Finding Employment in the Age of Coronavirus
9/1/2020 1:00:00 PM

Finding Employment in the Age of Coronavirus

As of July 2020, the unemployment rate in the United States was 10.2%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which means there are A LOT of people currently out there looking for a job. It is important for job seekers to understand that, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have reassessed and altered their hiring practices. Some businesses hope to bring back experienced workers who were laid off or furloughed; and companies seeking to hire new talent are discovering new avenues for recruitment, such as virtual and drive-up job fairs.

Ashley Ortego, PHR, SHRM-CP, SMC and Imperial Calcasieu Society for Human Resource Management (ICSHRM) President-Elect, says the Louisiana Workforce Commission has held multiple virtual career fairs, and universities are also transitioning to online recruiting events. "‘Booths’ are now five-minute commercials that are emailed to job seekers,” she adds.

One of the biggest trends in the hiring process since the advent of coronavirus is a significant increase in the number of online job interviews. Ortego says that while virtual interviews were catching on prior to the pandemic, she has seen approximately a 50% increase in the percentage of interviews conducted virtually. Aside from the obvious reason – increased protection from the virus for both the interviewers and the candidates – employers have realized other advantages to online interviews such as reduced travel costs and an increase in productivity, says Ortego. Other hiring practices that have been adjusted include rescheduling or delaying hiring until a safer time, requiring masks during in-person interviews, social distancing in an area with good ventilation, sanitizing table and chairs after the interview, and no hand shaking.

Ortego says seeking employment is a job in and of itself. She offers the following advice to job-seekers:

  • Have a tracking sheet with data such as company name, position title, contact names, salary, and date applied.  
  • Update your LinkedIn profile and connect with professionals and groups in your community.  
  • Only apply to jobs for which you meet the minimum qualifications.
  • Check your email daily.  
  • Try to only apply on the actual company website regardless of where you found the posting. Some postings are outdated and your application will end up lost in cyberspace.  
  • Follow-up with the recruiter or hiring manager for a status update, but do not come off as demanding. HR professionals are juggling even more than usual these days, so a single email may result in a faster response.

Connect with ICSHRM as an available resource to area businesses on LinkedIn, Facebook, or email us at  Membership is free in 2020.

Experts agree there is nothing more fundamental to getting a job than interviewing well, but can you do it well via a screen? Consider these tips on video interviewing: 

  • Find a quiet, private, well-lit place, free from possible interruptions.
  • Ensure your internet connection is stable.
  • Check that your computer’s audio is working.
  • Test your computer’s webcam.
  • Close any unnecessary web browser tabs and applications.
  • Dress professionally and avoid bright colors.
  • Have a pen, notepad and copy of your resume on your desk.
  • When listening, nod and smile to show you are engaged.
  • Use hand gestures when appropriate.
  • Place your phone in silent mode.
  • Avoid coffee shops and other communal spaces.

You’ll need:

  • An internet connection with bandwidth speed of at least one megabit per second.
  • A laptop or desktop computer with a webcam. In some cases, a tablet or smartphone may also be an option, but set up the device in a stationary position rather than hold it.
  • Headphones with a built-in microphone or headphones and a separate microphone.
  • Position your webcam so that you have a neutral background that’s free from distractions.
Posted by: Angie Kay Dilmore | Submit comment | Tell a friend


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