As anyone who has internet access will tell you, employees are being permitted to work flexibly more now than ever before. The reasons for this are plentiful - flexible organisations are able to manage their workforce in a more cost effective manner, being flexible makes you an employer of choice and enabling your staff to have outside interests generally means you're going to hire more willing, well rounded individuals who are able to prioritise their work and who will appreciate the flexibility, which means they're going to work harder when they are at work.
While I have many male clients (because CV writing is pretty gender neutral), it stands to reason that the majority of the people who ask for my help are women...and, often, mums who are returning to the workplace after taking time out to have a family.
Recently, I sat on an interview panel at a school who were appointing a new head teacher. This particular candidate had been unemployed for a while, but we found out that she had only applied for a few posts here and there - she hadn't applied for everything and anything she came across.
From April 2015, the law is changing (for those who wish to be pedantic, the law has already come into force but it will only affect babies born from April 2015). Under the new regulations, parents will be able to choose how they share the care of their child during the first year after birth. Mums will still have to take at least two weeks following the birth, but after that they can choose to end their maternity leave and the parents can opt to share the remaining leave as flexible parental leave.
Recently, I have had a number of clients ask me whether they should mention on their CV or during an interview that they have kids. I'm asked often whether having kids will put a potential employer off of hiring you? Should you say anything?
As I have said before, I've sat through many interviews - mostly, thankfully, as the interviewer rather than the interviewee, but sitting on both sides of the desk have provided me with some great insight, not to mention some valuable life lessons in how to get your dream job...and how not to.
There are certain times of the year when recruitment is rife. September is a good one, people come back from their holidays and spending time with their kids and they realise how much they dislike their current role and decide to do something about it pre-Christmas. The other time is of course the New Year, with many people making resolutions to go and find a job that will make them happy, allowing them to fulfil their dreams or simply escape a position that makes them downright miserable.
When invited to attend an interview, most people I speak to worry about the obvious things - what to wear, how to answer the tough questions, how to explain leaving their last position etc. Rarely do people ever ask me about the nonverbal issues - those little behaviours or mannerisms that can mean the difference between interview success and failure.
Recently, national recruitment consultancy Reed did a survey of 300 recruiters/hiring managers, asking them what their pet peeves are when it comes to candidates. They made some interesting points - bad grammar and bad presentation seemed to be the key CV irritants, while during interviews apparently most of them said that a limp handshake and arriving late were the real turn offs.
While I certainly don't disagree with any of these things, this article got me thinking. As you can imagine, I have interviewed literally hundreds of people over the course of the last 14 years and so here are my top three pet peeves:
Whenever I have advised a candidate or even a friend on going for an interview, one piece of advice I give always remains constant - sell yourself. An interview isn't the place to hide what you have achieved and it's not the place for false modesty, either. It is in fact one of the only socially acceptable places where you can boast about your achievements...just make sure you do it in a professional way.