Perception is reality, right? Not so fast! As you know, the perception some have of job seekers over 50 is that they are overqualified, inflexible, and possess limited technical skills. Let’s turn these perceptions around and nail the interview.
By researching the company, the industry and asking questions about current issues they’re facing, you open the door for an opportunity to share solutions. Applying your hard-earned knowledge to successfully problem solve showcases your abilities and further communicates that your experience and expertise can immediately impact the bottom line.
With years of professional experience and workplace knowledge comes a tendency to be stereotyped as inflexible. Communicating your willingness and ability to think outside the box is important in showing you can be innovative. One way to do this is to select and share stories about creative solutions you and you alone created and implemented. Use real-life work examples that clearly demonstrate that when it was important to shift gears, you easily did so and succeeded! This lends credibility and further provides insight into your innovate way of thinking and debunks any myths that you are resistant to change.
Lack of technical knowledge and computer skills are another concern for hiring managers when interviewing job seekers over 50. It is difficult to determine the level of computer skills in a short conversation. As part of your job interview strategy, prepare specific examples of how technology has enhanced your productivity or improved a project. Weave into the discussion your professional use of social media, highlight recent technology skills you acquired, technology articles you’ve recently read or webinars you’ve attended. Also, communicate your willingness and ability to learn new software products and provide examples of when you mastered a new technology quickly. All ages are being constantly introduced to mandatory new software or computer programs. Show how this is just the norm for you, too!
Bottom-line, job seekers over 50 have an advantage when developing job interview strategies because you are mindful of strengths, have a track record of proactively addressing weaknesses and have a breadth and depth of experience no one else can bring to the table. You already have the skills necessary to overcome stereotypical interview challenges and you possess the wisdom to prepare for the interview in a fashion that allows you to showcase your unique experiences and abilities. Keep these suggestions in mind when developing job interview strategies and you’ll be able to communicate the impact you have made, and will make, for an employer.
“I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and confidently themselves, who bring light into the world.” —Meryl Streep