. It could take away the fun factor for some. If this is being asked, the company could consider making some of its positions entirely remote. Don’t be shy to ask about their long-term plans, especially if you prefer working closely with your colleagues. Best of luck!