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Job Interviews During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Ok, so you might be getting to the point where you're sick of all of the coverage of the Coronavirus, and the last thing you need to read about is how job searching is affected by the outbreak.

I feel you.


Having said that, with the WHO announcing today that the Coronavirus is officially a pandemic, it doesn't appear to be going away any time soon.


And while many companies are instructing their workers to stay home and taking other measures to help stop the spread of the virus, in many cases, the show must go on.


Manufacturing must continue. Ditto for online services, government jobs, and any other industries that we depend on for products and services. These essential businesses cannot simply close up shop. For now, the world is not ending.


So having said this, these companies will continue to be staffed, and job seekers will continue to seek out these opportunities in order to provide for their families and themselves during these trying times.


At least for now, some adjustments are going to need to be made to ensure that the public is safe. And this includes job interviews.


How Will This Affect The Job Interview Landscape?


The warning signs for the changing job interview landscape began about a week ago, with corporations like Google, LinkedIn and Square stopping all in-person job interviews.


To be honest, it's hard to blame them. The modern job interview is an intimate dance filled with handshakes, document exchanges and close quarters... definitely a risky proposition under the current circumstances.


So what does this mean for job seekers?


Well, it means that their interview is going to be different than the interviews they may have experienced in the past.


Rather than sit across a desk from a hiring manager, it's likely that their interview will take place on either the phone or over a video conferencing platform (or a combination of the two).


IMPORTANT: A lot of people might just assume that because of the outbreak there won't be any job interviews coming down the pipe, and then BAM they get a phone or video interview. So be careful about not doing any interview prep!


The good news is, the substance of the interview will remain relatively similar to what it would have been in an in-person interview. For the most part, they'll get asked similar questions, discuss similar topics, and be evaluated for similar criteria.


However, there are some nuances to the change in medium that you should be aware of before walking in.


According to Jack Kelly over at Forbes,

"...with phone interviews, you can’t see the interviewer or the office. You’ll miss out on social cues, which will tell you that they liked or disliked how you answered a question. Without seeing the office, you won't gain a feel of the place, people and culture. In person, you may see some sports memorabilia and learn that you share a similar passion for a team, which is a great icebreaker..."

He also goes on to discuss the intricacies of video interviewing, saying

"...video interviews offer a close resemblance to an in-person meeting. You may have conducted enough FaceTime conversations that you’re more comfortable with this mode of interaction. It will be easy to fall back into an informal tone as that's what you’re used to. Remember that this is an interview and you need to keep it professional..."

The bottom line is, job seekers will need to brush up on their phone and video interviews to make sure they are not left behind.


I've actually written extensively on some of these nuances in the past:


8 Phone Interview Tips That Will Land You a Second Interview


Top 5 Skype Interview Tips (And the Mistakes To Avoid)


Shameless self-promotion aside, these articles should be quite helpful to those whose job search has been negatively affected by the Coronavirus.


The Bottom Line


The reality is, the job interview landscape is currently undergoing some significant changes that job seekers need to be aware of.


But now is not the time to panic. The benefits of living in a technologically-rich era means that the difficulties that arise from these changes will be manageable with the right preparation and a little awareness.


I'm recommending that my clients brush up on their phone and video interview skills with hopes that the transition to this pandemic-affected situation is a smooth one, at least in terms of job interviews.


All the best,

Mike



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