Confidence, or lack thereof, is the one thing Employ Mum talks about every day with the many talented women who contact them seeking flexible work, or looking to pivot in their careers.
Founder Karen O’Reilly on ditching ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I just’ from our vocabulary – and why ‘they would be lucky to have me’ should be your mantra in interviews.
Recently, a guy registered with us (about 20% of our placements are men actually – despite the name of our agency being Employmum – we do not discriminate, everyone is welcome to register!).
He was interested in a particular role we had advertised in an accountancy practice – we were looking for someone at senior level with specific accountancy practice experience. This guy, although commercially experienced in running his own businesses, had no practice experience – he sent us his CV, followed up with a phone call and not once, but twice, reiterated on the phone that the company would ‘Be Lucky to Have Me’.
Never ever, in Employmum’s existence has a woman said to us a company would ‘Be Lucky to Have Me’.
At the same time, we were recruiting for a HR Change Manager, preferably with an engineering degree or background. We had quite a few candidates who matched our job spec – every single woman (with extensive HR experience) ruled themselves out as they did not have an engineering background. Who got the job? A guy with no engineering background who, felt again, that the company would ‘Be Lucky to Have Me’.
Never ever, in Employmum’s existence has a woman said to us – the company would ‘Be Lucky to Have me’. Quite often, they will focus on their weaknesses, the skills gaps in their CVs, the one thing on the job spec that they do not have experience in, or the fact that they have taken a career break.
Ladies, we need to start thinking like men!
We, as women, downplay our achievements and experience so much that it is a hard habit to break
Our Top Tips For Developing the ‘Lucky to Have Me’ Mindset
Ditch the self sabotaging vocabulary – ‘I just have a masters in Business and only worked for a short time in X. I’m sorry for taking up your time but actually I just wanted to ask…..’
Modesty is not the best policy – they say modesty is a virtue BUT not in an interview situation. If you have the skills , competencies and experience relevant to the position, be sure to outline these – we, as women, downplay our achievements and experience so much that it is a hard habit to break. Practice boasting in front of the mirror if necessary.
Don’t be shy and make sure you follow up – if you feel the interview has gone well, ask for the job!
Body Language – walk tall, smile, look your interviewer in the eye, firm handshake, sit up straight (and breathe!). You’ve GOT THIS!
From personal experience, I would advise against wearing the new pair of high heels that are unconformable and hard to walk in!
A winning image – the old cliché – ‘Dress for the job you want, not the job you’re in’ is important. Wear something smart, professional and also comfortable (if you have a tendency to perspire under pressure, something that does not show up sweat stains etc). Invest in an interview outfit that makes you feel powerful.
Don’t be shy and make sure you follow up – if you feel the interview has gone well, ask for the job! Tell the person you are interested in the position and ask what are the next steps. Always follow up with an email or a call in a reasonable time frame.
And remember : ‘They would be lucky to have me!’
It’s your new mantra.
About the Author
Karen O’ Reilly is Founder of Employ Mum, a recruitment agency matching professionals with companies that are looking for experienced staff to help grow and enhance their businesses. Employ Mum specialises in flexible roles – part time/job sharing/remote work/compressed hours/term time and project work. Offering career and life coaching, Employ Mum also run free workshops for returners.