Interview Tips for Returning to Work Parents

Interview Tips for Returning to Work Parents

These tips will help you at your next interview

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking at the best of times but especially so for parents 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:

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 about the interview format and the length of time that has been allocated for the interview. The last thing you want is to be worrying about getting back in time to collect your child/children from school or child minder.

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+.

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.

Arrange childcare

It’s a good idea to arrange childcare well in advance and to have a backup option in the event of any last minute changes in availability. Be sure to arrange for childcare for a little longer than the time you anticipate in case the interview goes over time or you experience any travel delays.

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. Dads, book yourself in with the local barber to ensure you look neat and tidy.

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 to determine 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.

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

Do’s and Dont’s for returning to work parents
  • Do prepare as well as you can, there’s no such thing as being over-prepared!
  • 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 nervous, take a moment to breathe and refocus.


Good luck!

Lisa LaRue is a registered Career Coach at CareerWorx with more than 20 years’ experience helping people plan, manage and find happiness in their careers.

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