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4 Questions Interviewers are Asking Post-Pandemic…And How to Answer Them

It’s been more than two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the world at large continues to feel its impact.

Despite finally having reached what most would consider to be a post-pandemic era, many processes we were familiar with before March of 2020 have been significantly altered.

The hiring process is no exception.

As many job seekers’ career objectives have changed in light of adaptations to life during the pandemic, hiring teams have found the need to respond with their own adjustments to recruitment, interview, and onboarding processes.

As a result, many of the interview questions you can expect to encounter during your job search today will be influenced by the effects–and aftermath–of COVID-19.

In this article, we’ll cover four new questions to look out for during post-pandemic job interviews, why interviewers are asking these questions, and how you can best prepare yourself to answer them.

Question 1: How has the pandemic affected your professional goals and priorities?answering popular interview questions

Why they’re asking:

Hiring teams recognize that the pandemic prompted many to reevaluate their career trajectories. It also led many to rethink the qualities that are most important to them in a workplace.

As a result, interviewers will often ask about how your professional objectives and priorities have changed post-COVID in order to gauge whether their organization’s offerings are aligned with your values.

How to answer:

Explain how and why your perspective on workplace priorities and/or goals have changed.

Did you find unexpected advantages to remote work that you want to retain? Did the extra free time during the pandemic allow you to discover new passions that caused you to rethink your career path?

If applicable, this can also be a great time to reference how your new perspective aligns with the company and the position for which you’ve applied.

Example: During the pandemic, my current workplace changed from 100% on-site to 100% remote. I was surprised to learn how much time and money I was able to save on my daily commute.

With that extra time and money, I was able to invest in professional development skills courses that made me feel confident enough to pursue a career change.

I’ve discovered a new professional passion and am eager to put my new skills to use!

Question 2: How have you adapted to the transition from office work to working from home?

Why they’re asking:

When offices shut down in 2020, many workers were presented with new obstacles pertaining to the transition from in-person to remote work.

Employee responses to this transition grant employers a unique insight as to how flexible their candidates can be when it comes to sudden, unexpected changes.

Hiring teams want to know how their employees will navigate challenging situations and want to evaluate their ability to adapt to change.

How to answer:

This is a great opportunity to supply anecdotal evidence that demonstrates how you cope with new challenges.  

Begin by presenting the situation, explain the challenge you encountered, and discuss how you were able to evaluate and address the problem.

Example: The transition to working from home opened up a lot of new possibilities for me, but also some new challenges.

For example, prior to the pandemic, our workplace was not using any kind of virtual conferencing technology. When we transitioned to working from home, this became an immediate necessity.

Without any prior experience using these programs, I was initially nervous about conducting client meetings amid potential technical difficulties and features I was not yet accustomed to.

However, I was able to overcome this by dedicating time to instructional training on how to use the program to its fullest potential. I also routinely enlist my coworkers as a test audience prior to meetings, which allows me to work out technical bugs ahead of time.

Ultimately, these challenges have strengthened me professionally: Not only am I now more comfortable and experienced in using new types of software, but I am also more confident in my ability to quickly learn and adapt to any new tools introduced to the workplace. 

Question 3: How do you manage to stay on task while working remotely?

Why they’re asking:

how to answer popular post-pandemic interview questions.

Individuals who found ways of remaining productive during the pandemic have proven themselves to be self-motivated.

Hiring managers who ask this question are likely looking for examples of methods and techniques you used to stay engaged and motivated, even without any direct supervision.

How to answer:

Prepare a few tactics you used to prevent yourself from getting distracted while working from home.

We suggest describing specific habits and routines you established for yourself to help with time management and productivity while working in a new–potentially distracting– environment.

Make sure to emphasize that the productivity habits strengthened and learned during the pandemic will stay with you in your new career opportunities.

Example: Without people around to jog my memory about certain tasks, I became a much more dedicated note-taker.

Every deliverable task I needed to accomplish was recorded in my calendar and was assigned a due date. I set automated reminders on these tasks to remind me to complete them.

I also became much more ritualized in my routines: I set timers for focused work and scheduled brief periods of rest, to take my dog for a walk or get a cup of coffee. By structuring my focus and rest time, I found that I was able to stay on track much more easily–which made me much more productive.

These are skills that I developed quickly because of the pandemic, and I am confident that these habits will stick with me into the next stages of my professional life.

Question 4: What is your preferred working environment?

remote work interview question

Why they’re asking:

Asking where people like to work was rarely considered before COVID-19; however, as many businesses grapple with decisions concerning in-office, hybrid, and remote working conditions, it has become an important factor in establishing whether or not candidates will be a good fit for certain positions.

This may also help them to gauge the market, so to speak: In other words, it allows them to get a fresh perspective on what most people prefer.

How to answer:

Make sure that you are clear on the workplace policy associated with the job you’ve applied for.

If it isn’t clear in the job posting, now is the time to ask.

It’s wise to tailor your answer for what the position is offering. Give some examples of where you feel you can be most productive and efficient, and how you hope to find a workplace that will offer you the opportunity to work in the setting you prefer.

Example: One of the things that excited me about your job posting was the fact that you are back in-office full time.

I really find that my strengths are at their fullest potential when I am in a physical office space, surrounded by coworkers. I enjoy a strong company culture and look for camaraderie and ease of communication in a working environment.

I’m excited by the opportunity to return to an office full time once more!

In Conclusion

In light of the pandemic, the interview questions you encounter during your job search may have changed since the last time you looked for work.

However, in most cases, hiring managers are still looking for the same things: employees that are dedicated, hard-working, and adaptable.

The questions you face in your post-pandemic job search can be a useful tool to help you demonstrate the strengths you developed during one of the most challenging and unprecedented times in recent history.

Are you looking to make a career move? Our team at FrankCrum Staffing can help you prepare to put your best foot forward. With services including resume reviews and interview coaching, our team of experienced staffing professionals is here to help set you apart from your competition.

Get started and contact us today for more information!

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