How She Overcame Hiring Stereotypes as a Mother Returning to Work

How She Overcame Hiring Stereotypes as a Mother Returning to Work

In January 2018 I hired my newest rockstar employee and I could not be happier with her performance. To me, she was just that – a rockstar employee. She crushed her interview, passed my test, and meshed perfectly with the team. I was shocked to hear the bias that she had been facing in her nearly 9-month job search. Below are some of the stereotypes that Kiara faced and how she was able to overcome them.

“Hiring a Mother = Decreased Productivity”

Time and time again, Kiara was told that being a mother would decrease her productivity at work. The assumption is that with kids, things come up that would take away from one’s work productivity or cause distractions. A kid could get sick and need a ride to the hospital, have a sporting event, need a diaper changed, etc. Many hiring managers believe that there is no way a stay-at-home mom could be effective working from home when she has two small children.

How she overcame: Kiara had proved her worth from the very beginning. To explain how she was able to stand out from other applicants, I first have to tell you a bit about the job posting. Being that attention to detail was a huge requirement for the position, I snuck into the job description a line that said, “Bonus points if you find the typo in this job description”. Out of over 300 applicants (most of which did not have children), Kiara was one of five applicants to find the typo. This caused her to immediately be shortlisted for an interview.

“Hiring a Mother = Outdated Skills”

Time and time again, recruiters scan resumes using the 6-second rule, automatically eliminating talented individuals because of an “Employment Gap”. The assumption is that if someone has been unemployed for an extended period of time (usually over 1 year), they are not improving their skills or staying relevant with industry trends. Unfortunately, this method of screening has affected countless mothers looking to return to work.

How she overcame: This is actually a freebie for any mother out there. Being a mother is not considered an employment gap. In fact, being a mother is more than a full-time job. Your official title as a mother is CEO of Your Household. Don’t be afraid to explain on your resume why you have been out of work. Kiara did, and it worked out great for her. Any hiring manager in his or her right mind will value someone who has been a full-time mother. Try something like this on your resume:

Job Title: CEO

Company Name: Santiago Household

Description: Worked 100+ hour weeks with little sleep and very high maintenance clients (my children). Responsible for budgeting, planning, nurturing, customer service, and all household operations.

“Hiring a Mother = Poor Culture Fit”

It’s not uncommon for an employer to feel a bit awkward when hiring a mother. Is a mother going to blend in with the “work hard play hard” culture that the company has established? This happens more at startups than any other companies. For those employers who expect their team to live and breathe work, hiring a mother is not at the top of their agenda. A mother is likely to spend time with her family, rather than going out and getting drinks with the team after work.

How she overcame: This can be a challenging objection to overcome and quite frankly, it is not worth overcoming. This is a sign you should move on and find a new company. At the end of the day, finding the right company to work for will make all the difference. Kiara found the right company to work for. She didn’t try to make it work at a company that did not truly appreciate her life outside of work. She did not have to hide anything or pretend to be someone she was not. She did her due diligence to make sure that our company culture was aligned with her own and I could not be happier to have her as a part of the team.

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