How COVID-19 Has Changed Job Search Etiquette

The coronavirus pandemic has changed so many aspects of life, including the way companies manage their recruitment processes. Understandably, job search etiquette has shifted dramatically as a result. Whether you are looking for your next position or are about to have an online interview, we have rounded up the top tips to help you put your best foot forward in the recruitment process.

The switch to online recruitment

Online recruitment has never been more popular. While some of you may have found in-person interviews challenging in the past, the fact that interviews are taking place online does not make for plain sailing. You could even make the case that online interviews give your employer a wider access to your personal life than ever before. Consider for a moment that the interview process will take place in an online meeting room, or platform, such as Zoom. This will typically take place in your own home, which means you have a greater number of things to consider when you’re trying to make a winning first impression.

Check your technology

Nothing makes a bad impression like technology that doesn’t work. As soon as you schedule that interview, make sure you check your internet speed, that your headset works (if you need one), and that your required account to join the meeting is fully functional. Ensure you check the name of the video platform they will be using, so you can get up to speed with it in advance. Make sure the username you are using is professional and that the profile attached to your account has a professional-looking headshot. If you have to give a presentation, it is critical that you do a test run, preferably with a friend watching it. The great thing about online meeting platforms is that they give you the ability to film the entire event. Take advantage of this! It is the perfect opportunity for you to look back on your presentation to see where you can make improvements.

Professional appearance

While it shouldn’t be a factor, appearance is important. Make sure you appear clean and professional, that there isn’t anything distracting in the background, or on your face. Test out various spaces in your home to find optimal lighting. The best lighting is natural lighting, so try to position yourself facing towards a window, but not too close or you will look illuminated. Again, test out various filming locations, with a friend present in a meeting, and they will be able to give you feedback on what works for you. Be sure to dress in a professional outfit from head to toe, do your hair just as you would for an in-person interview, and remember to smile!

Eliminate distractions

Do you have a work phone that is constantly ringing or a doorbell with a loud chime? Consider muting or disabling these devices until your interview is over. If you’re in a location where family members are required to work from home or you have young children, ask them for a little bit of quiet time. You could even put a little sign on the door reminding your family that you have an important meeting!

Engage with the interviewers

The nature of online interviewing means you’re going to have to try harder to establish an engaging connection with those doing the interviewing. While this is a challenge, it is not impossible. Look into the camera, prepare questions, try to enjoy yourself albeit in a professional way. Plenty of interviewees make the mistake of looking at themselves in their computer screen while interviewing, but it can give a distracted impression, as your eyes will be off to the side of their screen. If you struggle with this, consider taping a note over the portion of the screen that shows your face, and remind yourself to look directly into the camera attentively, as you would while speaking to a real interviewer.

On-site job interview

If you are going to a job interview on-site you should always wear a mask. This shows that you care about keeping them safe as well as yourself.
In this situation, eye contact, posture, and body language are especially important and play a significant role in the interview process.

You can also expect to be seated at least 2 meters from the interviewer.

During normal conditions, we would recommend shaking hands with the interviewer before beginning the interview. However, during COVID-19 you should skip the handshake.

Speak with relevance

It’s hard to find a job that hasn’t been impacted by the pandemic. Consider how are you dealing with Covid-19 and whether this could be a positive talking point in your interview. Do you possess any additional skills in this area that could help your future employer? Consider how you help solve your potential employer’s problems? Are you fully knowledgeable when it comes to Zoom? Do you have ideas on how to serve clients or customers in a safer manner? Update your cover letter, resume, and LinkedIn profile to highlight the ways you are keeping up with the ways the pandemic is impacting your industry, and you’ll be a step ahead of the other candidates.

The new first day

Congratulations, you’ve been hired! But how are you going to navigate your first day on the job once you’ve accepted it?

Make no mistake, it is going to be unlike any first day you’ve ever had in your career. Where once people were happy to meet you and shake your hand, people are relatively invisible and avoid meeting new people. While the feeling of being alone on the first day in a new job is unsettling, remember to go into the opportunity with fresh eyes. This is the new normal. You’re going to have to adapt in order to make the transition to your new job. You most likely won’t have someone available at all hours to answer your queries, so you’re going to have to be smarter when it comes to obtaining information. Digital communications will be your new best friend, as will getting to know those who can help you navigate your new role in the company. Network as much as possible, as safely as possible!

Make a great impression

The new workplace comes with a new set of rules. Do you wear a mask or not? How do you collaborate in meetings if you are still working on-site? Do you shake a client’s hand? The answer will depend on where you are and what your government is currently recommending. If you respect other people’s physical boundaries, keep an appropriate distance from others, ask questions when you’re not sure about the protocols, remember to wash your hands, then you’ll be well on your way to making a great impression in your new workplace.