Return to Work Interview Tips
Returning to work after time off or a career break can feel extremely daunting. For those who have been on furlough for the past few months and are now having to change their career paths, this can add even more stress to the situation. Not only will you need to spend time understanding the new industry that you will be working in, but writing a successful CV and preparing for a telephone interview need to be at the top of your priority list. Let’s have a run through some of the best ways you can nail your interview after a break.
Research is Key
Just like with any interview, you need to be prepared. If you have been out of work for some time, you are probably out of touch with the industry and the latest developments. Spend time reading through some news articles on industry-specific websites to try and get familiar with things that have happened in recent months.
Getting up to speed with things again shouldn’t be too hard. Sign up for every newsletter you can, and have a browse on social media too. LinkedIn is a great place to follow employers within your field, as they will probably be posting about news and updates on a regular basis.
Update your CV
We know this is not what you want to hear, but unfortunately the time has come to get that CV out and update it! It has to be one of the most menial, boring tasks, but if you are serious about returning to work you have to spend time refreshing it. We don’t mean just create one blanket CV that can be used for every job application either, you should tailor both your CV and your cover letter to the specific role you are applying for.
Make sure that you familiarise yourself with your previous experience and qualifications so that you can easily answer any questions about your CV. You might also want to spend some time sprucing up the design of your CV – try a different font, an alternative layout. Your CV should be up to date and include any recent courses or qualifications you gained during your career break. This removes the need for the awkward interview question where you have to explain the reasons for the gaps in your CV.
First Impressions Always Count
Although it may have been some time since you last dressed up smartly, it is important that you smile and act confident during your interview (no matter how nervous you are). If you have prepared yourself well, you should be able to answer any questions that are thrown at you.
As well as preparing for the interview itself, make sure you know exactly what time you are expected to arrive. Plan your travel arrangements well in advance, and make sure you know where you are going. It is always best to arrive 10 minutes early, as this helps to show your eagerness and enthusiasm for the role. If you are going to be late, due to circumstances out of your control, be sure to contact the organisation at the first possible opportunity to make them aware.
The Interview is for You As Well
One thing that people often forget when preparing for an interview is that it is a two-way conversation. Whilst the interviewer wants to find out as much information about you as possible, you also need to make sure you are the right fit for the business. Do they believe in similar values to you? Does their mission statement reflect your views?
The interview is an opportunity for you to find out more about the employer. Ask questions about the company culture, where you will be working, the team dynamic, and career progression. It is always best to go into an interview with 3-5 questions in your mind (or written down if you think you may forget them). Usually, you will find that some of them will have been answered throughout the interview, so you should have 1 or 2 left to ask at the end.
No matter what situation you find yourself in – whether you are returning to work after furlough, or if you have had a career break to have children, don’t apologise for the gap in your CV. Speak positively about the time you took out, particularly if you did some extra studying in order to improve your skills and knowledge. Best of luck, we know you will ace it!
If you would like any further information about the Assessor qualifications that we offer which could help progress your career forward, please contact us on 01205 805 155 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.