“A company wants to see me!” Now what?
How to prepare for your interview
After all of the scrolling and searching, the cover letters and crossed-fingers, you get the satisfying notice that you – yes you – finally have an interview. You jump out of your chair, do a little jig, and laugh as your child looks on at you, bemused. And then comes the follow-up. Fear. Whether you’ve been out of the workplace doing the mama thing, or are simply looking to move on to pastures new, a million worries begin to rear their ugly heads. Everything from childcare to your skillset and your entirely inadequate wardrobe. Well, fear not! Daisy Chain is here to help.
Over the next few articles, we’ll be picking apart the interview process, helping you to negotiate the ‘working mum’ landscape and make the most of every opportunity. Today, we’re starting with how you can prepare ahead of the big day.
Research the company
Employers don’t just want to know you’re qualified for the job – they want to know you’re a great fit for the company. So make sure you visit their website ahead of time, and do a thorough google search. Familiarising yourself with the company’s structure, history and USPs not only demonstrates your keen interest, it helps you relate to their philosophy – whether that’s their ‘small team’ ethos, their luxury angle, or perhaps their charity work.
Get your head around industry trends
In most cases, interviews aren’t just about filling a vacancy, they’re about finding a candidate who offers valuable insight and potential to grow. You can demonstrate passion for your industry by reading respected trade publications and referring to current trends, key players and even specific articles. If you’ve been on a baby-break, this will instil vital confidence that you’re up-to-date with what’s going on today.
Arm yourself with examples
Whether you’re asked the classic, “give an example of a time when…’ or not, having engaging professional stories at the forefront of your mind helps to reveal the breadth of your experience and back up your declared character strengths. Try reviewing the role requirements to identify key qualities they’re looking for, such as customer service or problem-solving, and work backwards to recall examples with positive outcomes. If you’ve had a particularly long baby-break, use illustrations from other areas of your life, perhaps project managing your home extension or organising a school fund-raising event. And don’t forget the valuable skills you’ve learned as a mother, from negotiation to structure, you’ll find a list of them at the link above.
Prepare your own questions
The interview is also your opportunity to decide if a role is right for you. So think about what you really want to know and construct a list of questions. Be aware that what you ask will be seen to reflect your priorities, so stay away from topics like holiday entitlement and pay, in favour of constructive enquiry, such as clarification on the role and opportunities for development. In an upcoming article, we’ll also look at some specific mama questions, such as how to approach the biggie – flexible working.