Kids. Job interview. They don’t co-exist in the same space. Not job interviews. It never ends well. And it shouldn’t.
That is what happened to my client, Sharon, a year ago in middle of a shouting match between her 7 & 12 year old girls. It was obvious to her prospective employer that her response to her children was not the transferable skill the company desired.
Sharon (not her real name) was the most mild mannered person I’ve known. We wrote and edited her resume to a lean 1 1/2 pages. We produced a cover letter that was pretty unique and compelling. She received calls for meetings within two weeks. But…
The most temperate person will blow his or her top under the worst circumstances. The person on the other end thinks, “If she can not control her kids, how will she deal with a difficult customer or coworker.”
Tell your kids to stifle before an interview, without an audience, before disqualifying yourself as a serious candidate.
I suggest the following to remind parents to master the restraint button before you have life-changing conversations of any kind:
Don’t: Threaten them, and punish them for being kids. They run, they chase, and they throw things.
Do: Prepare them by giving them toys or a temporary hiatus during the duration of the call. Explain to them the significance of the call, and the rewards when you get the job.
Don’t: Yell at children during the call. No one wants to know, or hear you yell, scream, or screech!
Do: Train them to lower their voices when anyone is on the phone anytime.
Don’t: Be where you are visible or distracted.
Do: Be in an office with the door shut, locked, or bolted.
Don’t: Expect your small children to understand.
Do: Demonstrate patience and provide them with careful instruction.
Debatable: Don’t interview on a busy day.
Do: Have an quiet hour or two before the phone interview, and to quiet your children. If Dad is not around to help, then maybe they will sleep while you have an uninterrupted interview over the phone.
Remember that you cannot ask an employer to hold unless it is an emergency. Some interviewers tolerate it, but most have zero patience. You have to know your children, and prepare them accordingly. Good luck. May the force be with you.