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 The Coronavirus and Your Job Search

By Joe Stein

These are certainly interesting times. As the Coronavirus impacts so much of our lives, those individuals conducting a job search are certainly feeling its effect. There are a number of areas to consider when conducting a job search currently. I have listed below a number of areas where you may be impacted or should consider an adjustment in your approach. • Should You Continue? The choice is probably an easy one if you are unemployed…you need to continue to plug along. If you are currently employed, you have to determine if this is still the right time to do a passive search, or stay in your current role to provide some additional stability to your life during these tumultuous times. • Expect Delays or Jobs on Hold: For most organizations, dealing with the impact of the Coronavirus is its #1 priority and focus, not filling open positions. If a decision takes longer than expected, please stay patient and do not become frustrated with the prospective employer. Be prepared for positions to also be placed on hold. This does not mean that you were not a potential candidate or that the company is being disrespectful to candidates. It probably means the opposite, that they want to be 100% sure that the position can be on-boarded properly with all that is occurring. • More Phone Screening: Most companies that continue to fill positions will be looking for ways to limit the amount of face time as much as possible. This may mean more and lengthier (more in-depth) phone interviews will occur. On there is an archive of previous articles and we do address how to best prepare for a phone screen. It is important to make sure you have a good clear phone line without outside noise. Place yourself in a situation where you can completely focus on the phone screen and not be distracted by children, pets, etc. Since you can’t be seen, it is OK to have your notes, etc. in front of you to assist you in answering questions that are asked. • Video Interviewing a Possibility: I see more and more companies dabbling in this area using Skype or some other similar software to video interview candidates. This is especially true in larger multi-site organizations given some of the travel restrictions that are currently in place. Just like with phone screening, we have video interviewing tips available in the archive section of In brief, dress professionally and neutrally, remove clutter around you (in particularly behind you), and practice beforehand. • Limit Contact During In-Person Interview: Common contact such as the handshake, should be off-limits during this pandemic. This should be a given a hand should be presented by an Interviewer. If (for some reason) it is offered, please politely decline and reference the current virus situation. Try to avoid disclosing your risk status (and you should not be asked for this information) for the virus, such as your age or any medical conditions such as Diabetes. • Find Out Their Plan: I believe it is entirely appropriate to inquire regarding the company employee plans as it pertains to the virus. Your questioning should be aligned to the type of job and industry that you are seeking a position. For example, if you are interviewing for a corporate position in a non-service industry, your inquiry may be more regarding working remote plans. If you interviewing for a position in the service or hospitality field, your questioning may be more in terms of short and long-term plans to get through this crisis. Finally, it is also perfectly reasonable to ask about the plans to fill this available position and whether the virus will impact this at all. • Network Online: Use this time to build your online network so that you will be ready to go post-Coronavirus. You have a built in excuse to check in on your connections by asking them if they are well. It is also a good time to reach out to new potential network contacts. The lack of TV programming and larger events should give some people more time to connect socially online, allowing you to build your network. • Participate in Virtual Job Fairs: With the elimination of large gatherings of people, most Job Fairs have been or will be cancelled. In its place, in many situations, will be a Virtual Job Fair. This will allow you to submit your Resume for review by the participants without having to physically attend. The downside to this type of activity is that you will not have any face time with a Recruiter in order to make a good first impression. This is currently uncharted waters for all of us, including those in a job search. As noted above, there are several items to factor in to your search. The most thing of all, however, is to stay safe! As always, best of luck in your job search.