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The question

I lost my job because of COVID-19 cutbacks. With the difficult circumstances around the pandemic, I’m considering applying for jobs in other cities in Canada with more work opportunities. It would require me to relocate, but I’m willing to do it for the right job. I’m wondering if employers consider out-of-town applicants less seriously and what kinds of questions I should be prepared for during interviews.

The first answer

Susan Tohyama, chief human resources officer, Ceridian, Toronto: In today’s changing job climate, your skill set – not geography – will be the most important criteria for a hiring manager. That said, here are a few things recruiters might ask you:

1. Are you leaving a large metropolitan area and can you offer a different perspective to a smaller community? Highlighting that in your application will help you stand out from the competition.

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2. What is your experience as a self-starter? No employer can discount someone due to a job loss driven by COVID-19. (And if they do, that should be a red flag.) What they do value is someone who can stay on task without constant supervision.

3. What is your realistic ability to relocate? How soon would you be available to start a position? What are your expectations for financial assistance to make the move, if any?

4. How have you dealt with adversity and change? This disruption has led many to refine how and where they get work done. Use this moment to highlight your ability to adapt and thrive under these conditions.

5. Talk about your successes. Employers are interested in understanding one’s strengths, contributions and influence. Highlight your accomplishments and provide context to showcase past performance.

My last piece of advice is clarifying what matters to you in a post-COVID world. Inquire about their ability to offer a flexible work schedule and what the company culture is relative to attending to personal needs at home.

Receiving clarity early on will leave you far more satisfied with the job and the decision to move.

The second answer

Zuleika Sgro, vice-president, people, Saje Natural Wellness, Vancouver and Toronto: First, I wish you all the best in your job search and celebrate your flexibility in this time.

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I absolutely think employers are looking for talent in more new ways than before this pandemic and are being more flexible with candidates, especially those in high demand industries and essential services. My advice is to make it clear in your résumé and cover letter of your openness to relocate. In addition, start to plan for yourself how you would do so should an opportunity for the right role become available.

I would also prepare and come to terms with the fact that you may need to pay for your own relocation. If this is feasible for you, make it clear in the interview process that you have a plan and are prepared to invest yourself in your relocation for your career. In addition, I would recommend networking with people in the geographical areas you are applying in to get as familiar as possible with the city and to integrate as quickly as possible. All the best in your journey ahead.

Have a question for our experts? Send an e-mail to NineToFive@globeandmail.com.

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