Job Hunting Tips in the Post-Covid World of Work
Authors: Emily Kimble & Benjamin Kerner
Our names are Emily Kimble and Benjamin Kerner, and we are Human Resource Analysts at DCI Consulting Inc. who graduated from George Mason University’s I/O Psychology MA program. We started searching for jobs during the peak of the uncertainty that was 2020 and can attest to the struggles of job hunting and the novelty of onboarding during a global pandemic. Below are some lessons we have gleaned over the last year, which we hope will be helpful for those beginning their job search in a post-covid environment.
Be Patient and Don’t Get Discouraged
- Job hunting—with or without a global pandemic—can be daunting, stressful, and time-consuming. Now more than ever, it is essential to prepare and give yourself adequate time to be “on the market.”
- Be patient and keep applying to the jobs that interest you. Companies are hiring, albeit sometimes at a slower pace.
- Good candidates sometimes do not get positions due to factors outside of their control. However, it is important to keep in mind that companies are always looking for different skill sets, and not getting a position does not imply that you are not a good candidate.
- Don’t get discouraged if the recruitment process is taking a long time, or if you’re not hearing back from recruiters as you would have hoped. We struggled with this throughout our job hunt, often failing to recognize the context of the work environment we are now living in. This last year significantly impacted businesses, forcing many to enforce temporary hiring freezes, layoffs, reductions in force, and permanent closures. Not surprisingly, companies have had to adapt to these changes, often slowing the efficiency in which their hiring processes can function. As a result, the job search can sometimes take longer than you expect, but keep persisting and remain positive as you communicate with recruiters. If timing is a concern for you, don’t be afraid to ask! Often, recruiters will be straightforward about their hiring timelines.
Tailor Your Job Search for You
- Just as an employer wants to find the right fit for the job, you should also take time to tailor your resume to the specific job you are interested in. It can be tempting to apply to any and all jobs, as the market has felt uncertain, but it will be more beneficial for you to find a company that values its employees and a role that motivates and excites you.
- Use the company’s response to this pandemic as insight into their processes, functions, and even their culture. For example, was it a smooth transition to work-from-home? What technology platforms does the company utilize? What does the company do to keep employees feeling engaged and like a team? How does the company support its employees?
Prepare Yourself for the Virtual Interview Process
- The nature of interviewing has dramatically changed. We had all our interviews virtually, utilizing various platforms and formats (e.g., phone calls, Teams, Zoom, WebEx). Virtual interviews can create barriers to our typical social interactions. Unlike an in-person interview, you are unable to sense body language, and it can feel intimidating to be on camera. Especially in the case of phone interviews, you are also hindered from seeing the recruiter’s facial reactions and nonverbal communication (e.g., head nods). No matter what the interview platform may be during your job hunt, try your best to go into them with a positive mindset and tone of voice.
- Even though you may not be in the same room with the recruiter, pretend you are. Dress up as you would in an in-person interview. Focus on speaking at a good pace, and loud enough to be heard through a microphone. It is important that you sound positive and confident. If you are on video, focus on the nonverbal cues in your face, especially eye contact.
- Always test out the platform you will be interviewed on. Prior to your interview, make sure that it is downloaded and installed. Companies will likely offer you assistance with this. For example, we were able to log in early with members of HR teams to test the connections and interface. Additionally, check that your camera and audio work, that you are in a location that is quiet, has strong internet connection, has good lighting, and does not have a lot of background noise/distraction.
Utilize Your Online Professional Networks
- We often utilized LinkedIn and other professional job sites in our searches. These networks can highlight virtual job fairs, conferences, and professional development events in your area, all offering incredible opportunities for personal growth and networking—even if the environment is virtual. Virtual events also make it easier to foster connections with professionals from all over the country.
In addition to tips for job hunting in this new environment, we wanted to highlight some ways in which individuals starting out in their new position can better acclimate to their new organization and working life. Our careers at DCI are our first full-time positions related to our Industrial and Organizational Psychology degrees, and we would recommend the following tips for adjusting to the next phase of your career.
Tips for Starting Your New Job and Onboarding into a Fully-Virtual Position
- If working from home, try to set up a dedicated workspace separate from where you sleep, eat, or relax—of course, space permitting. This can help to draw the line between your work and home life, which can often get blurred when working from home. Additionally, make sure you have the tools and technology that you need to complete your work efficiently and productively. Your company should provide you with the tools you will need for remote work, so be sure to communicate with them on this. Last, make sure your internet connection is strong enough to accommodate your work. Some individuals may enjoy utilizing shared workspaces. If you wish to go this route, make sure the area is generally quiet and that you have the ability to keep your work confidential.
- Suggest bonding activities with your new team. This can include virtual happy hours, trivia, or even something as simple as quick, one-on-one meetings designed to get to know your coworkers better.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions! New employees may hesitate to reach out for help out of intimidation, or even fear of coming across as incompetent, upon starting their new position. Asking questions, however, is one of the best ways to not only ensure you understand the tasks assigned, but also to show your teammates that you are committed to learning and growing as a professional within the company.