Going through a divorce is incredibly stressful. You may feel like your life has been thrown into chaos. You could be missing out on sleep or neglecting your health. If you have no choice but to find a job right now, the job searching and interviewing process is probably only adding to the pressure you’re feeling.
On the other hand, you may be excited about a change and ready to switch careers, which is why you’re applying for new jobs. Either way, it’s important to head into your next job interview after divorce feeling confident, pulled together, and positive. While the rest of your life may feel out of control right now, you can still ace the interview.
Here are tips on how to prepare for a job interview after divorce.
Research the Company and the Role
You don’t have to dig into the history of each and every team member, but you should know about the company’s background, their primary clients, and the main services or products they offer. You can easily find this information on the company website, in media coverage, and in press releases from the past couple of years.
You’ll also want to take a good look at the job description. If there’s something required that you don’t have a lot of experience in, research it — you may be still able to relate your past experience to that responsibility in some way that shows you can handle it.
If you know who will be interviewing you, find out a bit about them as well. If you end up mentioning to the interviewer that you’re in the middle of a divorce, they might be impressed that you took the time to do extra research while your mind has been elsewhere.
Prepare and Practice As Much As Possible
Right now, your mind is probably distracted and scattered. It’s hard to remember anything, let alone come up with great ideas on the spot. If you go into your interview feeling this way, you’ll freeze every time you’re asked a question.
Your best option is to prepare and practice ahead of time as much as you can. You don’t want to memorize what you’ll say to the point where you sound robotic, but you do need to be well-versed in your answers to expected questions. Common interview questions include:
- Are you familiar with our company?
- Why do you want to leave your current job or position?
- What’s your work style?
- What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
- Where do you want to be in five years, career-wise?
If you know these questions are coming, you can start forming answers to them ahead of time. Have more examples and stories than you’ll need. Think of times when you exceeded expectations at work, as well as times when you “failed” but bounced back and learned something from it. Also, come ready with a question to ask them — the last question is usually “Do you have any questions for us?” Having questions about workplace values or policies can make you seem more prepared.
Be Ready for Objections
Most people aren’t perfectly suited for a job — they may be over- or underqualified, which means that certain questions are going to arise during the interview. Knowing that ahead of time, though, means you can prepare. Think about where your experience falls short compared to job expectations or requirements. If the skill can be learned, what you need to show the interviewer is that you (a) have some familiarity with it and (b) you’re willing to get up-to-speed quickly.
For example, if you’re looking for a job in the marketing department but you’ve never handled social media marketing, the interviewer may voice his concerns. Instead of leaving it at, “No, I didn’t do social media marketing as part of my job,” you could say, “I didn’t have social media marketing as part of my main job, but I did attend all of that department’s meetings, and I’ve had great luck with Facebook campaigns for my side business.
I read a lot of articles about social media marketing techniques because I find them interesting, and I’m confident that I could learn the skills needed.” This shows interest and experience in the field, which are vital.
Think Beyond the Questions
A lot of what’s communicated during an interview isn’t said out loud. In addition to caring about your answers to questions and examples from your past jobs, the interviewer is looking at how you’re answering the questions. He’s reading between the lines to assess your personality traits and soft skills, determining if you’ll be a good addition to the team for reasons other than your hard skills. Demonstrate the skills they’re looking for by acting like a leader.
Listen closely to the questions so that you don’t fumble. Don’t rush to fill in gaps in conversation. Instead, take a few seconds to form what you’ll say and answer thoughtfully. Stay calm and polite, even if the interviewer purposely challenges you. Your goal isn’t to get through this individual, hour-long interview; it’s to be a regular part of the team and possibly the leader of a group or department.
Get That Job!
Chances are that it’s hard to focus on your upcoming interview when you have divorce-related issues spinning in your brain. Getting ready for a job interview after divorce doesn’t have to take up all of your time and energy. Clear a couple of hours a day or two before your interview to prepare so that you can go in with the info fresh in your mind. Interviews tend to be short, so all you have to do is get through an hour or so of putting your best foot forward.
Also, remember that the interview is as much for you as it is for them — you also have to assess if this is the right opportunity for you. In the end, you’ll be thrilled if you land the job you want — and proud of yourself for getting through it during such a tough time in your life.