The coronavirus pandemic has meant that many companies have had to change their approach to recruitment, making it hard to know what to expect if you’re currently looking for a job.
The sad reality is that some industries, such as tourism and hospitality, have been badly hit, with many organisations being forced to stop recruiting entirely and even having to cut jobs. However, other sectors, most notably healthcare and tech and e-commerce, have been more resilient.
For those companies that are still hiring, the challenge is to find a safe way to assess candidates – i.e. by practising social distancing. With the traditional face-to-face interviews now out of the question, businesses worldwide have started conducting virtual interviews instead, with a survey by research organisation Gartner showing that 86% of companies now use them to onboard staff.
And it’s not just interviews that have moved into the virtual sphere; Big Four accountancy firm EY is a great example of a company that went one step further and created a digital version of its early talent assessment centre which includes many of the elements you would expect at a normal face-to-face assessment day, such as case studies and role playing exercises.
So how can you prepare yourself for these virtual interviews and assessments? First and foremost, remember that most of the basic rules of success still apply: thoroughly research the company and role beforehand, practise some common interview questions or do a mock interview and dress the part.
On top of that, acquaint yourself with some of the more commonly used video conferencing tools like Zoom or Google Meet and try a mock online interview to get a feel for it. Also make sure that you check your equipment (camera and microphone) are working as they should well before an interview and choose an uncluttered, well-lit and quiet spot to sit.
Once you’ve successfully made it through the recruitment process and landed the job, your first few weeks may also look rather different from what you may have previously expected. While some companies are allowing small numbers of workers back into their offices to induct new starters, others are opting for a completely virtual process, relying on online training sessions and meet and greets to help them get started. Aware of the challenges that come with this, some companies have set up so-called ‘buddy programmes’, where new recruits are partnered with an existing staff member, to ensure they’re getting the support they need.
Just like companies are having to be more flexible in recruiting and inducting staff, your own ability to adapt is now more important than ever, so be open-minded and accepting of this unprecedented break with tradition and whatever you do, stay positive and give it your very best shot.