Top Interview Questions that Highlight Company Resilience

It’s safe to say we learned a number of lessons during the COVID-19 pandemic, from how we conduct business to the way we interact with each other and most importantly, the things we value most. That’s especially true for job seekers who need assurance now more than ever that amid the exponential amount of changes, companies have adapted and are taking on the new normal in stride.

Our most recent workplace report shows that 89% of hiring managers have adjusted their hiring and staffing strategies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes the interview process – everything from where it’s held to what questions may come up. Before the pandemic, interviewers could expect to hear key questions such as, “What are the healthcare benefits?”, “How’s the work/life balance?” or “What’s the culture like?” While the answer to those still matter, the pandemic has shifted candidates’ priorities for what’s most important in their next role — and employers need to be ready. Now, both sides need to change their interview approach. Job seekers need to ask the right questions to ensure the organization is thriving during and after the pandemic, and employers need to provide assurance that they are nimble enough to pivot successfully during unprecedented times.

We have outlined the top questions that job seekers can ask in an interview to ensure that an organization is not only stable, but has a people-first approach, as well as ways hiring managers can reassure incoming talent that they have taken the COVID-19 challenge head-on.

Job Seekers

What changes did your organization make when COVID-19 hit?

This is a key question, as forward-thinking organizations have moved swiftly to adapt to the new demands of the pandemic. As a job seeker, you’ll want to hear interviewers speak openly about specific changes they have made – from cultivating a new and secure remote environment to addressing challenges interacting with customers and more.

How did leadership ensure the organization would be stable enough to hire right now?

Asking this question is a good way to determine how leadership has navigated and adapted business obstacles. If the company was nimble enough to be successful underneath the mass uncertainty of the last year, you can be assured they will have the tools to handle future challenges effectively.  

How was your culture impacted by COVID-19?

Going remote took a huge hit on companies’ cultures, as workers were forced to trade in-person interacts to Zoom calls and remote learning. Companies had to get creative to find ways to keep employees connected virtually through technology. Asking this question lets you get a feel for how fast they pivoted – did they invest in additional technology to aid employees, and did they go the extra mile to make them feel really connected?

Hiring Managers & Employers

Here are three key items to share during an interview to provide assurance that you are adapting to the COVID-19 challenge:

Share a detailed response on how you handled the pandemic.

This shows the job seeker that your organization is in tune with the latest challenges and your dedication to adapting through real action. If possible, share detailed examples on how you took care of your people during that time – whether that was providing real-time updates around safety protocols, allowing employees to have more flexible hours, or encouraging them to stay home if possible.

Share how you manage expectations.

COVID-19 has changed the way we work drastically, from reducing travel time to and from the office to allowing employees to work from anywhere, anytime. The Washington Post reported that the average workday lengthened by 48.5 minutes in the weeks following stay-at-home orders and lockdowns, and the number of meetings increased by 13%. Letting a job seeker know you value outcomes over expectations communicates that you are aware of the changes to the way we now work and are adapting to meet the needs of the employee.

Demonstrate you are flexible wherever possible.

Working at home isn’t always easy. Many parents especially have had to work full-time jobs remotely while dealing with remote schooling in tandem. Providing examples of areas the organization offers flexibility, (e.g. allowing an employee to leave work an hour early from time to time) is a great way to show through action that you are considering the needs of employees in our ever-changing environment.

Beacon has acted fast, pivoting to meet the new needs of our employees amid unexpected changes. We can work with you to ensure you’re ready for the next candidate that walks through the door. Get started now!

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