James Szepesy, MedTechVets (formerly MVPvets) mentor and Head of Operational Excellence at Genentech, shares valuable knowledge on job searching, networking, applying, employer interviews, and remote work logistics during the days of Covid-19.
With things shut down, what can I do to aid my job search?
- Network. It’s as important as ever to continue networking! Be sure to look for individuals within companies to establish a professional relationship with. Now is the time to host virtual informational interviews.
- Be persistent, and tactful. Opportunities will be there, but employers may not reach out first since they are focused on business continuity.
Should I go ahead and apply for a job even if the facility is shut down?
- Yes. If you see a job posted online, it is safe to assume that they’re still taking applications. The worst thing that would happen is you are not selected for the role – if you don’t apply you will definitely not be considered. Don’t be afraid to do your research and network with an employee at the company to better understand how they’re operating and confirm that they are still hiring.
What should I expect if someone wants to interview me by phone?
- Dress to impress
Prepare like you are going to go to an in-person interview. Even if the interview does not use video, there is a psychological component to practicing like you “fight.”
Make sure you have good bandwidth to run video and you do an ops check beforehand on the system that will be used for the interview.
- Be authentic
Let the hiring manager know upfront if there are particular background noises, distractions, or interruptions to expect.
Create your home office. Be mindful of what’s in the background and what it says, or does not say, about you.
If the hiring company wants me to work from home, what are the things you would suggest I do to prepare for that?
- Create structure for your work
You will need time to balance check-ins with your team and manager while still completing your tasks. With structured meeting times, your manager and team will know when to expect questions and updates.
- Prioritize your questions
Ask your hiring manager “what’s important for me to learn right now?” It’s good practice to send off any of your questions in advance. You will be drinking from a fire hose and will have millions of questions – focus your questions around what will help you complete the assigned work, particularly in the working from home time-frame. If you want to get to know your team or manager beyond what is expected for an assignment, schedule a social check-in and make that the purpose of the meeting.
- Be transparent
Don’t be afraid to ask for hours that work for you and your life circumstances at this time. If you are supporting home schooling, let your manager know and offer how you can flex your time to complete the work – working early in the morning, or late in the afternoon. Your calendar will be the source of truth so include times where you will not be available like doing heads-down concentrated work or attending to a family member.