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Interview questions job seekers should ask about COVID-19

Published: Wednesday 28th October 2020

At the end of job interviews candidates are often asked if they have any questions about the business or job role itself. There is now also a precedent for asking interview questions related to COVID-19. It’s expected that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will stretch deep into next year and possibly beyond. This is why it’s important for job seekers to know everything they can about a business’s approach to COVID-19.

Here’s a list of interview questions for job seekers that will help make sure employers are completely transparent with you regarding how they treat employees and how future proof the business is.

Preventing the spread should be among your interview questions

COVID-19 safety measures in the workplace

“What safeguarding measures do you have in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19?”

No matter what industry you are working in or the role you are applying for, this question is 100% relevant. This can relate to masks being worn, social distancing, protective screens, increased workplace cleaning, and hand sanitiser stations. You need to make sure your employer is following government guidance and is serious about the well-being of their staff members.

“Do you offer working from home opportunities?”

Remote working has become increasingly popular this year and is seen as the way forward by some businesses. Productivity has either seen a rise or maintained a similar level to pre-lockdown. For those office workers who do prefer working in an office, you ultimately need to know if that will be possible. There could be a limit to how many days of the week you can be in the office for. There may be restrictions that prevent you working from home, making working in an office is an essential part of your choice.

If the role allows you to work from home for four or five days a week, you could potentially accept job offers from further afield as your travel costs will be reduced. While this question certainly won’t apply to those working in nursing and medical jobs or in construction for example, you could alter the question to “do you provide flexible working hours?”

Financial implications

“How will my pay be affected if I need to self-isolate?”

This one isn’t just about money. It’s a way of finding out what type of person you’re working for. If you’re kept on full pay for the entire duration of your isolation, then that’s quite an incredible gesture. Some companies however have been seen to offer just statutory sick pay if staff can’t work from home. This could encourage staff to lie to employers about needing to self-isolate, because they can’t afford to take the financial hit. Therefore, the most likely policy you’ll encounter will be somewhere between the two approaches above.

 

Man in self-isolation

“What economic impact has COVID-19 had on your business?”

Your interview questions need provoke answers that fill you with confidence. So even though this might be a sensitive question for some employers, you have a right to know. Nobody wants to accept a new job offer and then be let go in a short space of time. Make sure you know there is sound footing before you step aboard. Don’t be put off if a company is honest enough to admit they really struggled, most have. You simply need to know that they’ve bounced back well and are moving in the right direction.

Employer reputation

“How did your business treat staff members when the country was placed into lockdown?”

Only 4% of job seekers would work for an employer with a poor COVID-19 track record

In a recent survey of Zoek’s job seekers, aimed at determining candidate motivations in the face of COVID-19, we found that only 4% would consider working for an employer with a negative reputation because of their actions towards staff in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Interview questions like this can be a real eye opener. You want to hear that they kept all their staff employed. As a bonus it would be great to hear that they topped their furloughed staff up to 100% pay. But beware of those who let staff go. It may have been essential in some cases. However considering the level of government support, at the very least check out what past employees have to say about the company on sites like Glassdoor.

Should you need any support preparing for your job interview, visit our Info Hub and dig in to our job seeker blogs. Register for a job seeker account to make use of all our intelligent features.

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