4 Questions to Ask In an Interview in 2021
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Are you a job candidate preparing for an interview? Or a hiring manager seeking relevant interview questions to ask in a post-pandemic workspace? Job trends in 2021 are looking drastically different, and we’ve compiled the top four interview questions reflecting these shifts. Whether you’re a job candidate or employer, don’t miss out on these important questions to ask in an interview plus how to answer them.
Job Trends in 2021 Affecting What to Ask In an Interview
It’s crucial we recognize just how much the pandemic has altered our work environment. We saw steady job growth over the last three months, achieving the lowest unemployment rate of 4.8% since the outbreak of the pandemic. And the U.S. continues on its path towards COVID and economic recovery. The demands for remote and hybrid models have surged (to name a few), influencing recruitment and interview processes across industries and companies.
These are the job trends to know, reported by Simplilearn:
- Virtual recruitment is now compulsory. Although we’ve seen mass rollouts of the vaccine since early this year, social distancing persists until the COVID situation is under control. LinkedIn reports that “81% of recruiters feel virtual recruitment will continue even post-COVID.”
- More people have opted for contract or freelance work. As job seekers prioritize remote work like never before, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that “43% of the U.S. workforce would form a part of the gig economy.”
- Companies want candidates with cross-functional skills. Employers are focusing on those who wish to grow with them, enacting training and mentorship initiatives to develop stronger cross-functional teams.
- The recruitment process is lengthier. Employers are also looking for people they can retain. According to Simplilearn, “hiring managers are taking time to gauge the candidates’ inclination to learn future skills and commitment level towards the company. Interviews are more behavioral for the correct assessment of personality traits to ensure the best cultural fit.”
Candidates and employers alike are reassessing what they want. While job seekers reskill themselves and veer into new careers, companies have tuned into mutually beneficial opportunities for higher retention and, therefore, positive business outputs.
The initial interview makes or breaks first impressions. So, what to ask in a job interview? Without further ado, here are the top four interview questions to ask and expect in 2021 and beyond –
#1: “Have you worked remotely? If yes, what have you done to adapt to an at-home environment?”
This study found that “80% of full-time workers expect to work from home at least three times per week” and “one in two people won’t return to jobs that don’t offer remote work.”
Remote and hybrid work models have become a prerequisite for many. It’s a topic to not only talk about but emphasize. Doing so gives candidates the expectation of at-home work. On the flip side, employers can vet individuals for the skills needed in successful remote collaborations—skills like time management, communication, and teamwork.
How to answer, “What have you done to adapt to an at-home environment?”
- Highlight the ability to work independently and with others. Mention specific examples, especially about digital modes. E.g., “I believe the success of working at home boils down to knowing the ins and outs of my job expectations and meeting them. I’ve been able to crank up my problem-solving methods by being resourceful. I read through every brief, email, and knowledge-sharing document as thoroughly as possible. If I have questions, I reach out to my team. Creating and sticking to my workflow has helped me with getting my work done on time. Using different project management tools, meeting software, and other team-specific platforms is easy for me. I write clearly when pushing a task for review. Before going into a video conference, I prepare notes in advance to relay everything I need to in the most efficient way.”
#2: “How would you manage your professional relationships while working remotely?”
At the end of the day, business is about people. Even solitary positions such as computer programming require interpersonal skills for building professional relationships that ultimately bridge various tasks and projects together. The pandemic created a barrier to in-person interactions; employers want to know how candidates can navigate these constraints.
How to answer, “How would you manage your professional relationships while working remotely?”
- Stress the importance of communication. Show reliability and empathy. E.g., “I’ve learned how miscommunication can waste valuable time. That’s why I’d make sure to be available on every communication channel during work hours, be it chat, video, or phone. Jumping on a quick 15-minute call can make all the difference. Although remote working entails working alone, I’m still part of a wider team. Understanding this in my current position helps me fulfill my duties, keep members informed, and expect the same from others. To foster a positive team culture, I’d also take my time to show that I care. During video calls, you’ll see that I’m engaged—I’ll give a nod or thumbs up. I’ll give and request feedback. I’ll ask for opportunities to share our experiences with one another.”
#3: “What do you want from this job and your career?”
Employers want higher retention, looking for candidates who can commit to their company for years ahead. This question gives interviewees the chance to share how they plan to stay for the long haul.
How to answer, “What do you want from this job and your career?”
- Prove how personal motivations align with the job. E.g., “I’ve studied what this job requires of me, as well as the company culture I can expect to step into. I wish to work in a space that cannot just use but maximize my skills and talents. At the same time, I want to grow with the people I get to work with. Your organization provides exciting potential for upward mobility in my field that I can feel passionate about working towards.”
#4: “What have you done during the pandemic to develop yourself?”
Companies are constantly evolving to stay profitable throughout large-scale events like the pandemic. And employers are searching for those who can adjust with them. Preference is given to candidates who are proactive in their professional self-development and willing to expand their skills for cross-functional or freelance teams.
How to answer, “What have you done during the pandemic to develop yourself?”
- Describe the initiatives you’ve taken, such as consulting a mentor, enrolling in a course, or networking. E.g., “I’ve attended several online seminars where I’ve learned about the newest trends, innovations, and challenges in my field. My network has grown, and it’s been a pleasure connecting with industry experts whom I talk to regularly. Besides gaining knowledge, these connections have supplied me with a sense of solidarity and optimism to continue what I’m doing despite the ongoing uncertainties in our economy.”
+1 Bonus Question: “Do you have any questions for me?”
As an employer, offer to answer any questions your candidates may have. If you’re a candidate wondering what to ask an employer in an interview, here are a few questions.
Job interview questions to ask an employer:
- “Can you tell me about the team I’d be working with?”
- “Can you walk me through what an average day or week in this position looks like?”
- “What would my career trajectory look like?”
- “How has your work area changed in response to the pandemic?”
- “Who can I ask if I have a question about COVID-19 safety protocols?”
Now You Know What Questions to Ask In an Interview. What Next?
With lengthier recruitment processes, you’ll most likely go through a second interview. Check out this guide for how to prepare: Attending a Second Interview? 7 Questions to Prepare for