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06th Jan 2015

Returning to the workplace after maternity leave? Here’s the recruitment lowdown

Preparation is key

Sive O'Brien

The last time you were in an office you were footloose and fancy free. Well, not really, but you definitely didn’t have to worry about things like childcare, flexible working hours and what the hell you were going to wear. Thinking about returning to the workplace after time away to bring up children can be daunting – where exactly do you start? Mum of two and Director of Dublin-based Kaizen Recruitment, Lauren Mulligan shares her tips.


CV should be clear and concise.

The profile should outline your key skills.

Highlight previous experience gained to date, in your cover letter.

State that you are a stay-at-home mum returning to the workplace.

Be honest about your strengths.

Show your commitment to working and demonstrate what experience you can bring.

Many of the skills you have as a mum – multitasking, organising, planning – are transferable to the workplace, so make sure you highlight them.

Interview Etiquette

Always dress smartly for an interview (even if office attire is casual).

Make sure you feel comfortable in your outfit choice (there’s no point wearing fabulous heels if you can’t walk in them!).

No nail varnish is better than chipped nail varnish.


Be yourself and be honest. If you’ve loved being out of an office to raise your children, say so. But also let your interviewer know that you’re ready and 100% committed to returning to the workplace.

Treat any interview as a business meeting. Have a file ready with your CV, references, job spec (if any), research you have carried out on the company, as well as interview questions.

Ask about working hours and if any flexibility is offered, but leave out specific examples. General flexibility should take care of this and you will be able to gauge their reaction on the subject.

If asked about salary, you can say that it’s not the key driver – your motivation is returning to the workplace – but you would be delighted to consider a fair salary that would be offered for the role.

Interview Prep

Research interview training online or use recruitment agencies to find out interview tips and typical questions.

Consider any relevant courses that may add to your appeal. For example, if applying for office or PA related roles, take a free typing test online so you can add words per minute to your CV.

Gather references. Ideally, have two written references available to take to any interview.

Make sure childcare or school arrangements are in place before your interview.

Think about the hours you can do. Be flexible but realistic.

Review a salary survey online and check what the standard salary range for these roles is in the industry.

New job prep

Get a good night’s sleep the night before your first day. If possible, sleep in the spare room and let your partner deal with any nighttime wakings.

Plan your route into work.

Get outfits ready and pack lunches the night before to cut down on that mad morning dash.

Good luck and enjoy for more.