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Be Proud! 5 Interviewing Tips for Moms Re-entering the Workforce

06.9.09

Career

It is 2009 and unfortunately our society and business community still have outdated views on working moms.  There are companies and managers who still question an employee’s loyalty and productivity because they have a family, or are re-entering the workforce after staying home to raise their children. In these current times it is very difficult to be a single-income family.  Many moms are returning to the workforce to help their household and are not finding it very welcoming.

No wonder mothers have so much anxiety when it comes to their job search, especially if they chose to stay home. Many are afraid of interviewing and discussing the time gaps in their resumes. After all, HR professionals, managers and job seekers have all been taught the same thing, time gaps are bad.  So in an interview, what are relaunchers, onrampers, and return to work mothers supposed to do?

Here are 5 interviewing tips for the brave souls returning to the workforce.

1.      Don’t apologize for being a mom. Be proud and embrace your decision to have children and stay home to raise them.  When asked about your time away from the workforce highlight the positives.

Here is a sample interview response: I chose to stay home to build a strong and loving foundation for my children.  I am confident they are now well supported and so I am eager to return to the work I love.  During my time at home, I volunteered at my local ________ (church, children’s school, charity, etc) and gained excellent experience in _________ (marketing, communications, public relations, or other business function.)

2.      Describe the leadership roles you held while at home or in previous employment.  Do you manage your household’s expenses, chair any volunteer committees, teach classes, lead in your church? Explain how you would apply your skills & experience to the open position.

3.      Ask questions.  Ask about a typical workday including office hours, duties, projects, and any travel.  Do any of the employees work a flexible schedule? Ask about their performance appraisal process and specifically which dimensions are rated.  This will give a good indication of what the company values, face-time or results.  Finally ask about what types of benefits are available such as health, dental, tuition reimbursement, flexible spending accounts, vacation, personal days and merit bonuses.  This information will be helpful when negotiating your salary and schedule.

4.      Be prepared.  Do your research on the company’s history, products, services and values.  Be able to clarify why you want to work there.  Also be familiar with the company’s customers and clients and how you can help meet their needs.

5.      Illustrate your own flexibility. Are you able to arrive earlier than the required time or leave later?  In return the company may allow you to leave a few hours earlier so you can pick your children up from daycare or school or arrive later in the morning so you can have breakfast with them.

Can you travel occasionally or work a Saturday if necessary? If so, the company may be able to offer you a compressed 4 day work week or have you work from home on the fifth day.

First make sure you can meet their needs, before negotiating how they can meet yours.

Finally, remember you are extremely valuable.  You are just as productive as any other worker.  Many of you hold advanced degrees, are able to work in fast-paced and stressful environments, can multi-task, negotiate with vendors, and manage dynamic budgets.  Your creativity and innovation are boundless and you seldom complain.  Ultimately, no one is as dedicated and loyal than you.

Author’s Edit:  Great tip from one of our readers,  Jo Ann Cummings.

In addition to researching the company, women should go to a website like salary.com and research the pay range for the type of position they are applying for, with the experience level they had, in the city where they hope to work.  Even if you don’t intend to discuss salary at an initial interview, IF the subject comes up, you will be prepared with a benchmark of what the salary range might be, so that you know if you’re getting low balled.

The Wageproject.org website has access to salary.com.  They are starting to offer salary negotiation seminars called Return$mart, for women returning to the workforce.


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4 responses to “Be Proud! 5 Interviewing Tips for Moms Re-entering the Workforce”

  1. mailda says:

    Great tips Boni, your absolutely right everyone has that advanced degree within themselves one way or another! Keep up the great work!!!

  2. […] get more tips, follow Boni on Twitter or visit her site, coachmup.com. Or read more in this blog post by […]

  3. Bernadette says:

    Boni this tips are a great resource for myself and also new and future moms. I’m one of those brave soul returning to the work force. Thank you

  4. Great, you have beautifully presented your thoughts in this post.

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