7 Common Pandemic Job Interview Questions (And How To Answer Them)

·5-min read
Applying for jobs again? (Photo: SDI Productions via Getty Images)
Applying for jobs again? (Photo: SDI Productions via Getty Images)

Looking for a new job? If you’re interviewing for a new role or expect you may be in the near future, you might already be apprehensive about being grilled by your prospective new boss. And don’t forget the pandemic has changed the kinds of questions employers are asking during the recruitment process.

Handily, jobs website Indeed has surveyed employers about the questions managers and HR teams have been asking candidates that they did not routinely ask before Covid-19.

From a candidate’s vaccination status to their willingness to work remotely some, or all, of the time, these questions highlight how the workplace – and our wider attitudes to work – have been transformed by nearly two years of living and working through a pandemic.

On a positive note, many of them hint at employers’ desire to understand, and accommodate, candidates’ increasing preference for flexible hours and hybrid working.

Commonly asked new interview questions:

1. Have you been vaccinated?
2. What type of flexible/hybrid working are you seeking?
3. How many days would you like to work from home?
4. How would you feel about not having day to day, face to face contact with colleagues?
5. Are you comfortable with your home working setup?
6. What have been your experiences of the pandemic?
7. How has Covid-19 affected you?

Some of these questions might throw you, but remember that you still have rights and that a little preparation is all you need to answer them honestly.

Mikaela Elliott, Indeed’s senior manager of employer insights, says it’s best to expect some of these topics to be asked, and if they are not, feel free to raise them yourself.

“With the pandemic bringing about huge changes to the way we work and upending expectations around work and especially remote and flexible working, interviewers are often asking several Covid-era questions that candidates should take the time to prepare for,” says Elliott.

“If you are not asked about flexible working during the interview, but it is something that is important to you, you can ask your interviewer about how the company prioritises work-life balance and whether it has any flexible working arrangements. This will help you decide whether the company is a good match for you.

When it comes to vaccination status, employers should have a good reason for needing to know, such as wanting to plan for the safety of their staff. While they are allowed to ask, vaccine information is sensitive personal health data, so they need to comply with data protection rules when it comes to your answer.

We approached Charlotte Davies, careers expert at LinkedIn, for some advice on how to answer these other pandemic-related questions. Here are her tips:

What type of flexible/hybrid working are you seeking?

“Before you head into your interview, think about what it is you want when it comes to hybrid or flexible working, so you can clearly outline your expectations,” says Davies.

“Don’t be nervous about saying you’re looking for a role that offers flexibility. You are by no means alone. Be clear about what has worked best for you in the past and why; the way that we work has changed forever since the pandemic, so it’s likely that potential employers will welcome this honesty and take it on board when making you a job offer.”

How many days would you like to work from home?

“It’s important to be honest about what would suit your own situation, whilst trying to be mindful of what a good balance would be for everyone involved. Every job and workplace is different, and only you will know what can and can’t work with your various tasks and meetings.”

How would you feel about not having day to day, face to face contact with colleagues?

“If you get asked this question, be honest about how you feel. Some people may want to see colleagues face to face more than others and that’s fine. Recent LinkedIn UK research revealed that of those who would prefer to work in an office part time or full time, 47% would like to do so as they enjoy being around other people and colleagues.

“But if you’re happy with less face time, let your employer know how you’ll stay in contact with your colleagues virtually and make those important connections.”

Are you comfortable with your home working setup?

“Working from home can still be challenging when trying to balance our professional and personal lives, especially with many of us juggling family commitments. Therefore, it’s perfectly fine to be open about any boundaries that you have in place to help you stay positive while working from home.”

What have been your experiences of the pandemic/How has Covid-19 affected you?

“If you get asked this question, remember that everyone’s experiences have been totally different, and honesty is the best policy.

“If you’ve found it hard, say so. Give a short answer that acknowledges the question, but also makes it clear that it’s not something you want to delve any deeper into. Try and find a way of turning the conversation around - for example by saying ‘It’s been a tough time both personally and professionally, but I’m looking forward to seeing what the future brings and life post-pandemic.’

“Equally, if you’re comfortable with sharing your experiences feel free to be honest and let your potential employer know if it’s the main motivation behind your career switch or if you’ve learnt anything about yourself during that time.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.


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