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Despite rampant ageism in the workplace, there are several ways older job seekers can shine in a job interview. Here are our tips for highly experienced job applicants.
Interviewing can be a challenging task, especially when you’re about to hit your golden years. However, as an experienced individual, you know your strengths and weaknesses well, and you have a lot of wisdom organizations can benefit from. With the right interview tips and tricks, you can ace a job interview.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss:
Job interview tips for older job seekers
Sample interview questions and answers for senior job seekers
While interviewing can seem tricky for older job seekers, it doesn’t need to be that way. Here are a few tips for senior, more experienced job seekers:
While you may not be as enthusiastic about this job as you were about your last one, it’s still important to make the hiring manager feel that you’re interested in the opportunity. Keep the conversation polite and professional while conveying your enthusiasm for the job.
If the job is within your field of expertise, talk about your previous experience and how you can add value to the organization. If you’re switching careers, showcase your transferable skills.
Sample answer: “Thank you for considering my application. I’m really excited about this opportunity, and I can’t wait to discuss my skills and how I’d make a good fit.”
You probably have a lot of experiences and accomplishments to share with the interviewer, but you need to honor their time. Also, providing too much information can make the conversation go off-track, and the interviewer might lose interest.
Your focus should not be on overselling your experience. Instead of walking the interviewer through all the jobs you’ve worked, talk about relevant experience only. Select the sections of your resume that relate to the target job.
In today’s world, a lot of emphasis is placed on technical skills. Most jobs now require applicants to be familiar with one or more different types of software solutions and/or project management tools.
As an older job seeker, you’re probably familiar with a wide variety of technical solutions. During your job interview, talk about a few of the tools you’re familiar with. If you don’t have any of the technical skills mentioned in the job advertisement, consider taking a short course in those skills before the job interview. This way, you can at least say that you have theoretical knowledge of the tools.
Sample answer: “Throughout my career, I’ve had the chance to work with different accounting solutions, such as QuickBooks. I have also taken a short course in SAP, so I’m familiar with how the software works.”
Senior job seekers are often viewed as individuals who are unwilling to adapt to the “new” ways. While there is a learning curve that’s inherent with age, it does not impair one’s ability to be adaptable, flexible, and open to change.
One of the best ways to let the interviewer know that you’re willing to adapt is to let them know that, while you have a lot of experience, you’re always open to new challenges and learning opportunities. This also shows innovation and ambition on your part, both of which are valuable traits to have.
A job interview is a two-way street. It gives the hiring manager an opportunity to learn about you, and it also gives you the chance to learn more about the organization. For this reason, it’s important to ask the right type of questions.
Before the interview, do some research and figure out what the company is all about. Visit the company’s website and social pages and see their vision, mission, and values. This should provide you with a few questions to ask the interviewer.
Here are a few questions you can ask the interviewer:
How do the supervisors in your company provide feedback?
What does a typical day look like for this job role?
Are there any opportunities for learning and professional development in your company?
How has your company fared in light of the recent recession?
What are some of the challenges you’re expecting this role to solve?
Every company has a certain dress code, where some tend to be more casual than the others. However, when it comes to job interviews, it’s best to go old school. Wear business formal attire if you want to make a solid first impression on the interviewer.
If your interview is virtual, prepare your setup ahead of time, including your camera, microphone, and internet connection. Make sure to sit in a well-lit room, and consider using a noise reduction headset for the interview.
At this point, you’ve probably had several job interviews during your career. You must’ve heard all types of interview questions, but it’s important to review and practice some of the most commonly asked interview questions. These include the following:
Why should we hire you?
What are your three biggest strengths/weaknesses?
Can you describe a situation where you managed a conflict?
Why did you leave your last employment?
Why do you want to work with our organization?
How would you feel about working with a younger manager?
Can you explain these gaps in your resume?
Where do you see yourself in a couple of years from now?
A little bit of courtesy goes a long way. After the interview is over, you can send a thank-you email to all the interviewers. This simple gesture is sure to set you apart from the other older job seekers. It also shows politeness and eagerness on your part, which is why the hiring manager is likely to consider you. Ideally, you should send this email within 24 hours after your job interview.
If you need help preparing for an upcoming job interview, let us know! Our interview prep services are tailored for professionals from all age groups.
Job interviewing can be a challenging task, especially for older job seekers. However, with the right interview strategy, older job seekers can easily ace an interview.
When preparing for a job interview, older job seekers should only focus on their relevant experience. Any accomplishments that don’t relate to the job at hand should not be discussed.
Before the interview, it’s also important to research some of the most common interview questions and have your responses ready.
Asad is a digital content creator and recruiter. Since 2014, he has written on a wide variety of topics, including technology, finance, human resources, and marketing. Throughout his professional career, Asad has recruited and trained content writers for various software companies and marketing agencies, and he enjoys mentoring new immigrants in Canada on job interview best practices and networking techniques.