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Interviewer will be using "SAHM" status against me apparently, any tips?

65 replies

WideWebWitch · 21/05/2003 20:42

Help! I've got a second interview tomorrow and apparently the man I'm seeing is likely to use the fact that I've been a SAHM against me and will try to negotiate me down on salary on this basis. I won't be having any of it but I wondered if anyone had any useful advice or tips on what to say/not to say? If he suggests I'm rusty I'm thinking along the lines of saying ?well, my area of expertise hasn't changed in that time (which is true) and the principles of xyz remain the same (they do)? and ?If I can placate a room full of 3 year olds then I can certainly deal with any challenging customer/supplier/staff behaviour. I've learned to be more patient and strategic in my thinking etc as a result at being home with a child? Is that pushing it? Should I do the Kate Reddy thing (she?s from the book ?I don?t know how she does it? of not mentioning children at all? Any other ways I can give myself an edge? Any other good answers to awkward questions? I'm up against 3 others, who haven?t been SAHMs as far as I know. TIA.

OP posts:

WideWebWitch · 21/05/2003 20:43

Didn't mean the smiley.

OP posts:

wiltshirelass · 21/05/2003 20:51

I think you should handle it as though you don't quite understand what the issue is and you are faintly surprised that he is raising it. I think your first two answers are excellent, but I would on no account mention 3 year olds. I'd go from "area of expertise hasn't changed, principles of xyz remain the same, I am quite confident about my competance to do the job as illustrated by my previous experience, are there any other specific concerns you would like me to address?".
I'd say on no account mention children and then he won't have any excuse to discuss them and his prejudices about them (if he has any) unless he brings them up himself. You can then deal with what he brings up in a way which is professional but makes it clear that you consider his questions to be inappropriate and irrelevant.


Claireandrich · 21/05/2003 20:56

I like the fact that you can argue your points too. However, what is your response if he asks you what you have been doing recently if you don't mention the children though? I personally don't think you should hide the fact you have been at home being a mum if asked such a question. Be honest and use your experiences as an advantage, without dwelling too much on any mumsy bit.

Failing everything else, be yourself, be positive, lok good and just answer the questions the best you can. Good luck and I hope it goes well.


meanmum · 21/05/2003 20:58

Another key factor to being a SAHM is the management of budgets and household costs. Financial acumen is highly prized in any role so remember to use this. I agree, don't raise anything about children and how you handle them.

He should not raise the issue of you being a SAHM during the interview and if he does then this shows a complete lack of interview skills and technique.

Are they undertaking competency based interviews or is there no format at all. Competency based means each candidate is asked the same questions and this is the best method of interviewing as it ensures a lack (or less) of discrimination, bias etc. If you leave the interview feeling that the questions posed to you were biased to your having been a SAHM for a period of time then raise this initially with the agency/individual that has put you forward.

Let us know how it goes.


meanmum · 21/05/2003 21:01

You are right Claireandrich. Don't avoid the fact you have been a SAHM but don't go into too much depth either. The examples you have given are excellent.

Worry about the negotiation of salary if and when they offer you the job. Have you already set your salary expectations. I hope so. Good luck.


lucy123 · 21/05/2003 21:02

I agree with Wiltshirelass - he's clearly prejudiced against sahms and he simply won't see the 3 year old / customer analogy. Or worse, he may imagine you talking to stroppy customers as if they were 3 year olds.

On the other hand, you could perhaps go on about being a more well-rounded character as a result of your sahm experiences (again, his prejudice may mean he won't see it but it shouldn't go against you).

Good luck!


WideWebWitch · 21/05/2003 21:09

Thanks so far everyone. Meanmum, aren't you in HR or have I got that wrong? OK, I won't mention 3 yos, good point Lucy123, hadn't thought of that, although the idea of speaking to a stroppy customer as if they're a 3yo greatly amuses me! Wiltshirelass, you're right, I should go for the It's Not An Issue approach, play it down and not mention the children word. The agency have warned me that he may push me to state a salary and then try to get me down so I'm sort of prepared for that (so I'll try not to mention a figure if pos unless they make an offer later and I'm going for the 'you get what you pay for and I'm worth it' tactic, although stated more politely than that - can you tell I don't mind if I don't get it? ) claireandrich, I agree, I'm not going to ignore it, just that I have been warned he'll use it as a negotiating tool. Any other views appreciated, these are great, thanks.

OP posts:

pupuce · 21/05/2003 21:33

If he feels intimidating.... visualise him naked


meanmum · 21/05/2003 21:46

I am in HR for all its sins. He can't use it as a negotiating tool unless it is just in his mind. That is blatant discrimination and he would be a complete twit to even mention it to the agency. Mind you loads of people say stupid things to agencies and if they are half decent then they don't pass it on. My advice on negotiating is always set your price higher so when they get you for a lower figure they feel they have got a bargain and you are happy because you have achieved what you wanted in the first place. Always remember your worth and never sell yourself short. This is too common a trait in people and no one ever values themselves highly enough. Don't be unrealistic about your target and if they can't budge on a a set salary then see if you can get extra in the benefits area to boost you up. Therefore, you might get a higher percentage bonus than normally offered. This can sometimes work for a company as they tend to hide their figures and quite often don't incorporate bonuses or some other benefits as part of the employee costs as such. It all comes down to budget and market rates.

Be proud of being a SAHM as you do have a lot to offer coming back into the workplace.


bossykate · 21/05/2003 22:15

www, can't add to the excellent advice here already. best of luck for tomorrow!


maryz · 21/05/2003 23:11

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tortington · 21/05/2003 23:12

good luck and best wishes


doormat · 21/05/2003 23:17

www good luck for tomorrow.

pupuce if www imagines interviewer naked it would resemble one of your homemade chicken nuggets!!!!


griffy · 21/05/2003 23:56

Good luck WWW - I'm with Wiltshirelass on the advice front. Everything crossed for you.


SofiaAmes · 22/05/2003 00:22

Just wanted to add, along the lines of what maryz said....why not mention that you decided to become a sahm because you believe in being fully committed to your work and didn't think you could give the job the attention it would need with young children at home. (probably not too far from the truth)


Tinker · 22/05/2003 00:26

Good luck for, er, today now. Well done you getting to 2nd interview.


Ghosty · 22/05/2003 02:39

Good luck WWW ...


Batters · 22/05/2003 07:22

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Eve · 22/05/2003 07:46

Good luck, and if you are asked for a salary suggestion think of what salary you believe yourself to be worth....and then double it!!

Not a comment on greed ...just females so typically undervalue themselves and its one of the reasons men earn more than us. Men believe they are worth more than they are paid, we women believe less.

Also any enquiry from interviewer re childcare, children etc he is treading dangerous ground as questions like this can very easily be construed as discrimination.


spacemonkey · 22/05/2003 08:05

Yes Eve, I was under the impression that interviewers can't ask about children or childcare because of equal opportunities law. In the past, I have always brought the subject up myself in order to address any concerns the interviewer may have about it without putting them in the awkward situation of having to ask. That way you are taking the initiative instead of having to defend yourself. Frankly I wouldn't want to work for an employer who had a negative attitude towards employees with children, it will only lead to trouble later on the odd occasion that you do have to take time off at short notice, or leave the office unexpectedly, which rarely happens, but is inevitable at some time or another. There are plenty of good employers out there who are willing to be flexible, who appreciate that you have a life outside of the office walls, and who value all the qualities, skills, responsibility and maturity of employees who are also parents.


sis · 22/05/2003 13:57

WWW, I'm probably too late now for giving any advice but for what it's worth, I agree with Wiltshirelass, Meanmum and Eve. I love the bit about looking faintly surprised!

All the best for the interview!


ScummyMummy · 22/05/2003 14:00

Good luck that woman. Go for it. Mind you, it's their loss if they're dumb enough to hold SAHMness against you.


cuddlemonkey · 22/05/2003 15:06

Hello WWW
Congratulations on your second interview. I don't post very often but a shortwhile back you gave me some advice and support when I returned to work. Many thanks! Coincidentally my new job is now in HR, so I second the excellent advice particularly from Meanmum and Spacemonkey (Whoops I'd better change my nickname). Interviewers are not meant to bring up the subject of SAHM or childcare, it's discrimination after all, I bet he wouldn't bring up these subjects to a male applicant. Best of Luck!


spacemonkey · 22/05/2003 15:42

hehe cuddlemonkey - i think there's room for more than one monkey on mumsnet


megg · 22/05/2003 19:03

Why is is ok to have a sabbatical from work to swan off round the world but not ok to have a sabbatical to bring up a child? Surely you're doing something more useful bringing up a child? Hope it went well.

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