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Asking the Right Questions: Accepting a Job During the Pandemic

April 27th, 2020

Four people are around a table with laptops. A woman and man are sitting, smiling. Two men are standing, shaking hands across the table.
Young modern men in smart casual wear shaking hands and smiling while working in the creative office

Even if you find yourself in a position or an industry that has been spared from severe economic hardship or layoffs, there is still anxiety about changing jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing what types of questions to ask a potential new employer or a recruiter is critical to your career when there are so many unknowns. There is a new normal that we will face, and it is important to understand how it will impact your new job.

Consider the following questions as you navigate the hiring process during this time?

Have you had to lay off or furlough any staff? Which ones?

This question can be asked in many ways, but it is important to understand the general well-being of the organization. If there are lay offs or furloughs, who were they?

Is there a waiting period for health benefits?

For many, COBRA or the health insurance marketplace may be too expensive – even in the short-term. Find out if there is a waiting period on health benefits. If there is, ask them to waive it and negotiate this into your package.

How will I be on-boarded?

If your potential employer is currently WFH, how are they on-boarding new employees? Will you receive equipment? Will you have someone to walk you through the first few days in the same way you would in an office / team setting? How are they dealing with team introductions and assignments?

How am I being evaluated?

It is important to understand the how and what of evaluation if you will be starting your new job while working at home (when you would otherwise be in an office environment –even partially).

What are the measures of success? Am I expected to produce on the first day? The first week? The first month? Who will be evaluating my performance? Who can I go to with questions?

When am I expected to be available?

Find out whether you have core hours or whether you have flexibility. Will this continue once things are back to ‘normal’? If the position is traditionally in-office, how many days will you be expected in the physical office?

Is there any flexibility? For example, many schools or after-school care programs are closed for the remainder of the academic year.

What will the transition back to ‘normal’ be?

While a plan may not yet be fully formed, particularly in areas of high impact, it is reasonable to ask how the company will be addressing changes in the office – cleanings, social distancing, masks, seating arrangements, staggered shifts, in-person meetings, etc.  It is important to understand these changes and expectations.

The Talener team is currently working from home and providing continued (but adapted!) services to our clients and candidates. If you have questions about the types of companies that are hiring and how the hiring process is functioning during this time, please feel free to contact us.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

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