Return To Work – Questions & Answers

How did you feel getting back to the workplace after being out for a period of time?

Apprehensive at first, but adjusted back quickly.

Did you suffer imposter syndrome?

No, working on a huge project, where there are constantly new starters so never made to feel like that. Everyone made me feel welcome.

What was your preparation like?

 Interview prep and revised notes on previous projects I had worked on. Also got a home office organised. 

What was your preparation like?

 Interview prep and revised notes on previous projects I had worked on. Also got a home office organised. 

What was your greatest challenge?

Finding a good childminder who i was happy with, once i had that sorted i felt i could properly focus on the role.

How was it getting back?

Great, felt good to restart the brain, get back onto Linked In and feel motivated each day.

In hindsight What would your advise be?

Enjoy your time away from work with your family, Take as much time as you feel suits your particular situation. When returning to work, get your home life / kids etc sorted first, and then everything else will seem easier. Only take on as many hours as you can cope with, don’t overcommit.

What are your hopes going forward?

Continue to work in CSV roles, hope to keep the level of flexibility that my current role offers me (part time, from home). Continue to build my CV.

How did you feel getting back to the workplace after being out for a period of time?
  • I initially had no plan to return to work. I let my previous employer just 2 weeks before Covid lockdowns started and these had probably stalled any plans or thoughts about returning to work.  When I was approached about a part-time project role I was nervous as we were still potentially looking at school closures and I felt like I had built up my knowledge and reputation with my previous employer and was concerned about being suitable for the role that had come up.  The other side of the equation was I was also concerned about my experience and cv aging so the offer probably came at the right time for me. Although I was very conscious about whether it was the right role for me and not just returning to work for the sake of keeping experience up to date – ‘how many boxes did it tick on the checklist’

Once I started working though, I enjoyed being back in the workplace and the sense of ‘I know what I’m doing’ and interacting with people professionally. 

Did you suffer imposter syndrome?

I think this is a general issue for women in the workplace, questioning whether their experience is good enough or if they are good enough for the role. So, yes initially going into the role and replacing someone else I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able for the role, but within a week of getting started and up to speed I had clicked back into work mode and my past experiences where coming more to the forefront of my mind and I settled back into work mode. Also the team I worked with were very supportive and I felt I could reach our to Norma & Kayrn to sense check where I had concerns.

What was your preparation like?

Most of my preparation was around home schedules and making sure everything was lined up on that front. As I was replacing someone, I prepped my own ‘Transition plan’ to list out everything I wanted to make sure was covered in the transition or figure out if it was applicable or not to the role I was taking on. I joined the project in mid-flight, so I did a lot of background reading on the project to catch up in the first week or two.

What was your greatest challenge?

All my previous roles were as a full-time employee, so the biggest challenge I had was the mindset around part-time working and drawing the line at where the day or the contract hours stopped.

How was it getting back?

Its good to be back in the workplace and feel like it is on the terms that suit me and my personal life which is important.

In hindsight What would your advice be?

I think I would have given more consideration to how I structured my part-time role. I generally work mornings to be free for the children coming home from school in the afternoon. I had agreed hours/times to be worked, but fitting project meetings in often went into afternoon slots. I would suggest if looking at a part-time role, it is on full days or being stricter around calendar availability to reduce the overrun of hours afternoons. Otherwise, you may feel you are working full days on part-time hours. I learnt a lot from my first project assignment and feel like I can carry this now into my next role.

What are your hopes going forward?

I’ve moved to another project and looking forward to gaining a different industry experience, even though the project role itself is the same. I’d like to maintain the work-life balance that I now have established.


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6 Top Interview Tips

Tamara at Elite Interviews, is keen to share her 6 Top Interview Tips

1) Why do you want this job?

An apparently simple question, and yet easily the most difficult for a lot of people to answer well. Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking this question is a chance to show off their ambitions and neglect the actual role at hand. This question is really asked because the interviewer wants to know you are as invested in this role and company as they will be in hiring you. It is no good to them if you have ambition to leave the role within a short time frame. Show them how you are invested in this role, and that it makes sense for your long term goals, but that you are not merely interested in a brief stepping stone on their dime

2) Be prepared.

It can be so easy to excel in the technical aspect of your interview by preparing well and anticipating possible questions based on the job description, so be sure to study that very well as your interview guide. This is particularly comforting if you are nervous about your communication style or struggle with nerves in an interview, because you be confident that in this aspect you know your stuff. For example, if you are interviewing for a LEAN role, have your 7 wastes ready to rhyme off the top of your head, have examples of how you have tackled or would tackle each waste, and why. Showing how you have used your technical expertise in previous roles will greatly bolster your capabilities to an interviewer.

3) Relax.

Easier said than done for some but remember that you are there for a conversation. It is simply a method for the interviewer to ask about what you have done in greater depth than your CV allows. By being called for an interview at all, you can be assured that you have a lot of the qualities they are looking for already, so take confidence from that.

4) Focus on you.

Forgetting to focus the answers on tangible actions taken by they themselves is a surprisingly common theme among my clients. Refer every question to something you yourself did, and be sure to crystal clear about your exact role. For example, if it was a team effort, mention that fact, but then speak in the first person such as “I was responsible for implementing a 5S system and I did so by…”.

5) Talk about results.

If you have made hard or soft savings through a project, be sure to mention that in actual terms. Giving an example of a project you did without also communicating the result is a common mistake among clients, and can weaken the impact of that example to the interviewer.

6) Change.

An important communication skill for people in management, supervisory, engineering, project leader roles, etc, is the ability to implement change. A good change agent is key to some of these positions that may require a big change from the status quo. Be sure to prepare to answer how you approach dealing with people in order to change a process. Key to this answer will be to show your technical knowledge. By educating process workers on the relevant principles, for example in 5S, and showing them how such change actually benefits them and their work, is often the key to effective change. This kind of approach shows your confidence in your technical ability to engage the stakeholders and achieve necessary changes.