Interview Tips for Girls… Bloody Babies!

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.

So, let’s deal with the shocking truth… women have babies! (and here is mine, isn’t he just lush, he is a bit bigger than this now)

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

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5 thoughts on “Interview Tips for Girls… Bloody Babies!

  1. I like this a lot. It could pretty much be written about me, I remember having this exact conversation with you about 9 months ago (and I’m now 6 and a half months pregnant!). I really had to fight with myself, going for what could have been a dream job whilst knowing that within the year we hoped to be pregnant. It all pretty much fell into place for me one way or another and it’s definitely a situation that takes a lot of thought, going for a new job at anytime is stressful let alone when there’s a giant elephant in the room. Having a recruitment consultant that you can be brutally honest with is definitely the first step!! But I will be back badgering you in a year or so… We may have babies but we can also have fab careers! X

  2. Another well written piece Amanda.

    A number of years ago, when I worked in the corporate world, I did ask a candidate about her childcare provisions. After all, she kept mentioning her children as often as she could during the interview. The HR person seating on the interview nearly had a heart attack and swiftly kicked me under the table while she tried to recover the situation. No damage was done, except to my shin but as a front row player, I have been at the receiving end of a few kicks before. I was then swiftly sent on all political correctness, cultural and gender awareness courses you can think off. I am still smarting for the pain of those…

    All those courses have not dissuaded me for wanting to know that the person seating in front of me, applying for a job, is not going to leave me in the lurch in a few months’ time. Yes I do mean in the lurch. As a small business owner with a small team, when somebody goes on maternity leave, it is felt and can have disastrous effects and not to mention the financial costs. I think it is a fallacy to say that larger companies do not feel the cost of maternity leave. In my corporate days, when somebody was on maternity leave, they were rarely replaced. Their work was spread around the team as there was no provision for extra head count. I believe that the only sector where maternity leave is not felt is the public sector. After all, “the government” is paying for it…

    Telling the truth is always the best. A couple of years ago, I did employ somebody although she had told me that she was pregnant and would be going on maternity leave. She was probably the best employee I have ever had. Shame we could not persuade her to come back afterwards. In this case, I knew she was going to be with us for a short time and we tailored her tasks and responsibilities accordingly.

  3. Reblogged this on applyingyou and commented:
    This is the best blog to come out of @bloodyrecruiter and she writes some awesome stuff.

    Hard conversations are made harder by people who choose to avoid the situation….being assertive and knowing how to handle situations, how to handle yourself in those situations and know how to ensure the other people involved feel good about the experience.

    This is why, Amanda is quite simple, the best at what she does.

    Read, learn, digest and implement. Or try ignorance…it’s far more costly!

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