Common Mistakes Women Make in Interviews
You’re ready to make a career move. Or perhaps you’ve found that dream job. You’ve submitted your resume and are ready for the next step. It’s time to interview. Your suit is pressed, and you’re looking professional. It’s time to present the best possible professional you, and here are some pitfalls to avoid during the interview process.
Keep Family Out of It – It’s illegal for an employer to ask about childcare even if they’re only trying to get a sense of your personal commitments. There are strict laws governing what potential employers can ask regarding age, race, criminal history, and economic status. As much as we strive to keep work and family separate, there are times when those lines blur. This becomes problematic in an interview when a proud mothers over-shares about Billy’s straight A’s or Jenny’s trophy at the dance competition. Remember that the focus of an interview is on your past work performance and your current skill set. You need to convince the potential employer that you’re the right fit for the position, and that you’ll benefit the company as the newest part of their team. Talking in-depth about children and family may make you appear unfocused, or worse, uncommitted to the position.
Maximize Your Skill-Set – Generally speaking, women have a harder time promoting themselves than men do. We downplay it as bragging and avoid the spotlight, but in an interview, it’s a crucial time to crow about your successes. This is especially important if you’re re-entering the workforce after an extended period away from your career. Even if you haven’t worked in years because of raising children, highlight how you’ve kept current with the industry’s news. Showcase the ways that you’ve kept your skills relevant and the experiences that will apply to your new company. Take credit for the successes of past projects even if it was a team effort. Make certain that your interviewer knows, front and center, about your contributions.
Know What You’re Worth – Now is the time to be assertive and negotiate certain aspects of your new job. If you’ve passed a round of interviews with flying colors and are offered the job, then you know that they want you. Instead of accepting their first offer, give them a counter-offer. It doesn’t always have to be about pay. You can negotiate certain days where you telecommute or perhaps the company can help with a stipend towards childcare while you work. The point is that if you don’t ask for what you want, they won’t know to give it to you. There’s no harm in asking. In fact, the act of negotiating will show your employer that you’re assertive and willing to speak your mind. It will also set a precedent that you understand just how valuable your skills are in the workplace.
The old saying goes that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that’s particularly important in a job interview. So put your best foot forward and promote yourself and your work history in the best possible light. You won’t be sorry when you land your dream job.