NextGen Collective: Interviewing and Negotiating during COVID-19

Unique perspectives from an active job seeker on interviewing and negotiating during COVID-19

The month of April 2020 had been filled with ups and downs. With more than thirty million claims filed, April was the heaviest month for unemployment in the United States—and that thirty million included me.

New Beginnings

Back in 2002, I was just stepping into an uncertain world marked by a different recession. Young, naïve, and fresh out of college, I entered the working world—and the only work I could find was a job as a pizza delivery driver. I made $15 per hour, which was more than I would have made as a young architectural designer at the time. But my father could not understand how on earth I could not get a “real” job with a college degree. He simply did not understand the current job market.

After a few months and some networking, I finally landed my first professional job as an architectural designer for an architectural firm. But six months later, when the recession worsened, I was one of the first to get laid off.

Self-Improvement

Those early days of my career have fueled my passion for self-improvement in so many ways: I have continued my education and earned several more degrees and certificates, expanded my breadth of knowledge with an unconventional path of work experience, and spread my networking wings as far as the seven wonders of the world through my passion for travel and meeting new people.

This has, without a doubt, prepared me for the unprecedented events of 2020. It has set me up with an understanding of how to react and respond to situations like this in a way that allows me to continue moving forward. In fact, with my résumé and LinkedIn profile recently updated, recruiters and companies have already been contacting me.

I said to myself, “Great! The hard part—just getting your foot in the door for an interview—is done. Now, it is time to sell, sell, sell yourself. You’ll get the job soon enough.”

Interviewing and Negotiating

Here are some of my top pieces of advice for interviewing and negotiating once you’ve gotten that foot in the door:

Interviews:

  • All interviews will be conducted via phone or videoconferencing platforms (e.g., Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams).
  • For video interviews, remember to still dress up (top and bottoms, please) and look your best.
  • Do your homework: research the company that you are interviewing with and prepare questions to ask your interviewer.
  • Tell your story, but keep it brief.
  • Interviews are two-sided—you are selling yourself, but companies must sell to you too.

Negotiations:

  • Yes, you should absolutely continue to negotiate during these times.
  • Always negotiate in good faith.
  • Know your worth, but never offer the first number.
  • Understand the total offer package.
  • Always take at least twenty-four hours to prepare before responding to an offer.

Throughout all your interviewing and negotiating, remember that these are unprecedented times: this is a period of uncertainty not only for you but also for the companies that are trying to figure out how they will move forward. For some companies, it means furloughs and layoffs. For others, it means a hiring freeze. And for the rest, it is quite the opposite—they are so busy that they cannot keep up.

Connect with Karla Lockhart

In my experience with interviewing during the COVID-19 pandemic, companies that were on the verge of presenting a job offer have, sometimes at the last minute, rescinded that offer due to the uncertainty surrounding their clients and the future of the organization. This was a huge blow for me, but understandable given the circumstances.

How do you respond to this kind of situation? What can you do?

For now, all you can do is be patient and understanding, and persevere. Take this time to continue to learn and grow, have fun and play, and enjoy being around your loved ones. Stay safe, and healthy!

 


Karla Lockhart

Karla Lockhart (New York City) is a leading Digital Design Technology expert, strategist and consultant in the architecture & design, commercial real estate, and tech industries. She also runs the well-known travel blog www.lanegranomada.com.

*For more information/resources on résumé building, interviewing, and negotiating, please reach out to Karla Lockhart at kblockhart@gmail.com.

 

 


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