If you’re a mum with six-week-old twins and you apply for a new job like I did, you’re both totally commendable and a little bit nuts!
I’ve been with my employer for about eight years and during that time I’ve worked my way up the corporate ladder quite nicely. My “professional self” has been a strong part of my identity for as long as I can remember.
Maternity leave and twins
I started maternity leave as planned at 32 weeks and my twins arrived at 35 weeks, slightly earlier than anticipated but they were healthy, and we all went home within the week. The twins have been amazing since getting home too. My babies seem to sleep reasonably well (which is also why I can write a blog post!) so I can say it’s been smooth sailing so far, knock on wood. Regardless of how great they are- newborns, especially multiples, are exhausting! Sleep deprivation is extreme, even with the sleepiest of babies; and ‘mum brain’ has been scientifically proven… at least I think I read that… somewhere.
When the twins were five or six weeks old, my workplace advertised a new role. While I was confident my employer wanted someone else for this position, it was a promotion and one I felt I’d be qualified to fulfill. It had been a long time since I’d updated my resume, but I thought I’d be crazy not to ‘give it a crack’. I managed to pull together the written application around all the regular baby interruptions and I was happy with the final document. It did however take all my willpower not to answer the Selection Criteria of “Ability to work under pressure to meet tight and conflicting demands” by simply saying “I have twins and a toddler!”
I got to interview stage.
Job interview with newborn twins
The interview, held on Zoom, was what could only be described as a complete trainwreck.
The night before the interview was the twins’ worst night of sleep since they were born. I have no idea how many times I was up during that night, but I know when morning came around, I was far from feeling well-rested.
A few hours before the interview started, I dug out a nice shirt from the back of my wardrobe and applied my thickest concealer to hide the bags under my eyes. I set up the laptop, made sure the camera angle was appropriate and that the background was nicely blurred, and I plugged it into the power outlet.
I had asked two friends to look after the twins during my interview
As a thank you to my friends for agreeing to this, I put out a little cheese platter and a bottle of champagne for them to enjoy during my interview. We all had a glass of bubbles before my interview- I figured it would calm any nerves I had. The problem here, however, was that I hadn’t tasted even a sip of alcohol during my pregnancy, and I’d barely had time for the smallest glass since the twins were born. So you might say I was out of practice. That one glass went straight to my head and left me a little hazy for the interview. Paired with sleep deprivation from the night before, or should I say, the sleep deprivation from the 6 weeks prior, and I was most definitely not on my A game.
Trying to answer interview questions when you have newborn twins
I answered almost all the interview questions with a variation of “it’s about good relationships”. I simply could not think on my feet. I’m sure it got to the point where they could anticipate my next answer, which was probably a good thing because mid-way through the interview my computer shut down! You see, plugging the laptop into the wall is only beneficial if you turn on the power point! So I scrambled to dial back into the interview from my phone. Unfortunately for me, my phone didn’t blur out the background like the laptop did, so my washing that was drying at the back of the room suddenly became a feature of my interview. And the nice camera angle I had set up on the laptop was replaced with my double chin and quite possibly a view up my nostrils.
I battled through the rest of the interview and as soon as it was over, I had another glass of bubbles and laughed with my friends about the trainwreck I’d just endured. We talked about how difficult it is to maintain any semblance of our ‘old’ self during the newborn phase. We talked about how hard it can be to adjust to our new identify as a mother, when for so long it’s been about work and our professional identity. And I chalked the whole event of undertaking a job interview with newborn twins down to a “learning experience.”
The outcome of my Job interview with newborn twins
I didn’t get the job, but I don’t think I was ever really in the running and I can easily laugh about how horrendous the whole ordeal was. I’m happy I pulled together a great resume that I can use for future job applications; and I learnt some simple lessons for future interviews.
To be completely honest, when I finish up my maternity leave early next year, I expect I’ll only go back to this workplace for as long as it takes to settle the twins into childcare and get through the inevitable germs and sicknesses they’ll endure. I don’t want to be starting a new job when I need to be taking time off work for carers leave, so once we pass that hurdle, I’ll ‘give it a crack’ somewhere else. When that time comes and I face another interview panel, I’ll remember to plug in my laptop, I’ll show up sober and hopefully the sleep deprivation will have subsided enough for me to think of appropriate answers to the interview questions, even though I genuinely do believe that an effective workplace really does rely on forming good relationships.
I am a registered architect with a four year old son and identical twin girls who are now three month old.
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