Interview Tips for Stay-at-Home Mums Reentering Today’s Job Market

In today’s economy, many stay- at-home mums, may find they need to go back to work. While crafting CV's and landing job interviews may be challenging, projecting confidence in a job interview you’ve secured may be your biggest hurdle.

As a stay-at-home mum, the critical component of success in interviews for reentry is to be self-assured and project confidence in your career decision to stay home with your children. How do you project that confidence? The key to successful interviewing is to: hold your head high and don’t apologize.

You should be confident, because you have worked hard at balancing your personal and professional priorities as a stay-at-home mum. Never apologize for staying home! Explain with confidence that you stayed home, because it was the best decision for your particular family and that you are now eager to reenter the professional workforce.

Prepare for Confidence

For a successful interview, not only will you need to project confidence about your decision to stay home, but also in your professional qualifications and ability to do the job. You will need to be up-to-date in both technology skills and industry information. You don’t want to reenter the job market, wondering why everything has changed. You can get current industry information by conducting online and offline research, networking and taking classes.

Source Your Network

Networking is key here. You might consider taking a few friends or former colleagues out to lunch and asking them directly: "What’s new in our industry?" and "What do you think I need to know?" Be sure to also look on online industry boards to find out about changes in corporate culture.

You will also develop confidence by researching a prospective company, which in turn will enable you to express industry and company knowledge during an interview. By learning about the company, you’ll be able to ask appropriate questions in your interview.

A Typical Interview

In a typical interview, the interviewer will take the time to provide an overview of the company or organisation, describe the job that you are interviewing for, and then ask if you have any questions. During this time, you will need to listen attentively and project confidence and professionalism. It’s important to maintain eye contact. Be careful never to appear bored. Try to appear enthusiastic about the job opportunity.

Watch your body language -- your nonverbal gestures during an interview.  There are many facets for projecting positive body language; here are a few examples:

  • Use a firm and confident handshake (not limp, but not aggressive).   
  • Do not sit before the interviewer sits down.   
  • Do not slouch in your chair.   
  • Do not put your hands in your pockets or fold your arms in front of you.   
  • Do not look at the clock.   
  • Lean slightly forward to look interested in the conversation.   
  • Speak clearly and confidently.

Dress Up for Your Job Interview

It’s important to dress professionally for your interview. Your first step is to try to find out what type of clothing people wear in the organisation in which you are interviewing, and then try to dress accordingly. if you find that the company you are interviewing with has an overall casual dress policy and culture, you will still want to project your respect for the organisation by taking the time to dress up in professional attire for the interview.

Speak Confidently

At your interview, be sure to project your confidence, by speaking clearly. Try not to mumble. For some people, this can be very difficult, because you may feel very nervous. The key to alleviating this nervousness is practice. For most people, interviewing is a learned skill and does not come naturally, ask your spouse or a friend to role play your interview. It’s important to practice many times so that the interview will seem natural to you.

Question Time

One of the key components to practising how to interview effectively is to learn to anticipate and answer questions, and also ask appropriate questions. Generally speaking, many interviewers ask many of the same types of interview questions, so you may be able to anticipate these and practice your responses. 

As a mum reentering the workforce, you may be asked questions directly related to your reentering status. For example: How have you kept your skills up-to-date?

This is the key question that may get you the job. Be ready to explain everything you have done to keep up-to-date with your skills. For example, have you worked as a volunteer or taken classes while at home?

Ask Your Interviewer the Best Questions

At some point in the interview, the interviewer will ask, "Do you have any questions for me?" So, while you are doing your research, be sure to make a list of possible questions and tweak them as you find out more about the company. Your best questions will show that you have done your research and have a sincere interest in the company and its operations.