30 Apr Job hunting in a pandemic
Don’t sweat the small stuff
This week I’ve been interviewing candidates on Zoom. So far, so normal. I’ve worked from home for five years and although I’d rather be out and about meeting people face to face, location and schedules often necessitate video calls.
However, like most people in the communications community, I’m now juggling the multiple responsibilities of home-working, home-schooling and feeding four people instead of one. Whereas before I would have been able to talk to you from a quiet home office, that space is in high demand, so instead I will be in my kitchen. Look closely and you’ll see a pile of washing up in the background, a dog scratching at the back door, and despite my best efforts to keep them away, one or more hungry boys/men tiptoeing around behind me.
The point is I understand what it’s like. Job hunting is stressful at the best of times but during a pandemic?
Please don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s ok with me if you’re not wearing makeup or haven’t shaved for a while (or both). You don’t need to apologise for family members popping into view, or for the doorbell ringing. You could be wearing pyjamas for all I care. I’m here to talk about your experience, skills and motivation, not to judge your surroundings and I hope you will offer me the same courtesy.
The new normal
We’re going to be working from home for a while yet. It’s unlikely our routines will ever be the same again, with our long commutes and office presenteeism.
If there is a silver lining here, it is that the lockdown has opened up a conversation about work/life balance and flexibility which the industry has paid lip service to for too long. It has now become non-negotiable. Most of us can not physically do a 10 hour a day job and manage all of our other responsibilities.
When clients are hiring, they want to get to know the whole person. You are the sum of your work and personal experiences. So please be honest about your concerns and expectations.
We’re not all in the same boat, but we are all weathering the same storm.