How to handle job interviews as a return to work mum
The decision to return to work after time off with the kids isn’t easy, and depending on how long you’ve been out of the jobs market, it can seem daunting, coping with all the changes.
The main thing you need to remember is that if you’re the right woman for the job, taking time out of the workplace while you bring your children up need not be a barrier to you getting it.
Never apologise for being a stay at home mum. Be confident about your decisions and if you feel the need to explain it, just say that is was the best decision for your family at the time, but now you are ready to return to the world of work. No other explanation is needed.
In addition to being confident about your status as a full time mum, you’ll need to project confidence in your ability to get back into working life, so make sure that you have evidence that you’re up to date with technology and the industry you’re interviewing for. Depending on how long you’ve been a full time mum; things may well have changed, especially with technology and communications, or in legal jobs. Swot up on jargon and technical terms, research, read blogs and get up to date on all the latest news. You don’t want the interviewer to catch you out.
Things like dress codes might have changed so a little surreptitious research into what people wear in the office wouldn’t go amiss. It’s better to dress up, rather than down, for an interview, but if you’re going for a creative job you wouldn’t want to dress too formally. Try and get a feel for the company or you could just ask employees if you are actively networking on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.
Be prepared for questions about how you’ve kept your knowledge fresh and up to date while you’ve been away from the work force. You might need to explain any vocational courses you’ve taken, or that you’ve done evening classes. Mention any industry-related books you subscribe to on the subject or books you’ve read.
Remember that whatever your previous work status, employers are not allowed to ask you how you’re going to take care of the children if you get a job, or if you plan to have any more.
You’re just as good as any potential candidate for the job, and the fact you’ve got as far as an interview means that the interviewers think so, too. Stay confident, give lots of examples of ways you’ve stayed up to date with your knowledge and skills, and good luck!