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Have You Thought About This Interview Question?

YWCA Saskatoon’s Employment and Learning Centre remains closed for in-person programs in light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.  We will continue to provide remote services via email, telephone, and social media (Facebook).

We believe it is important to maintain your job search momentum. As such the Employment and Learning Centre will offer you daily job search advice and support that you can complete from home.

Today’s post is another post in the series….

In the article “Interview Q&A | What Did You Do During the Quarantine?”, author Alexis Perrotta notes as we are “slowly figuring out how we may move forward, new questions have started to bubble up.”

She identifies that as the next phase of your job search opens more and interviews begin to happen more frequently again, “you may find yourself in front of an interviewer (be it virtually or face-masked and socially distanced), and there’s a chance that you’ll be asked about your experience over the recent months.” Perrotta suggests that thinking about this will allow you to “leverage anything you may have undertaken or learned during the quarantine”.

Some suggestions:

Be ready for this type of question and prepare your answer – plan ahead and rehearse to ensure you keep it short and concrete.

If you engaged in some learning, “talk about it in detail! Intellectual curiosity is always a plus in a job applicant.”  It shows your interest in learning and that you are “self-motivated”.  Reading, learning or practicing a new skill or hobby, or taking a course online are examples she shares.  Perrotta notes it’s good “to elaborate on” your area of choice; “explain why you undertook the activity, the steps you took and “one positive impact of your learning.”

If you “dedicated some time to personal reflection and growth” it may be difficult to put it into words but it’s worth the effort.  Identifying you have the “ability to reflect is a great quality”.  Activities could include “learning something about yourself (boundaries, work style, self-care), developing a deeper understanding of yourself and community with family or working on a passion project.”

If you found yourself in a position where you had to step out of your comfort zone “having to set some new boundaries or saying no to limit screen time or asking for what you need”, these reflect personal growth and can be seen as an advantage by an employer

Perrotta also advises sharing anything you did to “connect with or support your community and others around the world during COVID-19”.  This includes “volunteering, connecting with neighbors, or participating in a mutual aid group.” Any online support groups can also be considered here.  Keep your explanation short and to the point.

The author acknowledges the realities of those “things that are most important: health, family, food and shelter” and if that’s all you had time for you can just respond with that.  Her final piece of advice is if you’re not sure what to say, be honest about your experience and express your enthusiasm for now being there exploring ways “to support your organization’s [company’s] mission.”

Need assistance to construct your answer to this or other interview questions?  Your Employment and Learning staff are working remotely through email or over the telephone.  Should you have any questions about interview questions, how to prepare, or how to answer those difficult questions, feel free to contact any of your Employment and Learning staff for support.  You can reach us at:

Stay motivated; stay healthy as you achieve your employment goals.

Article:  Interview Q&A | “What Did You Do During Quarantine?”    Alexiis Perrotta May 26, 2020

https://www.idealist.org/en/careers/interview-qa-quarantine