How to Apply for a Job During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The new coronavirus epidemic is still a concern for every family, employer and employee. In this context, many are still working but now within their homes. And slowly we will return to work. For the unemployed, one of their biggest concerns is how to find a job during this difficult time.

Online applications and recruitment have been in place within some companies already. But, given some of the restrictions put on social distancing, many companies have had to switch to online video interviews which are different from the previous face-to-face communication.

What should job seekers pay attention to when conducting online interviews?

1. Be familiar with the online interview tool and chat applications

Before conducting an online interview, consider what kind of tools the employer will use. Some popular online conferencing tools are Zoom, Ringcentral, GotoWebinar. Other chat applications like Slack, Skype, Facebook, and Watsapp can also be used for online interviewing. When conducting an online interview, familiarize yourself with the tools and, if necessary, rehearse in advance to ensure the interview goes smoothly. Make sure they work effectively within your home environment.

Many of these tools allow you to login and practice interviewing by answering the questions provided by the company and get a recording of your interview What's the most important is to position your computer's camera so that the interviewer thinks you're looking them in the eye. Practice is important and if possible, record a few videos of your own to see the angle before the interview.

2. Prepare for the online interview

For the online interview, the physical environment and the network environment are important. Before the formal interview, make sure you have a relatively quiet and clean physical environment. Both of these can reflect on the quality of the interview and be conducive to a smooth, high quality online interview. Also, make sure to test your network environment to ensure there are no technical glitches like slow video or bad audio quality.

What's also important is your intonation (how the voice rises and falls) and speed in communication - speak clearly and slowly with an even tone. You can also record your introduction in advance and send a video to HR before or after the interview.

Preparing for HR calls

Many times, companies will reach out via telephone as the first step in the interview process. If you are at home when you get this type of call, or if the timing isn't right, you can choose to have the call go to voicemail. There are advantages to this. You can listen to the voicemail and determine the role and the company. This will provide you the opportunity to do some research on the company and role, and help you think through the answer to this question “Why are you the best candidate for this job”? If you choose to have the call go to voicemail, you may also get an email from the HR representative. This can also be used to find out about the company and the position to help you determine your pitch on why you are the best candidate.

Call back when you are ready, but it's best to call back quickly - usually within an hour.

3. Look good in an interview

It's just as important to be prepared for a video interview as it is for an in-person one. So, make sure you dress appropriately and use colors that won't clash with the video. Here are some best practices:

  • Choose warm colors that look good on you and match your skin tone.
  • Colors like teal, purple, cobalt work well on video. Avoid white, bright red and all black.
  • Stick to solids, not patterns.
  • Stay classic with styles
  • Keep jewelry simple
  • It's best to have a white background or plain background if you can, which will help the interviewer focus on you rather than the background.

4. Clear speech

Communication is important. Your speech must be clear and concise. Try not to be nervous. Make sure you practice - in front of a mirror or with a roommate, spouse or significant other. It's understandable if you are a little nervous, but just be yourself.

5. Prepare questions in advance

Be prepared to ask questions of the interviewer. You can ask questions about the company, the role or even ask the interviewer questions about them. Some questions that you can use as guidance:

  • What do the day-to-day responsibilities look like for this role?
  • Who would I report to and what is the structure of the department?
  • What do you see as the most challenging aspect of this job?
  • What's your favorite part about working for the company?

6. Smile when you answer questions

You may think that because it's a phone interview, the interviewer won't know if you're smiling, but you're wrong. The tone of your voice influences your facial expressions. Smiling and using your normal body movements can make your voice softer and more friendly when answering questions. Remember, if this is a phone interview your voice is the only thing the interviewer can capture.

If it's a video interview, smile even more to make a good impression. Use natural body language as if you were speaking in person. Look at the camera straight on, as if you were looking into the interviewer's eyes.

7. Give positive answers to all questions

Don't fall into the trap of being asked in a phone interview what you think of your past boss or your company's competitors.

Anyone who gives a negative assessment of a former boss or competitor is seen as having a negative attitude towards the job.

Instead, focus on what you've learned from your past companies and jobs, or what you think was working well for your company.

8. Ask the interviewer when the decision will be made or what the next steps are

Unlike traditional job interviews, online interviews often end abruptly like a phone call. So, once you can confirm from the interviewer that the interview is over, you should ask what the next steps are. For example, ask the interviewer when you can expect to hear from the company, or what form of communications they will use

Generally speaking, it is rare to make decisions on candidates solely through the telephone interview. So, if you successfully pass the telephone interview, you will enter the next round of face-to-face interview.

The situation of job hunting under the epidemic is different than normal. The online interviews may be more efficient for the HR person and can help speed up the process and next steps.

Due to the impact of the epidemic, enterprises are facing great difficulties, especially small and medium-sized companies. If the companies are still facing social distancing and have not returned to work, the whole recruitment process could take less time than the regular in-person processes. So, the timeline for a decision may be shorter.

Job seekers are also facing great opportunities, as using online interviews. With removing telecommuting, more focus can be made on the job-hunting process.

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