With the workforce changed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there are newly important questions to ask in your job interview.

You got the call or email and it's happening: You've landed the interview, which means that you're one step closer to landing the role. Now is the time to start prepping to ensure that you're in the best position by the time the day comes around.

Asking questions at the end of an interview is an important part of the process. There are some questions that are always good to ask. However, given that we're in a global pandemic, there's likely to be additional things you need to know. Let's take a look at some of the things that you should mention when you ask questions during the interview.

How has the business been impacted by COVID-19?

Needless to say, the pandemic has had a major economic impact. Since the start of the outbreak, global shares have been in flux, unemployment has risen and commercial businesses have been hit by a decrease in shoppers. To ignore all of the above would be a mistake when interviewing for a new role. Both you and the interviewer will be aware of the current climate, and so it's smart to front it.

Remember, the interview is your chance to scope out the company and see what potential it has. Asking how the business has been impacted by COVID-19 will help you do that. You should get an honest answer about whether the company has had to downsize or take a new approach to processes. Understanding how the business functions in times of crisis will give you an idea of whether it's the right place for you.

What are the biggest challenges the pandemic has brought up?

Next up, let's talk about the challenges brought on by the pandemic. This is one of the most important COVID-19 questions to ask during an interview. Chances are, the company has had to adapt and start using new systems as a result of the outbreak. For example, the team may be working remotely or there may be fewer staff members. Whatever the obstacle, you need to know about it ahead of time.

Let's face it: There's a reason that the HR team are recruiting for a new position. Before you accept the job, you're going to need to understand all the challenges it will entail. Don't be afraid to ask about potential issues that may come up in the future. Being well-versed in any of these things now will help you to prepare yourself and, ultimately, decide whether to take the role.

Does the company offer flexible work options?

One of the biggest ways that COVID-19 has changed the professional world is the increase in flexible work options. The BBC reports that this approach to work could be the new normal in the wake of the pandemic. Essentially, that means that many employers are now looking at new ways to approach work and how they can adapt their business to deal with the current reality. With that in mind, during the interview, it's worth asking whether the workplace is offering remote opportunities or even flexible work patterns.

What regulations have the business adopted to keep staff safe?

If the team is working on-site, one interview question to ask about COVID-19 is about how the company is ensuring its employees' safety. Business owners have a duty to ensure that workplaces are COVID-secure when staff members come back to the workplace. (It's important to note that these guidelines vary depending on the type of company. Read up on the rules for your industry.)

If you're worried about this issue, don't panic. When you're in the interview, you can ask about these regulations and practices. This question will help you ensure that the workplace you could be joining is safe and secure. It will also help to put your mind at ease for the interview itself, if it is on-site.

What did your company do for its employees during the height of lockdown?

Stress levels rose dramatically during the height of lockdown. Within those who reported experiencing high anxiety during this period, one in five stated that it was because they found it hard to work from home. When the pandemic broke out, people's professional lives changed overnight. For many of us, the sudden shift towards home working and endless Zoom calls was a lot to handle.

Whilst we were travelling uncharted waters, the COVID-19 outbreak was an opportunity for company heads to show how much they could support their team. Some managers and HR teams rose to the challenge, offering mental health support and flexible working and adapting to suit the staff's needs. However, there's a chance that many businesses fell short of the baseline requirements.

Want to figure out which category this company falls into? When you're in the interview, all you have to do is ask a simple question. Enquiring about the measures the business took to help employees is a savvy move, as the answer you get will help you understand how staff members are valued. Don't be afraid to delve into this area and find out what level of support you can expect in the future.

What are the business' top priorities in the coming months?

It's likely that the pandemic has caused business owners to refocus their priorities. When you're interviewing for the role, show some enthusiasm by asking what these are. Finding out what the company's aims are for the coming months will help you to understand where you slot into things. You can also ask how the position you're interviewing for will support these goals in the short term.

Gaining this insight early on will give you a chance to decide whether the job is for you. The interviewer will explain what slack you'll be expected to pick up as well as the areas you will be focussed on. With any luck, the priorities that they highlight will sit firmly into your skill set. If that's the case, you will know that the role you're interviewing for will suit you, should you land it.

Asking the right questions

Asking these crucial pandemic questions during your interview is a smart move. The more information you can gain about the role and the company, the better position you will be in. Plan ahead which questions you intend to ask to ensure you are ready to discuss them clearly and eloquently.

Job searching during a pandemic brings new challenges. Make sure your CV is ready with a free CV review.

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