How to win interviews during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us the new normal. And companies are adapting to keep business as usual. If you’re having a hard time acing your interviews and landing your next job in this pandemic, perhaps you’ll need to change how you prepare and anticipate questions that may sound too easy but are asked to reveal what most recruiters and hiring managers take as signals to flunk candidates.

Most interviews these days, if not all, are done remotely through video calls. Which is both challenging for the interviewer, who now has a bigger pool but will want to save time with speedier screening in gauging suitability for a position, and the applicant who’s weighing options if it’s the ideal company to work for but will have a tough time without the opportunity to dazzle through the interview in person.

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My job search during the pandemic

Walking in solitude at the mall during the pandemic by CC Lozano

I was on an auto walkway minding my own business when out of the blue my mind sort of went on a throwback of how my job search journey was at the height of the pandemic. It wasn’t exactly a walk in the park but it sure was an unforgettable misadventure. February 2020 would have been the usual love month celebration but turned out to be a prelude to the scariest months of quarantine and lockdown. I recall people already wearing face masks that at the time were already becoming scarce and expensive coming from January that saw the Taal Volcano eruption lasting several days, with the ashfall even reaching cities in Metro Manila including Caloocan where we live. I was already rendering my final weeks at my former job of almost 15 years, both excited and apprehensive. Back then I thought I was ready, thankful for the many years of professional experience, curious and hopeful that I was seasoned enough to move to a new and relevant role. Like me and so many others praying for better days, nothing could have prepared us for COVID-19 finally being declared a global pandemic and changing our career prospects forever.

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Happy to be ghosted and rejected

My friends didn’t know, my relatives won’t believe it, but I was jobless for almost five months or during most of the lockdown period brought about by the pandemic. It was a personal struggle that kept me off the grid. And it would have been a terribly depressing situation, except I thought this can be an opportune time to finally get it rolling with starting our own business, which we did. And thankfully Camia Eats is doing well and kept me busy and my mind off my personal worries.

When the community quarantine became less stringent and companies started opening their doors to work opportunities again, that’s when I started sending out applications. I would almost always intro myself as having 25 years of professional experience but that didn’t prepare me for the onslaught of nonreplies. LinkedIn at the time was fraught with posts from budding and seasoned professionals being let go then getting frustrated from recruiters that ghosted them. Devastating to a candidate especially when one thought it was a promising lead. That’s several months of job hunting and some, if not most, are beginning to doubt they’ll get their careers back on track given the gloomy prospects of the health crisis that have yet to end.

Perhaps due to the global pandemic, there are a lot of companies that couldn’t do business anymore and too many people lost their jobs as a result and are now all looking, and recruiters are simply overwhelmed – I was trying to convince myself with this reasoning but the more I realized it was the same case for me as those frustrated posts on LinkedIn. I thought my 25-year career is already impressive but that ain’t a guarantee. It tested my faith and I was starting to lose my confidence. Until recently, I didn’t know job hunting was this tough and frustrating. Thing is, what if the job ghosting and rejections are actually pointing you in the right direction?

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