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Job hunting during the Coronavirus pandemic: what you need to prepare for interviews

Published on 06/05/2020
Job hunting during the Coronavirus pandemic: what you need to prepare for interviews

With the current Covid-19 outbreak ongoing the landscape of the workplace for the foreseeable future has changed.  For the vast majority, this meant that overnight, the world of work was forced to adapt to a completely new normal. This brought with it a host of new challenges; maintaining clear lines of communication meant getting accustomed to digital meetings, maintaining productivity meant finding a space within the home to set up a desk and for those with children, the closure of schools nationwide meant balancing the working day with childcare.

The pandemic is disrupting science companies, but the same organisations are also working very hard to find out how the disease can be stopped, and its effects mitigated. Needless to say, it has caught many organisations by surprise and disrupted workflows, events and normal hiring practices.

Some parts of the science sector have increased hiring during this period due to the enhanced needs for production, testing and vaccines.  If you are looking for a job in this period, there are several things that you can try to adapt, we’ve put together some of those key skills to demonstrate during the interview process.

We would recommend you take the headings below and prepare a couple of examples of how you have previously demonstrated each skill, you should demonstrate different examples for each point and have these prepared for interview questions.

 

  • Flexibility

The ability to adapt and change is of course very important to demonstrate in any interview, however in the current climate flexibility is more important than ever.  Many people are having to work from their own homes, adapt their jobs, work different hours or at different times of the day.  When the government guidelines change employees could be asked again to change their working habits which means employers are now looking for people who can demonstrate they can adapt quickly to new working parameters.  Examples could include shift work or roles which included you to perform multiple functions.

 

  • Organisation

This is about showing that you can prioritise, work efficiently and productively, and manage your time well. With many organisations in the science sector increasing workloads or refocusing efforts, it’s also good to be able to show employers how you decide what is important to focus on and get done, and how you go about meeting deadlines. Good example of this might lie in your work life, personal life, or your previous education.

 

  • Self-discipline

Working life presents many challenges and you need to show employers that you’re the kind of person who will find a way through. Working from home can provide a distracting environment, children, pets, partners and housemates at home to the TV and (when we are lucky) sunny weather all in your work environment.  Self-discipline is therefore a great skill to demonstrate to a potential employer, particularly if your role will require you to work from home either permanently or temporarily.  If you can demonstrate your ability to set yourself a schedule and stick to this despite distractions it could help a potential employer to see your going to get your work completed despite difficult circumstances.  You could example this by thinking of a time you have had to complete workloads in a timely manner or set yourself schedules, perhaps to complete work at home or educational work.

 

  • Communication Skills

This covers verbal and written communication and listening. All essential skills to demonstrate in any interview, however due to the pandemic communication among teams has become more difficult.  Most people have been asked in previous interviews to example how they have worked as part of a team, but to work as a team you need to be able to communicate.  Perhaps one of your questions at the end of the interview could be to ask how the organisation is keeping lines of communication with employees and if they are using particular programs like Zoom or Microsoft teams so you can familiarise yourself with this before the next stage of interview.

 

  • Problem Solving

Problem solving is all about using logic, as well as imagination, to make sense of a situation and come up with an intelligent solution. It is also a key component of good leadership. It’s important you can demonstrate the ability to solve minor issues independently.  Try to think of a few different examples of how you have demonstrated your ability to problem solve and use the best example possible when answering this question during an interview.

 

As with all interviews, the key to a successful one is to prepare as much as possible.  For more advice about job interviews visit  https://www.cypartners.co.uk/news-advice/  If you need any support or advice about applying for any of the jobs on our website please get in touch and our consultants will be more than happy to help you.

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