Tuesday, April 12, 2011

mad skillz babe

This is not a funny topic. At all. But two funny (ish) things happened to two women I know recently.

Both were applying for jobs they really wanted. Both are in their 40s. Both have been out of the workforce for some time.

Interview 1 with friend L went like this:

interviewer - so, L, can you tell me what your skills are?

L - L's brain picks this moment to take a break.
(looks out the window)
(looks at interviewer)
(still silent)
Ummmm..... I'm sorry. I'm not sure what you mean....

interviewer - Well, can you tell me what you would bring to this job?

L just looks at her. Her brain is still absent. After a few more (very long) seconds of silence, she begins talking about how she thinks she can do the job, and manages to muddle her way through.
She cries in her car all the way home.

Interview 2 with J goes like this:

interviewer: So, J, can you tell me about your skills?

J : (brain freezes)......

interviewer: Well, what would you bring to the job? What are your skills?

J : very flustered, bursts out in an accusing tone, Well, I don't have any! (not true, she does)


Interviews aren't really fun for anyone, are they? But when you've been a full-time mum for years, recently divorced, worrying over a mortgage and how the kids are coping, and desperately need the job, the tension and stress plays havoc with your self-esteem.

Both these women could do the job. But they have trouble selling themselves.

I just hope both interviewers look past those disastrous replies, and see the real skills.


  1. I hope one of them gets the job too! I think most good managers recognise situations like this, so here's hoping they're one of those bosses!! xo

  2. good luck to both of them .... just because we are SAH mums doesnt mean our brains have turned to mush (like SOME poeple seem to think!!)

  3. I know exactly how they felt!!
    I had mush brain when applying for jobs after spending 13 years raising the kids. Finally got a factory job.
    When the factory eventually closed, I flubbed my way through quite a few interviews (three years worth) when I was 40 something, before landing a job as a christmas casual worker. (Eight and a half years later I'm still with the company).

  4. This is so important for us all to think about. Self-confidence is a major selling point in any situation, but even more so in an interview. It's really important to be prepared. I am writing a book with a wonderful woman called Kate Sykes, who runs a website full of tips (and jobs): www.careermums.com.au - get your friends to have a look before their next interviews!

  5. thanks Ro and Noriel for the support!

    River, I'm so glad things worked out for you in the end, and Allison, I'll pass that site along. Thanks.

  6. Oh no. Poor chicks. The best is yet to come. If they don't get it this time, they'll nail it next time (and that job will be even better).

  7. Best of luck to them.
    I really relate to this and feel for them. How many times have I had brain freezes? Too many to count. Some of us just aren't comfortable telling people how good we are either.


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