Job interviews are an opportunity for you to prove that you’re the best person for the job – and it’s also an opportunity for recruiters to check anything that doesn’t add up. And for many mums, this may be a gap in your employment history.
Many people get anxious when a job interviewer starts checking the dates on your CV and asking questions about any gaps in employment. For mums, this is almost inevitable because so many choose to take time out to raise young children before returning to work later.
But that’s also a good thing in a way, because taking time out to raise a family is very common and natural for a lot of mums.
Recruiters may try to catch you out
Some recruiters, however, can be sneaky. Your CV won’t shout out the fact that you have children, have taken time out to be a mum etc, but the gap can give them room to ask you family related questions in a way that they probably wouldn’t do with a male candidate, and it can leave you open to sex discrimination if they feel you will have a lot of childcare to juggle, or are likely to go on maternity leave again.
You should always be honest when explaining any absence from working, but you can work the reasons to your benefit. For instance, if you were made redundant and had a hard time finding a replacement but spent a lot of time with your children you could say, “I took an opportunity to spend a few months with my children in between jobs.” If you took any courses or classes that will add value to your skills as an employee be sure to mention that as well. You may find it beneficial to add a brief explanation on your CV or cover letter if the gaps are very long, so that the gaps don’t put a potential employer off.
A second pair of eyes
Having someone else check over your CV can help you get an idea of other possible questions that could be generated from your
CV, so you can be prepare so you’re not caught unaware or floundering for an answer.
Give yourself time to figure out the best explanation before an interview – ask reliable friends and/or family or call up a handful of recruitment agencies to get some feedback.