The pandemic changed so many aspects of work and employment. From the spaces companies do business in, to the format in which employees are conducting work, to the ways hiring managers are approaching the interview process.
Remote work was already on the uptick prior to the pandemic, but with the country going into lockdown for much of 2020, many businesses adapted to a remote workforce. With these changes, hiring managers are looking to ensure that candidates are able and prepared to work remotely.
Job-hunt.org published an article highlighting some questions that hiring managers might be asking regarding remote work in the current climate and beyond. We've selected a few that can be expected and how you can prepare for them:
1. Have you ever worked remotely? If so, what changes did you make to adapt to an at-home work environment? This can include workspaces in the home, proper internet connection or reliable technology. Note that this does not mean that you have to mention potential challenges (kids, other dependents), rather just be prepared to explain how you are able to be productive in your home and get work done. This would be a great opportunity to share your experience with technologies that are often necessary in remote work such as Zoom, instant messaging platforms, email, shared document software, etc.
2. When working remotely, how do you organize your day? Many companies want to monitor their employees to ensure they're doing what they're supposed to and behaving professionally and appropriately. Here you want to present yourself as trustworthy, organized, and reliable. Explain your process for staying organized and prioritizing. There is a lot of self-discipline involved in working remotely, so craft examples that will show a potential employer how you manage your time.
3. What ways would you communicate with your manager and co-workers in a remote setting? This is another major concern for employers with a remote workforce – how to keep up the communication and interactions between coworkers and management when everyone is virtual. It's a good idea to explain your communication style while emphasizing that you can be adaptable. Make sure to convey an understanding around accountability and how you would plan to have an open line of communication so that expectations are met.
4. Will you be willing to work in an office again when/if working remotely is no longer required? This question can be trickier for cancer patients and survivors to answer, as it brings up considerations around disclosure. Think about what you are comfortable with sharing, if anything, as well as any known limitations there may be if you were to eventually need to return to in-person work. Remote work is not necessarily a permanent long-term solution everywhere, so it's very possible that many companies are aiming to be back in-person in the near future. If this is something you're not comfortable with, then it's worth considering whether a job that could require it is the right move for you at this time. You can use this opportunity to ask as many questions as you'd like in terms of what safety measures they would be implementing, what flexibilities they would provide if employees were not comfortable, etc. This is unchartered territory for most employers so having these conversations could also be the gauge they're looking for when determining a plan forward.
While you can expect to still be asked many of the same questions as those posed pre-pandemic, it's a good idea to consider the above questions as likely possibilities in this new employment landscape that employers and employees alike are learning to navigate.
Practicing for an interview can help to prepare you for both the expected questions and the curveballs. Make lists, practice your answers out loud, and if possible bounce ideas off of a family member or friend. Our website has a section on Interviewing with various articles and tools that will help you get ready for that step in the job searching process. Our Ask a Career Coach board is a great resource for specific questions about interviewing, general job search questions, or any topic in which a career coach's perspective would be helpful.
As always if you had a specific question or concern and you'd prefer to speak directly with a CAC staff member, feel free to send us an email at email@example.com.