Fail To Prepare – Prepare To Fail. My Top Interview Tips
I’m Preparing to go back to work to work after my maternity leave, I have my first interview lined up this week. I have put together a list of my top interview tips below.
This is the main one, you can do all of my other tips on this list, but if you turn up to an interview without an idea of who the company are, what they stand for, and what your job role is. You’d have been as well not turning up at all. Do some serious research on the company, read everything. It’s better to know too much about the company than nothing at all. Ensure you look for any mission statements they may have (these are always great to drop in during an interview) Know what your job role would be, ensure that it’s something you’d be able to do, and willing to do. They are going to ask yous questions through the interview about their company, and why you want to work for them. The only way you can answer these is if you do your research.
2. Practice interview questions
Get a family member, a friend of a mirror to help you out. I genuinely talked to myself in the car on the way to the interview to get some last minute question prep in. You will always get asked some of the same questions in almost every job interview, so it’s good to prepare for these. Ones like “Tell me what skills you can bring to the company?” “Why do you want to work for us?” “Tell me a bit about yourself.” These can be some of the hardest questions to answer, as it involves blowing your own trumpet, but if you have a set of skills and qualities stored in your head, you can answer these questions confidently. You will also get questions that start with “Tell me a time when….” these ones aren’t as easy to prepare for as it’s really dependent on the job role your applying for. However they may finish with, “you worked as part of a team,” or “dealt with a challenging situation” These co-inside with question that start with “Tell me how you would”
Turn your weakness into a positive. They are likely to ask you what your biggest weakness is! I always say don’t use your typical “I care too much” “I can’t leave until I finish a project”‘ect. Use something that you actually have a weakness in. Be honest (not too honest!) however ensure that you can turn your weakness into a positive. For example, “I struggle doing…. but I am a really hard worker, dedicated and enjoy learning new skills….. ect.
Finally prepare a question or 2 to ask your potential employer. I recommend asking about training opportunities or career progression. These ensure you look interested in the post, and are interested in growing with the company. Your interviewer is looking for you to ask questions.
3. Research your travel.
Whether you are taking public transport or driving, know exactly where to go. I always do a drive around before my interview day, to ensure I know exactly where the building is. I know how long it will take me to get there. It allows me to assess the road, and look for anything that would potential cause a delay. If I was to take public transport, I would check the travel times, keep a look out for any delays, or cancellations. Ensure you will get there with plenty of time to spare. It’s better to get there too early, and have time to gather your thoughts, than be rushing in there, all flustered, and starting your interview off on a bad note! However I would recommend not going into the building far too early, as you might look “overly keen”
4. Prepare yourself
This is anything from looking out your clothes, making sure they are ironed and presentable, polish your shoes, prepare your handbag. Look out any documents you might need. This could be any qualifications, regulated body registrations, proof of ID and address. Have everything laid out the night before, this will ensure you don’t feel rushed and harassed the next day. Don’t go OTT on the make up, perfume/aftershave. You aren’t going on a date, you don’t want to overwhelm, you want to be remembered for your talent, not that you had an over powering smell. Obviously you want to smell nice, and look good to feel confident, just don’t over do it.
5. Accept the glass of water
This one might sound crazy, but if they offer you a glass of water say yes! If they don’t offer you one, don’t be afraid to ask. If you get stuck on a question, and need a minute to gather your thoughts, then having a sip of water. It looks so much better than sitting there, looking like you don’t know how to answer the question!
6. They expect you to be nervous
Interviews are nerve racking. It’s totally normal to be nervous. I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t have any nerves at all before an interview. Don’t worry about it. Most of the time, the person interviewing you has been exactly where you are now. Everyone has had to apply for jobs, and have interviews. Your interviewer is a person too, and knows what it’s like to be in your shoes. In fact, they may be new to interviewing and be just as nervous as you. Just try and find ways of coping with it. I tend to hold my hands under the table so the interviewer can’t see them shaking or fidgeting! I also go in with the mindset that if I make an idiot of myself and they love me, I get the the job. If I make an idiot of myself and they don’t like me, then I never need to see them again. That really helps me deal with my nerves.
7. Maintain Eye Contact and Body language .
This is a biggy!! You want to maintain eye contact throughout your interview. Don’t stare your interviewer out though, you don’t want to be creepy! Haha, but you do want to look interested. Sit up straight, open your shoulders. You want to have an open, welcoming posture. This shows that you are friendly, and approachable. Definitely don’t slouch, you will look lazy, and like you are not interested in the job at all. Ensure that you shake the interviewers hand, at the start and end of the interview. This shows professionalism. Introduce yourself at the beginning, and Thank them for their time at the end of the interview. If you are waiting in a room prior to an interview, ensure you have the same open, positive body language. If there are posters, information on the wall, read them! Do not sit on your phone, do not fidget! A lot of the time, your potential employer is already assessing you. If it’s not them directly, the receptionist may feed back to your interviewer at the end.
8. Be yourself
This is my last tip. You want to prepare as much as possible, but don’t loose yourself.
Don’t pretend to be someone you are not. The person interviewing you, is not only looking for your professional qualities, they are looking at your personality. They are looking to see if you would be a good fit personality wise. Will you merge well with the team that they already have. Also you have to look at the company, and see if they are a right fit for you too. You don’t want to go into work every day hating your job. You want to find a career that you enjoy, and can excel in. So make sure that this company is able to do that for you.
I hope you find these tips helpful for your interviews! If you have any that aren’t on my list, I’d love to hear! What do you do to prepare yourself for an interview?
Some useful links for interview preparation.
Goodbye Maternity Leave, Time to Prepare Myself for Going Back to Work
Goodbye Maternity Leave
My maternity leave has come to an end and now it’s time for me to prepare going back to work! How did that happen! I swear I was pregnant like a blink ago! My contract ended whilst I was on maternity leave, so I am on the look out for a new job, as well as trying to prepare myself mentally for leaving my baby and going back to work!
I have my first interview lined up for Wednesday this week, and I am crazy nervous! It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had an interview, and I have had almost a year off work. During this time I have become accustomed to the stay at home Mum life. I quite like it, it’s been a struggle at times, but it’s been so lovely to be there with both my children, and enjoy so much what I missed out on when my son was a baby. With him I went back to work when he was 3 months old, missing out on so much of his firsts. However being a stay at home Mum isn’t something we can afford permanently at the moment, and I have also missed having the “professional me” who wants to climb the career ladder.
Ironically in my last position, I worked with young people who were out of work, and some who had been out of work for a while. As part of my role, I helped them with their CV, applications and interview techniques. So really, this process should be quite easy for me… or so you would think!
Practice what I Preach
I am trying to practice what I preached and prepare myself as much as I can for the interview this week. My interview outfit is ready, minus the shoes! I need to find some interview shoes that are easy to walk in, look professional, and are affordable, all suggestions welcome! To ensure I know where I am going on Wednesday, I will be doing a drive round before my interview. I will be doing some serious research about the company, and the job role, and hopefully once I have done all of this, I will feel confident in my interview. A statement I stand by in all aspects of life, and something I’d always tell my clients was “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.”
I have put together a list of my top interview tips! Read them here!
Most importantly for me at the moment is, I am mentally trying hard to prepare myself for going back to work. I can totally understand why people find it hard to go back to work after being out of it for a while. It’s daunting. I mean there’s a million questions running around in my head. Am I doing the right thing? Will I get the Job? If I do, will I be able to do the job? Will they like me? Will my children cope with me not being around all the time, will I be able to cope without being around my children all the time? How am I going to know the answer to any of these unless I take the jump and head back to work. So Wish me luck! I am going to need it!
Keep a look out for my post on how my interview went! I’d love to hear other parents views on how they felt going back to work. Leave your comments below 🙂
Babies are Natural Yogi’s – Mother and Baby Yoga
After attending Yogabellies with Vicky when I was pregnant, and loved every minute of it, I decided I was going back to her class once I had my daughter, and attend her mother and baby class. Read about the pregnancy yoga class here
It was so lovely walking into the class, and seeing ladies who were at my pregnancy class with their babies, and new mums that had joined the class with their babies.
Vicky was as welcoming as she was during the pregnancy class, and made everyone feel at ease. In usual tradition, we sat on the mats, and spoke about our week. We all had a lot to catch up on since the last time all met! This continues at the start of every class, it’s so nice to be able to speak openly about how you are feeling, without being judged by anyone in the class. It’s lovely to hear about how all the other babies are progressing, and watching them hit their milestones, and grow.
We move onto our breathing exercises, like we did in pregnancy, and get to zone into ourself. Although sometimes the babies don’t allow this, they just want to play, want fed, or they need changed! But anything goes in class, and I love that. I don’t feel bad when I have to sit and feed Darcie, or if she’s just wanting to play instead of joining in, it’s just nice to be amongst other mothers who’s babies are at the same stage, and are also causing chaos!
I love that the babies get to do some yoga too, with plenty of singing. Darcie is rolling now and trying hard to crawl, so a lot of the time she is trying to escape from her stretches! But she certainly enjoys the singing. She loves to see all the other babies, and on occasion has rolled over to their mat to say hello! Darcies little friend from little chicken crafts
Now it’s time for us mummies! Sometimes anyways! If our little cherubs allow us, we get to do some yoga of our own. For me personally it’s great to learn new yoga poses, I had never done any yoga until I was pregnant, so I’m still learning. It’s also great to get in a bit of a workout too, as it’s not always possible when your at home with the baby. We incorporate the babies into all of the moves, whether we are holding them, or if we are just talking to them, making eye contact throughout. They are a part of it, and it’s lovely to have that time to bond with them.
Towards the end of the class, it’s time for savasana. Vicky will read a meditation extract. These have been so helpful for me, as there has been some weeks, I’ve struggled with my anxiety, and her words really relate, and always make me feel better. It’s a great time to just sit and cuddle baby, and be in that moment. There’s always something so calming about vickys voice too, that you instantly feel relaxed!
Time for a cuppa and a catch up with the mummies! Vicky hires the room out for 2 hours, even though the class is an hour long. She brings cakes, flowers, and tea, and goes over and above what we expect. Sometimes that chance to sit and chat with the other Mums is just what we need. Especially if it has been a tough week. It’s great to know you aren’t alone. Vicky is more than an instructor, she has become a friend to us all in the class, she has been there throughout our pregnancy journeys, and is now watching our babies grow! So a big shout out to Vicky!
I really feel that yoga has helped with my anxieties, and I feel that it really helps people with their mental health. Keep a look out for a post about that coming out soon. I’d love to hear other Mothers experience with Mummy and baby yoga!
Thrive – The App That Helps Your Mental Health Thrive!
In the age of technology, there are so many different websites and Apps out there to help people who suffer from mental health conditions. I have recently downloaded an app called Thrive, and I can safely say, that this is one of my favourites!
Thrive is an app specifically designed to help people who suffer from mental health conditions, and for me personally I really needed something that would help me when I was struggling, and right now, I’m struggling with my anxiety. So it was perfect timing to try out the app.
When I first log into the App, it asked me about how I’m feeling, and a sliding colour scale. Red feeling rubbish – Green feeling great. As my anxiety levels are pretty high, I sit in the bottom end of the Amber colour.
Working my way through the App it then asks me why I’m feeling that way. Lots of suggestions come up in bubbles on the screen, and all I have to do is click which ones are relevant to me. This process continues, so it can find out the cause of my anxiety. This also works if your feeling great too, and you are at the top end of the scale. It looks at why you are feeling happy. It’s a great way, to gain appreciation of what makes you happy in life.
Working through a questionnaire, the app helps to assess how I am feeling. Like I said previously, my anxiety levels are high, so I knew my results would come back to suggest that, which they did. It offered me a very helpful link to the NHS website, a number for nhs direct and the Samaritans helpline. It also gives me suggestion on what could help ease my anxieties.
This app has a lot of features, that are all amazing, the ones below are my favourite, and help me the most.
Meditation – I love yoga and meditation, so this part of the App is defiantly my favourite. It allowed me to zone out of life, and zone into myself. I had a variety of different sections to complete once in the meditation part of the app. It’s a great way to relax particular at bedtime, and when I feel my anxiety taking over.
Message in a bottle – This is where you can write words of encouragement to other people that use the app, and send it in to a bottle. I love this, as it lets you connect with other people who are struggling with similar battles to yourself.
Breathing – Much like meditation, being in touch with your breathe, and learning to control it, to help you relax is great. Especially if your anxious about something, it’s great to take time to concentrate on your breathing, and calm yourself down.
Progress– This part of the App allows your to track your progress of your mood, it’s a good way to look and see if certain dates, times, months trigger your mental health, it also allows you to see if you are imporoving, and if the app is helping your mental health get better.
These are just a few of the amazing features of this app. I am loving it, and it’s really helping me out. Below is the link to the App, aswell as a code to receive a free trial! Please try it out and leave your feedback, I’d love to hear how everyone else is getting on, and If it helps them as much as it helps me!
Where it states I have a coupon, enter the code below 🙂
CODE – THRIVE1804
If you haven’t read part one, read that here first.
So after months of seeing each other, and getting to know each other we decided it was time to introduce Kris to Ben. I remember sitting down and talking to Kris, and saying to him that if he met Ben and realised it’s not what he wanted. then it was fine, to let me know and we’d just go our separate ways. I knew it must of been hard for a young single guy to come into a ready made family. I didn’t want him to stay because he felt he had to then months down the line leave. I didn’t want to put Ben through that, or myself. There really isn’t anything more nerve wracking than introducing a man to your child. I mean what if Ben didn’t like him!? I was already in love with Kris, so that worried me too! Ben would always come first, and if it was a no from Ben then it would have been a no from me.
Kris was more nervous to meet Ben than he was about meeting me for the first time. I think he had the same worries as me. What if they didn’t get on, or it wasn’t what he wanted. Would that make him a horrible person for not wanting to stick around. It must have been really scary for Kris. Like I said in part one, I’m not sure I could have done it. Walk into a ready made family, and meet and try and bond with someone else’s child. So I take my hat off to anyone, man or woman who can step into a ready made family, and help bring someone else’s child up. Only someone very special would be able to do that!
However I nor Kris needn’t have worried. Kris walked straight over to where Ben was sitting, and sat down playing with his toys together. Ben seemed to have a good night, and even hugged Kris goodnight when it was time for his bed. We were conscious not to have kris over all the time, it was to be a gradual thing, where we’d spend time together the three of us, and other times where it would just be me and Ben. He certainly wasn’t going to be staying over every night either. That wouldn’t have been fair on Ben!
About 6 months down the line came our first “family holiday” this was going to be the test! Kris only ever spent maybe 2 nights at most with us before going home, so 5 nights was going to give him a little taster, and for him to be sure this is defiantly what he wanted in life!
Our holiday was great, in fact the year after we went away again, Majorca this time, for a week! This was by far the best holiday I had ever been on, and have so many amazing memories from it. We did this all before Kris moved in with us. In fact kris didn’t move in with us until a year ago, after we had been together over two years and was engaged! Kris even involved Ben in the proposal, it was just perfect. He got Ben to ask me if I would marry Kris and make him his Step Dad! Just perfect.
It was gradual and Kris started to stay over more each week, to the point he was staying most nights but hadn’t officially moved in. Ben and Kris dote on each other, and Ben really looks up to kris, sounds like him, dresses like him, is into his computer games like him too! But don’t get me wrong, it’s not all roses and butterfly’s. It has had challenges too!
From our first holiday together, and when we are out anywhere really, people always assume that Kris is Bens Dad, and as much as I wish he was, he’s not. Ben has always spoken up and said that’s not my Dad that’s Kris. I used to think, gee thanks Ben for announcing to the world that I’ve had sex with more than one person! Haha! Even now people go, aw… and then there’s an awkward pause! People still stereotype single mums, and/or people who have kids to more than one dad. It’s crazy! I just smile and say yeah he’s not his Dad.
Ben and Kris have very similar personalities, it’s crazy, you’d think that they were father and son! As much as that gives them stuff to bond over, they are also both so crazy stubborn, and it’s literally like being stuck in between two kids sometimes! They fight, tease each other, and get mad at each other. Then I’m in the middle trying to sort it out. Ben doesn’t alway listen to kris, even though Ben can’t remember a time when Kris wasn’t in his life, but obviously knows he isn’t his Dad, he will sometimes not treat him with the same respect he does me. If Kris tells him to do something, he will just ignore him, or give him some sort of cheeky response. All I have to do is start counting to 3 and he does what Kris just asked him to do… well sometimes! It’s so frustrating, no matter how many times I sit Ben down and explain that Kris is the the other adult in the house, and he has to listen to him just like he does with me, sometimes he just doesn’t want to.
However I suppose that’s just what children are like sometimes, there is definitely more positives than negatives in their relationship, and our relationship as a “blended” family. Kris isn’t Bens dad, but choose to bring him up like he’s his son anyway. He’s always there for him when he’s upset, was there for his first day at school, takes time of work to go to school concerts, and his birthday. Kris gave up his bachelor lifestyle to move in with us, and live as a family. He brings laughter and nonsense to the house, and as much as he drives me crazy with Ben sometimes, you can see they love each other like mad! Ask Ben to draw a picture of his family, Kris is always the first person he draws! They way he runs and hugs Kris (sometimes as he’s too cool for hugs now) just melts my heart! And now we have added Darcie into this crazy mix, and all 3 of us just love her so incredibly much!
I’d love to hear other single mums experience of introducing their children to their now partners, what was your experience? Do you still have challenges like we do?
So I have just said yes to my dress of my dreams to marry the man of my dreams a year and a half from now, which has kind of prompted me to write a post about how we met. Also about what it was like dating as a single mum, and what it was like to date a single mum from kris’s point of view. This post is the first of 3 parts.
Before I met Kris I was not long out of a relationship with someone else, a very short relationship and I think I was just too scared to be on my own, that I settled. It was apparent very quickly that was never going to work out, and that ended after a night out…..anyways fast forward to meeting Kris.
I was browsing the wonderful world of online dating, not really sure of what or who I was looking for, if anything. I certainly knew I wasn’t looking for a relationship. Swiping left or right on tinder was usually accompanied by friends and a glass or four of wine! It was a laugh, like a catalogue of men to browse and most likely scrutinise! Too tall, too short, he’s posing with a girl, oh I know him, he has a wife! Jeeze there’s my ex! So it was never really taken seriously.
I met Kris on a site called pof. A free online dating site, as I was not up for paying to use the catalogue lol. POF was worse, I’d get countless messages from sleazy men sending me photos of things I did not want to see! I mean why would you feel the need to send naked picture of yourself. No thank you! But in amongst the craziness of online dating, I met Kris.
I had this notification pop up on my account, I had been favourited. I went on and had a little browse of his profile. Cute, tall, dark hair, great smile, tattoo’d, yeah he was defiantly my type, so I hit the favourite button back. I didn’t really think too much about it, nothing usually comes of those things. The next morning I logged onto my account to see a message from him, with something really cheesy like, “you just made my night by favouriting me” haha he insists to this day he wasn’t cheesy, but he really was! We got chatting and we spoke every day for a good couple of weeks. Kris worked offshore, so we had arranged to meet up when he got back. He wasn’t long out of a relationship either, so we were both happy that we weren’t wanting anything serious, just a bit of fun, and a few dates.
So our first date came around, Ben was at his dads for the weekend, it was a bit awkward, I felt like I knew him after talking to him every day, and totally stalking his social media to ensure I knew he was who he said he was! But we had never met, so I didn’t know him at all. “Shall I shake your hand or kiss you on the cheek when we meet?” A line that I later found out he used on all the girls! Haha. A kiss on the cheek it was! He brought me flowers! Big tick ✔️ I couldn’t remember the last time anyone brought flowers for me, romance wasn’t dead! We spoke for hours, and had a bit of a kiss! He made me laugh, and gave me excited butterflies in my tummy, defiantly what I was looking for in terms of dating.
We pretty much saw each other every night while he was home that trip, when Ben went to bed, he’d come to mine and chill, watching tv, chatting and getting to know each other. When Ben was away to his dads we’d go out on dates and he’d stay over! I remember us lying in bed one morning, having a conversation with each other ensuring we were both on the same page, the friends with benefits one! Which I was, but I knew I was starting to fall for him, and he was for me too! I tried to look for faults to stop myself, but I couldn’t find any. There really wasn’t anything about him I disliked…might be a bit different now! Haha, so I thought, just go with it, your enjoying dating him, don’t think too much into it.
He went back offshore, and I missed him like mad, he’d phone me every other night, sometimes every night while away, so clearly I was more than a friend with benefits to him too! We had arranged to go away for the night in Glasgow when he came back. Something to look forward too! I couldn’t wait until he came home. By this point my family and friends knew all about him too, but no one had met him yet and certainly not Ben. If there was one thing I knew, it was regardless of how our relationship was to go, I wasn’t introducing Ben until I was 100% certain he wasn’t going to fuck us over, and even when I would introduce him, it would be as my fiend to start with.
<< was home! And our night away to Glasgow is one I will never forget. For reasons of which I can't disclose on here! Haha, but it was also the first night he told me he loved me! Wow, LOVE! yup so we aren't just friends with benefits then are we! He was drunk so I wasn't sure if I believed him so I didn't say it back, even though I was totally screaming in my head I love you too, while jumping up and down! When we woke in the morning, he said it again, ok he's sober now, it must be true. I said it back. We are in love! I was so incredibly happy! The happiest I had been in a very long time. I'd also like to point out that we dropped the L bomb and we weren't even officially boyfriend,girlfriend yet, and that wasn't to happen for another few weeks! << 'd continue to see each other in the same manner for a few months before he met Ben! This was challenging at times, as all of you parents out there know, that sometimes toddlers don't sleep all night, and Ben was just under 3 when we started seeing each other, and didn't sleep through the night properly until he was 3 and a half. I didn't want him to meet Kris by chance I wanted it to be planned. All you parents out there also know what it's like to be in new relationships and how passionate it is. There was one night I will never forget (and sorry mum, and any other family members reading this) me and Kris were, you know! And we hear this little knock on the living room door. (was safer in the living room as it was further away from Bens room, or so we thought!) I had never seen anyone jump so quickly and hide behind the chair clutching his clothes looking like he was a naughty teenager, who had just been caught by his girlfriends dad! Haha. Hilarious, but it must have been a struggle for kris. He was 24 when we met, so he could go out there and meet anyone, someone that didn't have a kid that would interrupt the sex sessions! Someone who he could go and see whenever he wanted, and not have to come second to their child. I'm not really sure I could have done it, and I know that's really hypocritical of me, but I'm not sure I would have been strong enough to date someone who already had a kid, and maybe that's because I knew what baggage it can come with, or maybe I just didn't want to come second to someone else! Who knows, I just knew it must have been hard on Kris, but he never complained about it, not once. It was one of the many reasons I realised that I wanted to introduce him to Ben. I'd love to hear other single mums or previous single mums experiences while dating. I was lucky to not be in the dating game long, however it was never planned that way. My next blog post will be all about kris meeting Ben, and what challenges that brought and can continue bring at times. Please like and share my post if you enjoyed it x