Job interviews can often feel like an interrogation for the candidate. But in order for both parties to determine whether they are the right fit for each other, interviews need to feel more like a conversation. In addition, by asking relevant questions, jobseekers can appear genuinely interested and competent, leaving a good first impression on the interviewer.
Keep in mind that candidates are usually given the opportunity to ask their questions at the end, so you should allow the employer to guide the interview. A good rule of thumb is to have between two and four questions prepared. The further you advance through the interview process, the more questions you can ask.
What lessons has the company learnt from the crisis?
Most businesses were not prepared for how the pandemic changed the world of work. However, many employers have quickly adapted to the new circumstances. It is important to see what lessons the employer has learnt, so you can determine how ready they are to react to similar crises in the future or to accept remote working.
How are you keeping employees safe during customer disputes over safety rules?
Disputes over face masks and other safety rules can be quite common in client-facing jobs, such as shop assistants and baristas. It is important for the employer to have guidance on managing and de-escalating such arguments.
If an employee gets COVID-19, what is the company’s policy to keep the rest of the staff safe?
Despite all safety precautions and the high vaccination rates, it is still likely that an employee can get infected with COVID-19. A good employer will have a protocol in place to make sure the rest of the staff are safe, for example through regular testing, work-from-home policies, etc.
Do you provide any support when employees need to care for a sick family member?
If you have a family member who is vulnerable to the virus, this is an important question to ask. Unfortunately, when we have to take care of a sick family member, some employers can be less understanding than others. See if your employer has a policy for such scenarios.
What is your policy on working from home?
At the start of the pandemic, many businesses were forced to have their employees work from home. However, restrictions are gradually being lifted across Europe, and many companies can now choose their preferred way of working. If it is important to you, ask the employer if they have (or plan to implement) a long-term flexible or remote work option.
What support do you provide to remote workers?
Some employers offer different wellbeing packages, training and equipment (e.g. work laptops, desktop computers, web cameras) to help their employees do their jobs remotely. Make sure you ask the employer what support is available to people working from home.
How has COVID-19 impacted the role?
It is important to determine how your role could be affected by the pandemic or similar crises. Ask your employer whether the core tasks of your role have changed during the pandemic and how. This will give you an idea of what to expect in the future.
Do you see this role being secure long term?
This is directly related to the previous question. In these uncertain times, job security is very important for any jobseeker. Ask your employer how they see this role being secure in the long term. As long as your role has room for flexibility, and the employer indicates that they are willing to adjust and adapt to extreme circumstances, you should be OK.
Having an online job interview can be daunting. That is why, we have prepared some tips to impress your future employer and present yourself in the best possible ‘virtual’ light.
How to stand out in an online job interview
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- Publication date
- 7 October 2021
- European Labour Authority | Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
- Recruiting trendsYouth
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