Preparing for interview after a career break

Going for your first interview after a long break is a daunting prospect. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of the experience.  

The main thing to remember is that having an interview after a career break is just like having an interview at any other time – the key is preparation and a positive attitude. You should prepare for it in the same way you would have for interviews before you left work. Remember that you have done this before successfully and can do it again! 


Research the employer – what does the company do, who are its main competitors, what does this particular department do – and so on. Think about the questions you may be asked and run through a few possible answers – Reed has a useful guide to common interview questions here. Prepare some questions you can ask the interviewer about the firm. 

Make sure you know your CV thoroughly – remember to take a copy with you. You can use it during the interview to back up your answers to questions and give examples of where your experience is relevant.  

Practise – if you have a willing friend or relative running through questions before the interview would be excellent preparation. Are you likely to have to do a competency or skills test? If so, make sure you find time to get some practice in before the interview.  

Plan – make sure you know the route to the interview and where to park, or which public transport you will need to take. Leave plenty of time for the journey so you don’t arrive feeling stressed.  

Think positive: 

Getting an interview shows your CV is doing its job. Remember that employers will only be interviewing people they think can do the job. Be confident – although your first interview can be a bit scary if you feel confident in yourself that will shine through to the interviewer. And if you’re not feeling confident just yet then think positive thoughts about your skills and experience and how much you would enjoy this job and confidenece should follow naturally.  

Make a great first impression: 

Dress well – choose smart business clothes unless otherwise advised. Clothes should be spotless and shoes clean and polished.  

Think about your body language – offer a firm handshake, sit up straight, smile and look the interviewer in the eye.  

Speak well – listen carefully to questions before answering, speak up clearly, don’t mumble and don’t use jargon.  

We blogged about making a great first impression last year – you can read the article here

Finish well:

Thank the interviewer for their time and ask for feedback if possible. Remember that even if you are not successful the experience is valuable to your future career. Think through the positives and negatives and whether there is anything to be learned for next time.  

Good luck! 

RecruitAbility has many years’ experience of helping people get back into the workplace. If you are looking for a new job after a career break we would love to hear from you. Call us on 01279 758855 to speak to one of our consultants.  



Posted on Monday Apr 1