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What does job hunting look like during COVID-19?

Posted in career-advice

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every business to a greater or lesser extent, so no matter what industry you are applying in, it’s likely that job hunting has been affected for you too.

Whether these changes will create a ‘new normal’ for the long term remains to be seen, but with social distancing measures likely to remain in place to some extent for many months, there are a few things worth keeping in mind at least for the medium term.

1. Be patient

First of all, every stage of the job hunting process is likely to take longer, as many employers are dealing with significant disruption to their normal recruitment procedures.

Be patient – give them extra time before chasing for a response to your application. If possible, make a note of any deadlines for applications, so you know when to time your follow-up for the best impact.

Working with a recruitment agency is a good way to make sure your applications don’t get missed or misplaced by HR professionals who are not used to working from home.

2. Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit

At the moment, even talented candidates could face delays in finding work. Again, a good recruitment agency can arrange the introductions you need, but you might still want to apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit.

These benefits are designed to bridge the gap when you are not earning anything and special arrangements have been made regarding eligibility and how quickly you can start receiving benefits payments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Face-to-face interviews

Strict social distancing rules mean very few employers will currently be holding face-to-face interviews, but that will change as those instructions are eased by the government in the coming weeks.

However, you may still want to request a video interview. Many employers will have used video calls and video conferencing apps for interviews during this time and might be happy to continue doing so even when it is not entirely necessary to do so.

4. Video interviews

If you are offered a video interview, treat the opportunity with respect – even more so than a normal video call in the course of your job.

Plan in advance so that you have a professional-looking background, are dressed and groomed to the appropriate standard, and if possible locate yourself somewhere quiet where you will not be disturbed.

There are plenty of technical aspects to consider, such as lighting, video quality and microphone volume, but especially at the moment, employers will be a little more flexible as these are unusual circumstances for interviewers and candidates alike.

5. The future

Keep up to date with any changes to social distancing rules as the Coronavirus pandemic unfolds – especially anything that could affect your ability to attend an interview or even attend your new job at all.

If you are successful in an application, make sure you know if you can work from home and if so, whether that is a permanent arrangement or you will be required to commute into the workplace once it is safe to do so.

Job hunting is not impossible, in spite of the significant impact COVID-19 has had on all our lives. Stay aware and be flexible, as conditions will change.

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