Starting a new career at any stage can be stressful, let alone during an event such as the COVID-19 pandemic. It requires a lot of faith to put yourself out there and click ‘Apply’, which after a time in lockdown, can seem like an impossible task. 

Not only are you looking for a new venture, but you’re also jumping into the unknown. We’ve spoken to someone who’s done just that, our new starter, Michelle Tarling.

Michelle tells us the five things she learnt starting a new job in a pandemic.


“Hi, I’m Michelle – a new starter here at Dentons Digital. 

Like many others I found myself made redundant during the first Covid lockdown; a frightening situation. I didn’t know where to begin looking for a new job in a challenging job market compounded by a global pandemic.

Fortunately, my journey proved fruitful, and I actually ended up learning some valuable lessons along the way.

Here are five positive things I learnt while searching for a job:

  • Companies are Still Hiring

Even though we have no experience navigating through a global pandemic before, and there can be negative press around the job market, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are still a lot of companies, like Dentons Digital, that is hiring. With remote working becoming more the norm, people’s horizons of where they can be based and where they can work have broadened. 

  • Your Interview is Going to be Very Different

The interview process has changed dramatically from the beginning of the pandemic. We’re now searching out the best spot in the house for a signal for a phone interview, praying the wifi doesn’t drop and strategically positioning the camera in case the interviewer gets a glimpse of your pyjamas.

I was lucky enough to be able to arrange a face-to-face interview, but even that process has changed. There was no hand shaking, Everyone wore face covering, and sat socially distanced. Despite all of this, I was made to feel welcome and comfortable in the interview. Although, you have to remember that the situation was new for the interviewer, too.

  • Take the Time to Build Relationships

In our life pre-covid, conversations with colleagues in a new workplace would happen naturally. We’d get acquainted passing each other in the corridor or while making a cup of tea. 

Starting a new job in lockdown has been odd in terms of getting to know people. I haven’t met 75% of my colleagues face-to-face and all communication is to be done over Microsoft Teams or phone calls. However, I have managed to get to know people just as I would if we were all still in the office.

I’m sure I’ll probably still feel like the ‘new person’ when everyone comes back into the office, but at least the ice would have been broken.

  • Expect to Face Technology Issues

Bad connections, fuzzy screens and people not realising they’re on mute are some of the few technology challenges that everyone is facing at the moment as we all communicate using screens. Even though these problems during important calls are frustrating, it helps to remember that everyone is in the same boat.

On the plus side people’s names appear on the screen next to them, so no awkward misnaming errors while getting to know who is who.

  • Take Your Time to Learn the Role

There are always mixed feelings when starting a new job; it’s an exciting yet anxious experience for many. Make sure you take your time to do your research and learn the role, practice some prepared answers to common interview questions and make sure you have a question ready to ask them. And remember communication is key, even if it is via Zoom. 

Even though my on-boarding process at Dentons Digital hasn’t been the typical start one would have previously experienced, I wouldn’t want it any other way. It has given me time to really understand the role and thoroughly learn the processes that my job entails. It has meant I have learnt new ways of communicating with colleagues and truthfully, I can’t wait to finally meet everyone over that cup of tea.