Job Interviews and Working Mothers in Medical Aesthetics
Get expert advice on how to find flexibility and fulfillment.
For employers and working mothers alike, interviewing for a new position in Medical Aesthetics can be an art, and many people find the process can be emotional and challenging. Working mothers should not be afraid to own their parental identity, but they should also be prepared to demonstrate their skills by asking questions about their potential new position.1
Spark consulted with a number of working mothers and experts in Medical Aesthetics to explore the special skills a working mother can bring to her potential workplace.
In the past few decades, the perception of working moms has changed for the better.
As Houston-based board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Camille Cash explains, “When I began in the industry, the idea of a working mother often came with the assumption of an inability to fully commit.”
However, in a recent Forbes article, Daniella Kahane, executive director/CEO of the WIN (Women in Negotiation) Summit, says this perception is changing. She encourages women to not only reframe and reclaim the “Mother” title, but also to know their value and be confident during hiring negotiations.1 Legally, employers can’t ask applicants questions about their personal life, but as an applicant you can present the information.
Dr. Cash agrees. “To me, a working mom is a huge asset. You should showcase your ability to multitask, respond quickly and compassionately to sudden demands, and demonstrate your resourcefulness in delegating to make sure everyone’s needs, including your own, are met appropriately and proportionately.”
Utah-based Medical Director Shelby Miller, DNP, FNP-C, adds, “Mothers are hard workers. They pitch in, they clean up after themselves. They’re loyal, they work hard, and they get the job done without you having to hound them. We have a lot of mothers that work at my practice. And as one, I can relate to them.”
Identifying as a parent in job interviews is a good practice for working moms.
Owning your own parental identity requires transparency from the start, according to Mary Beth Hagen, CEO of a Greater Minneapolis-St. Paul non-physician aesthetic recruiting firm. “If you’re a new mom, and you’re looking to transition into aesthetic medicine, you may have a lot of questions about what you should tell a prospective employer,” she explains.
By law, employers aren’t allowed to ask certain questions about a candidate’s personal life, which is why both Daniella and Mary Beth are advocates for being upfront about what Daniella describes as “non-negotiables,”1 especially when it comes to child care and life schedules. Although an employer can’t ask these questions, a candidate can volunteer the information.
“I would be honest and let them know I have a little one at home, because it will create an environment of trust, right from the very beginning between you and the employer,” Mary Beth continues. “I would tell them, ‘I want to make sure that I give you as much time and energy as you need for me to be able to do this job and do it well. But I also need to let you know that I have a hard-and-fast pickup time at 6 o’clock with daycare, or I could work every evening you need me to, but I can’t work Tuesdays and Thursdays.’”
Working mothers should be prepared to ask and answer nuanced questions.
As with any position, a candidate who is not only informed but also enthusiastic about the role will stand out from the competition. Emily Anne Scalise, MA, director of business development and operations at two leading dermatology practices in Connecticut, recommends that Medical Aesthetics candidates research the distinctions of what the hiring managers are looking for, and come in prepared to ask and answer questions specific to the role.
If you feel awkward about asking your potential employer questions and answering theirs, remember the STAR method, which is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action, and Result.2 It can be used as a compelling way to answer a somewhat open-ended question like “Give me an example of a situation in which you excelled.” Set up the situation first, relate your role or task in that situation, and then explain both the action you took and the subsequent result.
Daniella also recommends preparing a journal or portfolio of previous accomplishments, projects, and professional achievements so that it’s easy and efficient to demonstrate your value to an employer.1 A ready-made portfolio may also inspire a potential employer to ask about specific skills that may enable you to land the position.
Employers should be aware of the dos and don’ts of interview questions.
Interviewing isn’t a one-sided affair and by law, employers can’t ask applicants personal questions. They may desire to create an environment that allows applicants to share information without making them feel like they’re being interrogated.
Questions centered around flexibility, such as “What would be your ideal balance between remote and in-person work?” will allow candidates to disclose information without making them feel awkward.3
How working moms can negotiate for a good salary and benefits.
Part of knowing your worth as a working mother is knowing how to ask for a suitable salary and benefits before an offer is formally made. As Mary Beth explains, “I always encourage anyone who is a prospective mom and new mom to always talk about [salary and benefits] with prospective employers. It’s amazing to me how many people don’t discuss compensation or benefits or work-life balance until the very end of the interview process or they’re waiting to get an offer.”
Daniella sees negotiation as an inherent opportunity for connection, not just at work, but at home, too. “Rather than a zero-sum game approach, look for opportunities to put your counterparty in the solution-finding role instead of attacking or confronting them with a problem. This will empower them to want to help you instead of putting them on the defensive and create a win-win solution for both parties. Whether that be your spouse picking up more slack at home, your boss offering you part-time work from home, or do not disturb hours between 6-8 pm.”1
Ultimately, when seeking a new position as a working mother, Mary Beth emphasizes that it’s vital not to settle on the first offer, but rather choose the offer that best suits your needs.
“Make sure you’re really thinking through what your long-term goals are for you, for your career, for your family,” Mary Beth says, “And make sure that those fit into the opportunity that a prospective employer is offering.”
Spark acknowledges that there are many working parents in the field of Medical Aesthetics. Our Spark community is 96% female, and we’ve encountered many expert perspectives and questions about being a working mother. Spark is meeting this need with a content series on mothers in Medical Aesthetics to help educate our audience on the benefits of mothers in the workplace in general, and specifically in the field of Medical Aesthetics.
https://intrvu.org/work/star-technique-behavioural-interviews/. Accessed June 10, 2022
https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/4037-illegal-interview-questions.html. Accessed June 10, 2022