The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on our lives on a scale many of us have never previously experienced. But as we modify ourselves to this new way of operating, there are all kinds of hurdles we will face. One of these might be getting a job in the new normal.
The furlough scheme has given a lot of people some breathing room. Sadly however, unemployment rates have still spiked, which means many others will be looking for work.
Things may have also changed slightly in the way job applications and ‘onboarding’ (organisational socialisation) works, at least for now.
With those things in mind, Verb looks at some of the steps you can take when looking for a new job.
Prepare for the process
A lot of the things you did to get a job in the past are the same. However, there are some new things to bear in mind when preparing.
Research has changed (slightly)
In the past you may have done some research on the company looking at broader industry trends, in relation to the type of company you are applying to.
Now, this means thinking about how a business has been impacted upon by COVID-19 and lockdown. What that might mean for the business now.
So, as well as checking out company blogs and websites, take a look at industry-wide publications and news to help gain insight into particular roles or see trends that are relevant to certain businesses. Doing this kind of research can help you understand better the businesses you’re applying to, as well as impress potential employers of course.
Even if you’ve applied for work recently, there’s always an opportunity to add to or polish your CV. Writing a résumé is a skill in itself and a key part of the application process.
Modify your CV to every company you apply to. Read the job specification and pick out the key skills and experiences and intertwine these points into your document, ensuring you tick all of their boxes.
New ways of working
When you’re doing your prep, don’t forget to take into account that things might be different. Even if it’s a similar role to one you’ve done previously, coronavirus has changed many features of day-to-day work, such as social distancing, remote work, cleaning and managing business premises have all been introduced. Do your research and ask lots of questions before you start.
A new application process
Despite the current restrictions, social distancing and lockdown measures, companies are still hiring. The recruitment process looks a little different in many sectors, however so it’s worthwhile taking sometime to understand some of the things you might experience when you’re trying to get a job in the new normal.
While phone interviews were fairly common before the pandemic, they’ve become increasingly popular just now. In the past they were seen as a first step of the interview process, saving time and filtering out candidates. They also gave candidates the chance to see whether a company or job role was the right fit.
Now, they are a more practical feature, to help social distancing measures. If you’re not confident on the phone, now is the perfect time to practise. Ask someone you trust to call you for a mock interview. If you’re not sure how your answers sound, try recording the ‘interview’ and listening back. Ignore how you sound, we all think we sound terrible on a recording
When the actual interview happens, try and find a quiet space, plug in a headset and refresh what you’ve gone through.
Even though face-to-face interviews might be off the cards for a little while, it’s still important for applicants and interviewers to see each other.
Video conferencing software such as, Zoom and others have helped many of us stay in touch during the recent crisis. Similarly, firms have been using it to, plan and schedule interviews. It is seen as a more personal experience than a phone call and gives both parties a chance to get an indication of whether a job is the right fit.
Many of the same rules for ordinary interviews apply; test your tech before you start, make sure microphones or webcams are working, dress in the same way you would for a regular interview, smile, and give the interviewer your undivided attention.
It’s unlikely you will be able to go to an assessment centre in person at the moment, so you might find that an online aptitude test is used instead.
Many of us find tests difficult but it is possible to practice ahead of time. There are websites that let you practice all kinds of aptitude tests, so ask the employer what kind you’ll be asked to take and get some practice runs.
It’s a good idea to get an idea of how the businesses you’re applying to have dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.
Ask them about what they did when lockdown was introduced, how they protected their workers, and how they’re keeping to social distancing measures or other guidelines.
Pay attention to their answers, it will speak volumes about how they treat their workers.
Some more helpful hints
Be patient. It might take time for some sectors and businesses to get back up to speed. Try not to get disheartened if the application process is taking a while.
Don’t send the same cover letter. Modify your application and cover letter to that specific opportunity.
Follow through. If you haven’t heard back from a promising lead after a few days, don’t be afraid to send them a friendly message to keep you at the front of their minds. If you do get an interview, a message saying thanks can be a nice touch.
Avoid distractions. Job applications require attention to detail. Give yourself the time and environment to do it properly.
Ask questions. If you get an interview, think of some questions in advance. It demonstrates that you’ve thought ahead and done some research.
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