Job interviews can be nerve-wracking at the best of times but especially so for mums returning to work. You might feel self-conscious about your appearance, unsure of your skills and uncertain about how your interviewers will see you.
The best way to overcome any fear and anxiety is to prepare well. Here’s a step by step guide to getting you ready for your next job interview:
1. Get the details
Once the date has been set for your job interview, make sure you have all the necessary details to hand including the physical address, interviewers name(s) and contact number in case you are running late or need directions.
Ask what format the interview will take and length of time allocated. The last thing you want is to underestimate the length of time allocated since you will have arranged childcare. If you are missing vital information don’t be afraid to email or telephone to clarify.
2. Research the company
Before your interview you should learn as much as you can about the company. There are a number of ways to research the company including the company’s website, annual reports, published articles, reports, conference papers and marketing materials. You can also research a company via a simple search online and via professional networking sites like LinkedIn, or social networks like Facebook and Google+.
3. Research the interviewers
It’s important to understand who will be interviewing you and what role they play in the company. Getting to know your interviewers before the interview will help you understand what they will be looking for in a new team member. Learn about your interviewers’ roles, responsibilities, skills and experience via the company’s website or view their public profiles on professional networking sites like LinkedIn and BeKnown.
4. Arrange childcare
It’s a good idea to arrange childcare well in advance and to have a back up option in case there are any last-minute changes in availability. Be sure to arrange for childcare for at least double the time you anticipate in case the interview goes over time or you experience any transport delays.
5. Dress for success
Make sure you have a suitable outfit to wear to your job interview that makes you feel the part. If necessary, buy a new outfit or if you are struggling financially contact Dress for Success, a charity that helps women on low incomes get back to work.
To help give you a boost, why not treat yourself to a mini makeover? Freshen up your look with a new hairdo and have your nails professionally done to make you feel your very best.
6. Do a trial run
If you have the time, do a trial run to see how long it will take you to arrive at the interview venue and which mode of transport is best. Depending on where your interview will take place, you might have a number of transport options available to you. Select the most reliable, stress free option you can so you can arrive at your interview in a good frame of mind. Especially if you have been out of work for a longer time, it can also help to lose your initial awe for e.g. large office buildings or five-star hotels.
7. Hone your interview skills
It is crucial that you set aside some time to brush up on your interview skills. Develop some practice questions you think might be asked during the interview and, if possible, have someone role-play asking you the questions. Alternatively you can hire an interview coach who will put you through your paces and provide feedback on how to answer questions effectively. For more advice on preparing for a job interview read How To Prepare For A Job Interview on the Careerworx website. In case you are worried about talking about your career gap, read What to say at the interview about your career gap and recent work experience.
Do’s and Dont’s for returning to work mums
- Do prepare as well as you can, there’s no such thing as over-preparing!
- Do be confident in your ability to fulfil the role you are being interviewed for
- Don’t voluntarily discuss your children or family circumstances during the interview unless specifically asked
- Don’t feel intimidated if questioned about your family life, remain calm and steer the conversation back to your ability to do the job
- Don’t let nerves get the better of you. If you do start to feel like a deer in headlights, take a moment to breathe and refocus.
Author: Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, BSocSc(Couns), DipCareerGuid, MICG is a Career Counsellor & Work-Life Coach at CareerWorx, Services Career worx offer include: career counselling and coaching, vocational assessment, CVs, cover letters and interview coaching.