The pandemic changed so much about how we work that it probably inspired you to rethink your work-life priorities. Maybe you realized that you’re burnt out, that working from home is your ideal setup, or that you just dislike your job. So, as you’re figuring out what your new normal will look like in the wake of the pandemic, you might want a fresh start with a new job.
“Why are you looking for a new job?” is a question you’ve probably heard in past job interviews. Thinking through your reasoning for changing jobs will not only prepare you to answer, but it will also help you feel secure that you’re making a mindful move and not simply jumping on the great resignation bandwagon. If you’ve been laid off simply say so.
Be honest, but positive, about other reasons. Explain how you need a more flexible schedule, how you realized you work best at home, how you’re eager to use skills or a vision you believe in, or how you’re looking for more joy and passion in your work—just make sure you can tie your reasoning to the role and organization you’re interviewing for.
Tapping into your existing network of family, friends, and past co-workers can help you stand out in the increasingly competitive landscape. Any referrals, insights, or insider information you can gather will guide you in knowing what questions to ask during interviews and which skills to emphasize throughout the hiring process. Informal conversations can also offer intel about what it will be like to work at a company and whether it’s a good fit for you, Cummings says. The more you know, the more you can show how excited you are about joining the company—which will leave a lasting impression.
You probably already know that submitting the same generic resume for every job isn’t a good move. Swapping out or reframing the skills, accomplishments, and past jobs that you include on your resume depending on the job you’re applying for shows what you know about the role and company and will help get your application noticed. These days, you need to tailor everything to the moment, too.
Employers want to get a sense of how you held up during the pandemic and how you adapted to change. So, recruiters and hiring managers will likely ask about your pandemic experience. Don’t let it intimidate you.
Be prepared to talk about what you learned about yourself and how you work, how you adapted to all the changes, how you quickly adjust to new situations, and how you cope with work-related stress. With many companies continuing to work remotely or taking a hybrid approach, you’ll likely be asked questions about your remote-work style and experiences, including how you figure things out as you go, how you communicate and collaborate from afar, and how you stay organized and motivated.
Interviewers are looking for flexibility, agility, and an ability to strategize. Coming out of the pandemic, organizations need people who can learn and adapt quickly when something comes up. Emphasizing how you strengthened these qualities during the pandemic will set you apart from other applicants. It’s definitely a time to talk about any skills that were gained and tell stories about how you had to pivot quickly.
Many organizations are still conducting video job interviews. If you haven’t gotten used to video calls over the past 18 months or don’t like being on camera, it’s time to reframe that thinking. Zoom likely isn’t going anywhere post-pandemic, so you want to show your interviewers that you’re comfortable hosting and participating in video meetings.
Even if you’ve been hopping on video calls with your co-workers for months, take a few extra steps to prepare for an interview. It never hurts to test the video and audio and always declutter your background, minimize disruptions, dress professionally, and look at the camera, not yourself.
Make sure you still treat a video interview as you would an in-person one. You’re likely competing with many other applicants, so taking a little extra care with your video interview will help you stand out—and on the flip side, underestimating the importance of this conversation could cost you the job. Address everyone on the call, don’t interrupt, and have well-informed, thoughtful responses prepared.