Advice & Support

Nervous about interviews after career break: ask the expert

Nervous about interviews after career break: ask the expert

I am thinking about going back to work after 12 years - I didn't want anyone else bringing my kids up - and have just turned 50. I know I am quite capable of picking up the work reins again but it's the interview that I'm scared of! I won't put myself across well, my mouth will go dry and I can't speak! What to do?

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Turned down for part-time role: ask the expert

Turned down for part-time role: ask the expert

I went on maternity last year. I then gave birth to my beautiful daughter in December 2012 and since then I have enjoyed every second of my maternity leave hassle free. I have kept in contact ith my Manager and work colleagues to retain that bound and to keep up to date with what has been going on in the office. I took a year off and was due to resume to work in November 2013. In August 2013 my partner and I decided that it would benefit our family is I could work part time, so we put in an application for flexible working. I work 37 hours a week Monday till Friday and I was asking to work 4 days a week and 30 hours or 4 days a week and 31 hours or continue to work full time but be taken out of the late rota so I can leave at 4:35 instead of 5pm, which we do every 3/4 weeks. My meeting was held with my manager and we spoke about my request and after that meeting took place I received a reply declining my application. I then appealed their decision and put a final option to work 32.40 hours over 4 days, which was still declined. After that had all happened I then applied for a full-time recruitment administrator position, which didn't involve travelling to different sites or as tight deadlines to my current position. I wasn't even given an interview because they said I didn't have recent recruitment experience, even though I have over 10 years' HR experience and have dealt with recruitment in most of my roles and was also a recruitment consultant. Since returning to work I have found out the person they have taken on does not have a HR background and has very little recruitment experience. After that position my dream part time position came up, working in my team and reporting to my manager. It would have involved me working 3 days a week for 22 hours. I was interviewed for the post on my return to work in November. I was then told that I was not successful and that another member of my team was (who currently cannot do their current position due to having a bad back). The feedback I have received is they gave better answers to the questions they asked. That's all the feedback I have received. I was absolutely disappointed and cried in front of the Manager who told me I didn't get the job and all they could say to me was they were sorry. I then left the office for 30 minutes to speak with my partner and calm myself down. I then returned to my work and continued working till the end of the day, but could not concentrate, nor did I want to stay. I couldn't understand why they didn't give me the position, when they knew how much I wanted to go part time. I felt lost and like I had let down my family. Normally I am a headstrong women who has a clear path, but I feel lost.  I was then signed off with stress and anxiety for a week. I have requested to sit down with my manager and discuss how I feel. Any advice is much appreciated. I'm starting to feel the only thing I can do is leave and I do feel like I am being pushed to leave.

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Called for interview on maternity leave: ask the expert

Called for interview on maternity leave: ask the expert

I'm currently on maternity leave, but I'm feeling under pressure from my employer. Before my maternity leave I was working in a seconded role and had been for over 3 years. Prior to that I was in a temp role 'acting up' from my substantive position.

My seconded role is due to come to an end (although I've not had confirmation when this will end yet). When this does eventually end, I will return to the department I came from (where I performed both my substantive and acting up role).

However, HR have informed me by letter that the department has been restructured and there are now two roles which are suitable for me (my original/substantive role and the role which I acted up to for two years prior to my secondment as it's now become a permanent position).

There is a substantial difference in salary between the two positions.

HR have said that there are only two people eligible to apply, me and the person currently 'acting up' to the role in question. Both our substantive roles are the same.

HR now want me to go in for an interview as both myself and the other person have said we would like the higher role.

As I'm currently on maternity leave, I don't feel emotionally, mentally or physically ready to attend an interview. Bearing in mind it's been almost 4 years since I was in the role and the department for which I will be interviewed for.

I'm breastfeeding my baby who isn't yet five months old and who rarely sleeps more than half an hour at any one time, meaning I'm struggling to find any time to prepare for an interview. Not to mention 'baby brain' which frequently sees me forget what I'm talking about half way through a sentence!

The thought of an interview at this time really worries me. The job I will be applying for requires a level headed, confident and resilient person, all of which I'm not feeling at this time. I'm certain attending an interview at this time will disadvantage me.

HR did line a date up for me, but I got so stressed about it, not having any time to prepare, I cancelled it, saying that the extra stress being applied to me was not helpful whilst on maternity leave and suggested the interviews be held closer to my return date (eight months away).

HR then left it a month before contacting me again to advise that they'll be writing to me again in a couple of months with a new date and that "I should appreciate that without the interviews, instability remains within the team". This makes me feel even more pressure is on me to attend an interview which I'm not prepared for.

I don't know why HR are pressing for me to attend an interview whilst I'm on maternity leave - the situation has been the same for the last four years, so their timing is questionable.

I fear that if I attend at this current time when I'm ill prepared, my reputation will be damaged within the organisation and I will not only not get the position I'm interested in, but this will affect my career within the organisation.

Do I legally have to attend an interview whilst on maternity leave and what are my rights?
 

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Job likely to be lost on return from maternity leave: ask the expert

Job likely to be lost on return from maternity leave: ask the expert

I am returning to work from maternity leave soon and was told that my role is being merged with a similar one (just in a different region) and that I'd be interviewing for the new bigger role on my return. My concern is that I am in competition with the person who covered my maternity and managed the two regions for a year, the same person who is supposed to bring me up to speed on my return. I feel this is therefore lip service and I have no real chance to get the new job. I will lose my large team of people and a career I've been building for years. The person who doesn't get the job will be found or given time to find another role. It is unlikely it'll be managing a big team which is what I love about my job; it's more likely doing project type work. I'm so disappointed this is happening and don't see any alternative than just to do the interview, lose my job and take whatever's offered. How can this be fair in this day and age? Thanks in advance for your help.

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Can employers ask personal details at interview: ask the expert

I have recently started looking for a job again after having my baby (he is now one). I am worried I may be discriminated against due to my circumstances and interview questions are becoming very hard to answer. What are prospective employers allowed to ask at interview? As so far I have been directly asked if I am married, if I have children and less directly why I want a part-time job rather than a full-time one. Also what is the ruling with Employment Agencies - are they allowed to ask these leading questions? I am just so worried about how an employer will judge me when he thinks I have a child - and only one child so he may be thinking I want another soon....I feel this has been an issue at a couple of interviews I have been for, and I may not have got the job due to this. Thanks for your help.

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