Attending a job interview after a career break can seem pretty daunting. Fortunately, the rules haven’t changed too much.
As long as you adhere to these following steps, you’ll find yourself easing back into your desired job role in no time.
Research the company
Whether you’ve been away for five months or five weeks, researching the company before an interview will always be an integral part of the process. Spend some time looking at their website and social media pages and noting down what you find.
For example, what are their values? What does their culture seem like? How do they represent themselves? Who are their clients?
Having an in-depth knowledge on the company will not only help you to prepare for the interview, but will show your passion for the company which will only be reflected positively.
Study the job description
Make sure you really get to grips with the job description, as this will help you to understand what the company is looking for in an employee.
If you’re unfamiliar with a few of the details, then perhaps do some further research by looking up similar roles online or asking a friend or old colleague within the industry.
They can fill you in on the necessary details and help prepare you for certain interview questions so that you feel more confident and at ease when walking into the interview.
You may have had a break, but this doesn’t mean you don’t have the skills for the job. Try to match your key attributes to the job description. Were you able obtain similar skills at your last job? Has your recent time off allowed you to gain any experience applicable to the position?
These are questions you really need to be asking yourself so that regardless of your time away, you can still successfully manage to sell why you’re the right fit for the role.
Figure out the dress code
If you’re unsure about the dress code, you can always check the company website to help you get a better idea, or reach out to someone working in the same industry. Alongside this, don’t be afraid of asking the recruiter or hiring manager who organised the interview!
If you find yourself in doubt, it’s always better to dress up than down. Give yourself plenty of time to choose your outfit in advance. Planning ahead will enable you to deal with any possible wardrobe mishaps.
It will also allow you to relax on the day of your interview. The last thing you want is to be rushing and come across all flustered. But, if you plan ahead, you’ll be able to get ready at your own pace.
Prepare your answers
Arguably, one of the most vital things to do before an interview is to prepare your answers. This is particularly true if you have had a break in your career, as employers will want to know why.
Take the time to think about the questions you’ll likely be asked so you can practice your answers. If the interviewer wants you to elaborate on your time off, then always try to be tactful with your response.
Instead of highlighting that you were away for a long period of time, focus on what you achieved, if you obtained any skills and how they can benefit the company.
No matter how questions are phrased, always try to draw attention to what qualifies you for the role and what makes you a good fit. Practice your answers aloud so you can figure out your tone and you can always ask a friend to help.
A few final interview tips
Smile and show yourself to be a positive person. Try not to fidget and avoid any closed off body language, as you want to appear open a friendly. Always prepare a few questions to ask the employer as it shows that you’re genuinely interested in the company.
Attending your first interview after a career break can seem strange, but by planning ahead and preparing your answers, you’ll soon find your feet in no time at all.