I know this may appear sexist to have additional interview tips for girls but the fact is that ladies have matters they have to consider before interview that men just don’t. We all know that prospective employers are prohibited from asking gender specific questions. Do not believe that just because the interviewer cannot ask the question they are not desperate for the answer.
My general advice in interview is that you tell the truth. Honesty is always the best policy whatever the subject during interview. However, I am not suggesting that you walk into the interview and announce you have no plans to breed, and nor would I expect you to advise that you have to leave within the hour as you are ovulating! Being a woman of childbearing age puts you at a disadvantage as a candidate for many employers, I am not here to discuss whether this is right or fair; it is the reality. I never put words into the mouths of my candidates, it is not my style; you need to find your own way to deal with the ‘elephant in the room’. My advice is to use language that will put the interviewer at ease… ‘I am career focussed’, ‘In the next five years I expect to be…’, ‘I want to make a long-term commitment to a role’. Talking actively about wanting to have children is never considered a good idea during interview… and before people start shouting about feminism, burning bras, and equality in the workplace I am looking purely commercially. Women of childbearing age need to understand that:
An employer can claim 92% of the maternity pay it pays out back from the government which is why most people think it is easy to deal with. However, businesses also need to consider additional costs; holiday accrued (when someone is on maternity leave). Change in role for the pregnant woman may mean a whole new role has to be created. Loss of working hours prior to maternity leave being taken (sickness, antenatal classes). Risk assessments may mean new chairs, additional rest breaks, stopping driving. The employer has to recruit a replacement at on a temporary basis, additional training will be needed, and in many cases there will be a handover period = 2 salaries for one job, recruitment fees the list goes on and on. Then when the babies come and mums come back to work there are a billion more considerations… If you were the employer would you employ a woman of childbearing age?
If you are the best candidate you will get the job. In my experience many of my clients would rather recruit women. This is especially true at senior sales level as they are much better relationship builders than their male counterparts (client opinion, I love everyone equally). I will not work on a discriminatory job vacancy but that is not to say that they do not exist. I am aware that there are some clients who may not show me exactly what they intend to recruit.
When you are in interview show that you are committed to your career and working life. If asked about childcare arrangements do not say ‘well I will leave the office immediately if my child is unwell at school’. Answer as a man would ‘oh the other half deals with all that side of things, I am the main bread-winner’ – issue dealt with. Whether it is true is another matter but believe me you answer in the first style and that is the only thing that interviewer will remember answer in the second and the interviewer will not even mention it during the feedback.
Your aim as a candidate in an interview is to get the job offer. An interview is a sales process like any other – you are selling yourself to a business and the business is selling itself to you. All candidates have to plan and prepare answers to typical questions. If you are wise you will deal with this head on to secure that new role. Put yourself in the best possible position to make your decision… better to have been offered a role and turn it down for you are not comfortable than not be offered at all!!
To find out how we can best work together please contact me in the best way for you for a totally confidential discussion, for my contact details have a look at the ‘talk to the shoes’ page