Rejoining the Workforce with High Unemployment – Preparing for the Interview

By Anna Marie MacDonald, Workforce Connection Center Manager, Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin

As the workforce begins the work of rebuilding, it’s important to keep in mind that we are now in an employer’s market. With an overabundance of talent, employers can be very selective about who they hire. To put your best foot forward, preparation is key.

First, find time each day to reflect on all your day-to-day work tasks. This reflection should include your interactions with all colleagues, your manager, external customers and clients. You must contemplate:

  • What are your behaviors? Think of how you reacted to situations such as challenges, not agreeing with your supervisor and managing different personalities.
  • What are your accomplishments? List everything you are proud of in your previous positions. Think of the customers that sent you thank-you letters, any goals you exceeded, new programs you implemented, and how you stayed safe on the job, for example.
  • What did you enjoy the most or like the least in your positions? This is not the same as your strengths and weaknesses. You might be good at a task, but dread having to do it.
  • What are your strengths? If you don’t know, reach out to your former colleagues or managers and ask them.
  • What are your weaknesses? Are your skills relevant? What actions are you taking to turn a weakness into a strength? Employers need to know if your weaknesses will hinder you from being successful on the job.
  • What are your values? Honesty, integrity, confidentiality? When applying for jobs, be aware of the company’s values. More often than not, the employer will ask you behavioral questions reflective of their company values. Think about your actions and provide examples to back up these shared values.
  • What technical skills do you possess? What has changed in the industry? Ask experts on LinkedIn. Utilize free educational websites, such as, to continue to learn new skills. Both technical and employment essential competencies, sometimes called soft skills, are important.

Second, reflect on your transferable skills. These are the skills you bring to every position.

  • Interpersonal skills: Assisting others, responding to concerns
  • Organizational skills: Follow through, meeting deadlines, setting goals
  • Leadership: Delegating, managing, motivating others
  • Communication: Writing and editing, presenting, translating, explaining

Third, write your résumé and prepare for the interview.

Because you have taken time to ponder all your work tasks, interactions, behaviors and accomplishment, writing your résumé and preparing for the interview will be much easier. You can build an online résumé so you can easily apply to jobs and be found by employers; visit this Indeed + Goodwill page to learn more.

If you need assistance, consider scheduling a virtual, mock interview with an employee at a Goodwill career center near you. Practice and receiving open, honest feedback are the best ways to improve.

To find a virtual career center near you, visit the Goodwill Locator, enter your ZIP code, select the “Headquarters” option from the filter and contact the Goodwill for more information.

Reposted with permission from Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin.

This Goodwill Week, follow the hashtag #GoodwillWeek on your favorite social media to be inspired by the good happening in the world during the pandemic.