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Interview Questions for the Pandemic Age

As society changes, so too do professional expectations.

I think a major part of why the early days of the pandemic were so weird for everyone (besides the whole isolation and sickness thing, obviously) were the major lifestyle and professional changes we all had to undergo on very short notice. We all had to start working from home, systems needed to be adapted, and traditional professional dynamics like meetings and office time had to be either scrapped or reworked from the ground up. There’s no doubt that we’ve all had to do some light-speed adapting, and I’d bet dollars to donuts anyone looking for a job right now is getting grilled on that adapting.

Many recruiters have begun taking the pandemic lockdown period into account when asking questions for a professional interview. After all, the way you conducted yourself during such a tumultuous time can say a lot about you professionally, as well as how well you could potentially adapt to a new job. Yep, it’s another set of stock questions you need to remember in case they try to throw you a curveball during an interview. Fun.

The simplest fastball they could throw you in this vein is a simple “how have you adapted?” How quickly did you adapt to working from home, or if you didn’t start working from home, how did you adjust your personal working style to accommodate both the changed social climate and your personal standards of safety and productivity? If you provided any kind of advice or guidance in assembling a pandemic-compliant working system to your line of work at the time, that’s definitely a feather in your cap.

They also might ask you how you personally prefer to work between in-person and remote. Many offices are adapting a hybrid approach, both for the purpose of safety and because many people realized that working from home just gels better with them. This is something you should be upfront about; if you want to keep working from home, be sure to say so. If you’d rather work in an office, say that as well.

The short version of all of this is to present an image of yourself overcoming and adapting to a decisively unpleasant situation and coming out of it (or managing it I guess, since we technically haven’t come out of it yet) a better person professionally.

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