Head of Badenoch & Clark
To say this is a time of change would be an understatement. This pandemic has been one of the most disruptive and dramatic events that Switzerland's job market has experienced since the Second World War. Even when you compare this event to previous periods of economic crisis and recession, nothing compares to what we have experienced today. Of course, where there is uncertainty, there are opportunities. This is especially true for highly skilled and talented workers here in Switzerland.
Why candidates might consider changing jobs now?
This might seem a strange time to switch roles. After all, we are in a world where the pandemic appears to be entering a second wave. We could even experience border closures and another lockdown here in Switzerland. Surely this is not the time to add to the uncertainty by changing jobs?
In answer to this question, I think it’s fair to say that it’s the bold that will be rewarded. Switzerland will continue to face a shortage of skilled talent regardless of the coronavirus. It’s just a matter of whether you are willing to take a chance.
While some jobs have been cut due to the pandemic, others are being created. Certain sectors have suffered (hospitality, traditional retail and entertainment), but others have clearly benefitted (pharmaceuticals, technology, e-commerce and logistics). Other industries have also been left largely untouched (banking and finance). In short, there has been no decline in interesting opportunities if you are a skilled worker.
So, for those who find themselves in the interview room, here are three questions to consider when quizzing the interviewer.
1. Is this a new role or an existing one?
Strange though it may seem, this is an important question to ask. The pandemic has disrupted many companies operationally across all different sectors. Subsequently, companies have had to rethink how they are structured. Some existing jobs might not be as valuable as they once were and can be outsourced to agencies and freelancers. Meanwhile, there could be a wave of new roles that are now seen as vital in the post coronavirus world.
For instance, there will be new IT infrastructure jobs needed to support remote workers and keep companies running. This could also create new roles in logistics and operations. The Pharmaceutical sector might also require new skilled workers for research and development.
Existing roles could benefit too. Consider for instance investor relations, PR and corporate communications. During periods of business uncertainty, these roles are vital for a company.
2. What support can I expect when working remotely?
This is important to ask because how company has performed remotely during the pandemic gives a candidate an understanding of how secure the job is going to be. If there was very little disruption to the company’s operations during the lockdown then it’s unlike that they will go bankrupt or lay off workers.
From the company's perspective, promoting this type of stability during a time of crisis could be very valuable when promoting their employer brand. Although good opportunities are important, so is job security. A candidate that is certain they will receive both a great opportunity plus security, is more likely to sign a job contract without hesitation.
3. Do you support lifelong learning?
Weird as this might seem, this question reflects the post-Covid reality that we are now entering. Even before the pandemic, many skilled workers were considering how to future-proof their careers in this new fast-paced digital world. The pandemic if anything, has increased the urgency to meet this need.
Constant reskilling and upskilling will be required. It is what's known as lifelong learning. The danger of not considering this as part of your employment package is that you can become vulnerable in the future.
Although experience is valuable, it also needs to remain relevant for your future employers. A lack of training or re-education might leave your skills and experience that you have redundant in the future. If you get laid off ten years after joining a company and you have made little effort to adapt, you might find it difficult to find another job.
Why these questions will be music to a future employer’s ears
I believe these are the question that top candidates should ask during the interview process. It demonstrates the quality of what they have to offer to future employers. It sends a clear message that they are keen and eager, but also willing to grow with the company they plan to join. I believe this is a winning strategy for those seeking new opportunities in a post-Coronavirus world.