Lots of parents take time out of their career when the babies come along. Whilst some parents are able to return to their careers, often even their previous job, there are a large number of parents who find themselves facing the employment market feeling like a relative newbie to the recruitment game, with their interview skills a little rusty to say the least. Here are 5 quick tips to consider if you are preparing for your first interview in a while:
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1. Know Your Resume Spend some time reading your resume before you attend an interview. Look at the skills you have highlighted as this will give you a bit of a heads up as to the types of things that the interviewer might hone in on. Ensure that you're able to talk through the skills that they might call upon, and consider what examples you can discuss with them.
2. Know The Company It's likely in the interview that you'll be asked why you want to work for the company in question. A breezy, non considered answer here will show the interviewer that you aren't a serious candidate. Instead, do your research, go onto the company's website and genuinely decide on why you'd like to work for this company.
3. Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses The interview will largely focus on what your strong points are, because you'll be answering questions that will bring this knowledge to the forefront. However, it's common practice to also be asked what your weaknesses are or your areas for development are. It's good to be humble and it's a good idea to have some areas for development, but you should ideally only choose one or two areas for development, not list out all your weak points. It can be a good idea to focus on weaknesses that can be viewed as a strength also - e.g. 'I can be a bit of a perfectionist', 'I can sometimes push myself too hard', 'I can be a bit focused on the detail'.
Practice, Practice, Practice If you've been out of the workforce for a long period, you likely haven't talked about your career or your job skills for some time. To this end, it's a good plan to have a number of work based case studies up your sleeve and know these examples thoroughly. Think of case studies that could relate to when you have demonstrated values such as team working, efficiency, attention to detail and self management. Ask a friend or family member to 'mock' interview you, so that you get used to talking about your yourself.
Have a Glass of Water If you are offered a glass of water to have in the interview, take it. The benefit of having a glass of water in the interview with you, is that when you are asked a tricky question that you don't know how to answer, you can take a sip of water and whilst you are drinking it, you can be thinking through your answers. This might stop an otherwise awkward prolonged silence.
Finally, an interview is a two way street, it should be as much about you finding out if this is the right job for you, about whether this job will fit in with your family needs and stage of life. Come prepared to ask questions of the business so that if you are offered the role, that you know everything you need to know to make an informed decision.