Re-entering the workforce after maternity leave can be nerve-wracking. You may feel that your professional skills are a bit rusty because of a long gap. A weird sense of anxiety engulfs some ladies. It’s ok to have all these emotions and feelings. However, all you need is just a little preparation to handle tricky job interview questions.
Interviews are the opportunities for you to shine and show your achievements that you have accomplished while on mommy duty. You need to help the interviewer to see the connection between your experiences and the skills required for you to be successful in the job.
Even though you may not have thought about it, as a mom you learn a ton of things in a day. Never devalue your time off work. You have worked hard balancing between your personal and professional priorities as a SAHM. It doesn’t really matter whether you have learned certain skills at work or at home fulfilling the role of a parent. Juggling between kids and completing tasks to a deadline teaches us skills like how to keep calm during stressful situations, prioritization, time management, multitasking, etc.
So, here are our top 5 ways to pass a job interview after maternity leave.
- Prepare yourself:
You may feel not ready because of the career gap, but the right amount of preparation can help you overcome that feeling. For any successful interview, you need to project confidence and be up to date about the latest developments in the industry. Do thorough research both offline and online. You need to gain full knowledge about the company, department, and the role you are applying for. You can go online and check information on Google, LinkedIn, and the company website. For offline research, you can discuss with your friends working in the same industry or join online classes. Your research will also tell the interviewer about your keenness and efforts to get the job.
Preparing to re-enter the workforce not just involves thorough research but also involves preparing yourself for the job. In the corporate world, things change at a very rapid pace. You would be surprised to know that not just technology, but a lot also changes in terms of fashion and work culture. You need to upgrade your knowledge about the latest software related to your work. You can’t learn it all before you become a part of the workforce but it’s better to be prepare yourself at least about the basics. As it will help boost your self-esteem and you go for the upcoming interviews with a greater level of confidence.
- Dress to impress:
Generally, an interview requires you to dress-up professionally. However, there are various forms of dressing norms in different types of industries. Say for example, if you are applying in the financial sector you might opt for a more conservative dress code, while for a job in retail and advertising you can experiment a little. The dressing is all about presentation and a lasting impression.
There are certain mistakes that you might make while choosing your attire for the interview. Firstly, a dress from the catalog or online shopping. Try your dress first before you wear for the interview. See, are you comfortable in it and is it weather appropriate? Do remember to find out about the dress policy and culture. Even if they say they have a casual dress policy, we recommend you opt for neat and polished business attire. This will show your respect for the organization and will make you stand out.
- Exhibit the skills you have learned during break:
Feel proud and confident about your role as a SAHM. Never be apologetic about being home and taking care of your kids and home. Sadly, most interviewers see your maternity break as a lack of confidence and overlook the issues that a new mom faces due to a lack of support from the professional world.
There are plenty of valuable skills you learn as a SAHM. Being a parent adds a huge learning curve in everybody’s life. Some of the key skills you learn as parents are time management, prioritization abilities, problem-solving skills, negotiation skills, etc. The list is endless here. It all depends on how confidently you present this to your interviewer and make a connection between them and the role you have applied for. The key here is that you need to believe in yourself before you convince others.
In between if you have completed any professional course make sure that it shines in your resume and your interview. The professional courses further emphasize your inner drive to re-enter the professional world.
- Prepare yourself with dummy interviews:
Seek help from all the people around you. Ask them to conduct several dummy interviews before you finally go for one. However, before that, you need to have a set of questions that are generally asked in an interview.
How wonderful it would be if we were living in a world where all the candidates are asked similar questions and ranked accordingly. Sadly, there are some typical questions that are reserved only for SAHMs. Here, is the list of tricky job interview questions for moms.
- Why have you been away for work for so long?If you have a gap in your resume, then this is a priority question for you. It’s never easy to answer this question irrespective of the fact what you were doing during the break. The answer you provide here will set the course for the rest of the interview. Explain to the interviewer how fortunate you consider yourself to be able to concentrate completely on your kids in their early developing years. Communicate your decision to seek employment in a positive and realistic manner.
- What have you been doing with your time?
Though the question sounds a bit of prejudice and infuriating in some ways, try to answer that with ease, along with a smile. This is the time where you show-off the skills you have learned as a mom and mention any professional courses completed during this span. Your employer will have to overlook the gap in your career if you project your skills with conviction and confidence.
- Are you planning to have more children?This question is not only unethical but illegal. Making an employment decision based on parental status is not allowed. However, sadly you may encounter this or the variants of this question in some interviews. The key here is to understand the real intention behind this question. The employer is more interested in knowing about your commitment to the job and career. Convince them that you are making a well-thought-of decision and you understand what it takes to achieve professional goals by balancing the personal ones.
- How are you planning to balance personal and professional life?
Again, a question that reflects bigotry. This would be a fair question if asked to both male and female candidates. The best response here would be the assurance that your whole family and spouse are very supportive and ready to share the responsibility of the child. Also, mention that you have already started delegating responsibilities to prepare the child for a smooth transition.You may encounter the other variants of the above-mentioned questions, but this typically sums-up the question which a mom might face.
- Ask your interviewer impressive questions:
At one point in the interview, the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions for him/her. This is the time where you can show your research and your sincere efforts to join the company. So, while doing the research make a list of few questions. You can always tweak them and use them depending on how your interview is headed.So, there you are! These were the 5 ways with the help of which you can crack any interview following maternity leave. Never give up the belief that you are worth hiring.Now, let’s go through what to expect from a typical interview. This is just a glimpse of how generally interviews take place in the professional world.How does a typical interview look like?Initially, the interviewer may provide you an overview of the company and your job responsibility. Listen attentively and exhibit professionalism during the presentation. Make sure that you make eye contact with them, but please don’t stare at them. Try to look enthusiastic about the job and opportunity that you might be getting.Non-verbal communication is far more important than the answers you provide verbally. So, watch your body language and your non-verbal gestures. Let’s start with the basics. Here are a few examples of positive body language.
- The way you look
- The way you smell
- A firm handshake
- The way you sit
- Do not fold arms in front of the interviewer
- Maintaining eye contact
- Look interested in the conversation
- Avoid touching hairs and other body parts unnecessarily
Every person has their own career path. Many people take a break from their careers and decide the pace of reaching their goals. So, never be apologetic about your break. Maybe the first few interviews won’t turn out the way you wanted. You will need to have a bit of patience and conviction to help your future recruiter understand your true value.