You know how it goes. Someone asks you what you are doing for the day and you answer the question as though you are speaking to your two-year-old. “Well, there, honey, first mommy has to stop at the grocery store and then we can go to the park and play.”
Or you completely stumble over words, tripping like someone who has not walked in years. The answer comes out a garbled mess.
Everyone laughs, you included, because they look down at the children tagging around your legs and they get it.
If you’ve been at home for a while, you understand. Face it, you don’t speak much to adults anymore. You don’t really dress yourself up because someone will either spill something or throw up on you. Make-up? Please, who has time to brush their teeth, much less put on some blush?
Ah, but now you want to get back into the workforce and it is time to tackle that in-person interview.
Preparing for this can be tough if you haven’t had much adult interaction lately, minus the spouse and a few close friends who also have young children. Those out in the working world may not understand if you glance down at the finger they just cut and say, “Oh no! You have an owie!”
Nailing the interview means preparing for it. In a recent post I discussed strategies for preparing before the interview; today we’ll look at a few things you can do to increase your chances of success once you are seated across from your potential employer.
Catherine Kaputa, author of The Female Brand, says, “When you are going to an interview look upon them as your customers. What do they want and need, and how can I fill it?”
Kaputa says that you will often go about saying things about yourself differently if you do so in this perspective. Spend time prior to the interview listing what it is you can do for this company and why you are the person to do it, so when you begin verbalizing your strong points you don’t stumble over them.
Stephen Balzac, president of 7 Steps Ahead, says to also remember that the interviewer is not your opponent to be defeated but, ” . . . your partner, who enables you to demonstrate your value to the company.” Balzac says you might also prepare questions that ask the interviewer what your strengths might be for this position, to get the interviewer considering how you might fit into the company.
Julie B. Kampf, CEO of Career Central, says that during the interview, “Do not apologize for taking time off.” This sentiment was echoed by many people I interviewed and heard from for this piece. Women should be able to say, “I enjoyed being at home for the past several years, but I’m ready to return to work and I’m excited about the change.” If you go into the interview acting as though returning to work is painful and something you don’t want to do (even if it is something you would prefer not to be doing), this will show through and the chances of you acquiring the position are slim to none.