How to Succeed as a Returner Candidate – Top Tips from Employers

Four leading Returner Programme Managers, on an Employer Panel at our 2021 Women Returners ‘Back to Your Future’ Conference, provided a wide range of practical advice on how to succeed as a returner candidate, ably facilitated by Melissa Janvier, a Bank of England returner.

Here’s a summary of top tips from our panel: Helena Fernandes from Credit Suisse, Brett Hemmerling from Moody’s, Tace Heuston from J.P. Morgan and Sarah Mavius from FDM Group.

What stands out in a returner application

  • We want to understand your motivations – what’s driving you to return
  • We’re interested in what you’ve done previously in your professional career – your strengths and skillset
  • It’s important to own your career break – we want to see you’ve had one and the transferable skills you gained during it
  • Clarity on what you’re looking to do next and how that aligns with your professional experience and transferable skills – that helps us to think about what would be a good fit
  • Focus and minimal irrelevant detail
  • If you’re interested in more than one role with us, it’s fine to apply for several, provided the opportunities align with your skillset – don’t just apply for all

At Interview

  • It’s natural to be nervous. It’s ok!
  • We’re aware you’ve not had an interview for a while. Often the interview may be more conversational and viewed as an opportunity to get to know you and understand your skills. We’re not expecting you to know all the up to date terminology.
  • Understand what skills and strengths you bring and be able to articulate them clearly
  • Practice to build confidence. Write a list of the types of questions you might get and prep your answers. Practice saying them out loud in front of a mirror, so that your answers become more fluid and you can check your body language is positive.
  • Think about who can provide a reference – if your career break is 5 years+, get creative. If you’ve been volunteering or working on a small scale during your career break, consider who you could ask there that can attest to your skills and strengths

What do the best returners do that make them stand out on a returner programme?

  • They embrace all the resources and opportunities given to them, and leverage them to ensure they’re making connections and learning about the culture and company – this reflects their motivations and commitment to us
  • They’re proactive and engaged
  • They’re contributors – they want to share their experience and they get involved at many levels
  • They’re team players
  • They ask questions and ask for help when they need it

Final top tips

  • Network and explore as much as possible so you can identify where to focus your energy
  • Have confidence in your skills and experience, gained in your previous roles and on your career break.
  • Be open and positive
  • Believe in yourself!

For more info about our current Returner Opportunities, click here