08 Oct Questions to Ask Employers in Interviews — Now and Post Pandemic
It’s been almost two years since the COVID-19 pandemic started a rapid shift in how we live and work. A connected, remote workforce is now the new normal at most businesses, and there is no sign of going backward. The last 18 months have challenged most of us to reevaluate what we want out of our careers and our daily working lives. A recent study from Microsoft found that 68% of American workers prefer a hybrid workplace environment, and 87% of the workforce that’s gone fully remote in recent years want to stay that way. Meanwhile, a large portion of the American workforce is reevaluating where they work and looking to change jobs and, in some cases, professions on the other side of the pandemic.
If you’re reading this blog, then there’s a good chance that you’re among the millions of job seekers searching for a fresh start either during or after the COVID-19 pandemic. Before you go diving into your first or second round of interviews, it’s essential to know which topics to cover with employers when they ask if you have any questions for them. Questions about how they’ve handled the pandemic so far and its impact on their working environment can help reveal how the organization reacts to change and how much it values and trusts its employees.
Some of these questions could be the perfect ones to tackle after receiving an offer while you’re still in the negotiation process. It’s mostly good to know where potential employers stand to ensure you aren’t ending up in a similar situation you’re attempting to leave behind.
“How have you transitioned your workforce throughout the pandemic and how did you determine which employees should return onsite?”
Asking this question can help you better understand how cautious organizations are and how much trust and flexibility leadership extends to employees. Even a quick two-minute answer will help you identify whether decisions like remote work parameters are made based on employee roles and work type or assessment of employees on a personal basis. Based on answers from employers you can better gauge how management views and empowers work-life balance.
“What work have you done to support your company culture and keep morale up since the pandemic started?”
During times of crisis, it’s easy for company culture and community to get lost in the mix of disaster planning and protecting a business and its bottom line. But there is probably no time when employees need to connect more than during uncertain times like the Covid pandemic. The usual birthday cards and cake in the break room and holiday parties went out the window entirely over the last year and a half. So, it’s good to know which employers are taking the time and energy to find creative ways to build community and keep employees connected even when they’re working remotely. Employers that prioritize company culture and value employees make the best long-term landing spots.
“Is remote or hybrid work available, and is it a permanent option?”
While hybrid and remote work opportunities used to be considered a company perk, more and more job seekers are looking for fully remote roles. Before going back for a second or third interview, it’s good to vet out remote workplace options before investing more time. Meanwhile, if the business requires all employees to report onsite daily without exception, that can give you a deeper view of organizational priorities and culture.
“How do you keep employees informed on policy changes, safety protocol, and work expectations throughout the pandemic?”
This question can help you zero in on a company’s communication style and level of organization. Seeing how an employer acts throughout a crisis can be a crucial indicator of how informed it keeps its employees during regular times. Companies that share they have actively asked associates for their feedback throughout the pandemic may have leadership that’s more apt to listen to team members across the company on a day-to-day basis.
“How is your business pacing economic changes from the pandemic?”
Depending on how your interviewer answers, this question can help you learn a lot about any turnover or layoffs since the start of the healthcare crisis. A thorough answer may also indicate how stable the company’s financial future is looking now.
While these questions are a good starting point, it’s a good idea to dig deeper before accepting an offer. You’ll want to learn how your potential employer has promoted work-life balance during the pandemic and how they supported team members through dealing with significant life changes—including helping their children with remote learning while working.
We can help.
Whether you’re looking for a fully remote position or you want to find an employer that’s cautious and flexible, Staffing Strong can help. Our talent specialists are ready to help you identify the opportunities and employers that are the right fit for your unique goals. Submit your resume and connect with us.
Meet the Author
Evelyn Vega is the Founder and President at Staffing Strong and the Past President of the Phoenix American Marketing Association. Since 1999, she’s made her career about supporting her clients in building meaningful careers and partnering with businesses in finding quality hires. In her free time, Evelyn sits on various advisory boards and enjoys practicing on her drum set!