Amid the coronavirus pandemic, businesses have been making adjustments to office policies and employment practices. Some unfortunately had to lay off employees or shut down operations entirely, forcing professionals to seek new jobs or sources of income during this difficult time. Some industries however are still open and continuously hiring new employees such as customer service and warehouse workers, package handlers, accountants and healthcare workers. 

But without a doubt, looking for a new job amid this pandemic will entail novel, unforeseen challenges. 

Recruiters have expressed that candidates will now have to think of more creative ways to stand out. We asked our newly hired brand storytelling and content manager Edward Jacinto on what it was like to start a new job in the middle of a global crisis. He officially joined Hinge on Mar. 23 and has since been working with us from home.

A CHANGE OF EXPECTATION

Just like any new hire, Jacinto was excited to experience a fresh office environment. But this has yet to happen due to the announcement of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). Although he was aware of the growing threat of the coronavirus last January, Jacinto decided to make the transition after almost deciding to back off and stay with his previous employer. 

“I almost opted to stay with my previous role but ultimately, my passion to bring new things in a fun and creative environment pushed me to move. Although I haven’t personally met my colleagues yet, video calls with them make my day a bit better and inspire me to do the best I can. Having virtual officemates every day is a new experience but it also makes me look forward to meeting everyone in person.”

Given my experience though, if you’re really passionate about the career opportunity that is being offered, it can be scary, but this might be the kind of push you need to take your career into your hands.

OVERCOMING TECHNOLOGICAL DIFFICULTIES

As we welcome the new normal, technology has been playing a more vital role in communication. Luckily for Jacinto, a large part of his work is grounded on digital, which made the work-from-home arrangement easier even for today’s standards. 

“The onboarding process was done via a series of video calls throughout the day. It was a new experience for both the host and me, and it was more about learning how to ask the right questions about the company at the time. The only difficult part, he says, is fulfilling government requirements like SSS, TIN and Pag-Ibig. 

“As far as I know, most of these, if not all, require personal appearance in the agencies. Our HR has helped facilitate the transfer for some of these but there’s still things that need to be processed when we’re allowed to move.”

ALWAYS BE PREPARED

But despite his seemingly successful storyline, Jacinto recommends job seekers to weigh their options first before leaving their current companies so they wouldn’t be left unemployed. 

“I’d say to err on the side of caution given these uncertain times. Don’t leave your current employer unless you have a guarantee that you will have a new role if you’re still employed. Given my experience though, if you’re really passionate about the career opportunity that is being offered, it can be scary, but this might be the kind of push you need to take your career into your hands. If you’ve decided that you are indeed taking the job, make sure you’re in it 100 percent (or more if capacity allows).

For new job seekers out there, I hope that you are still taking interview opportunities even through video and phone. When I go to interviews or meet with a prospective employer, I research the company and think of how my skills would add value to them. Always be prepared even at home (some initial screenings are done via phone calls), and lastly, if you find rejections coming your way, be persistent and keep on exploring other openings.”

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