With an aging population and company downsizing, there is a good chance that an older, more experienced job seeker will interview with a younger boss. This job interview dynamic has challenges, but the interaction results can be successful if carefully thought out. A good start is understanding their concerns and counteracting with strengths.
Researching the company’s problems and challenges helps create an opportunity to communicate your unique skillset advantage. In other words, identify the value you can immediately add to help solve one of their problems. A good job interviewing tip is quantifying solutions to similar previous problems. By doing so, you establish credibility and further convey your unique advantage over a lesser experienced candidate. Draw on all that knowledge and experience that only you have and communicate clearly and concisely.
One of the benefits of having experienced one or more positions over your working years is that you bring so much to the table. Don’t take the various tasks you’ve performed over the years for granted; realize that they put you head and shoulders above an inexperienced candidate vying for the same job. And remember that this is not the time to be humble. This is the time to show how much you shine and how many skills you’ve acquired over the years. Interviewers are always looking for a job candidate that will require less time training and going through the basics and can get up and running faster.
Some common concerns are openness to taking directions from younger supervisors and tech-savviness. They may have doubts about older candidates being less flexible in taking direction or not being as up-to-date on computer software and social media. The second of my job interview tips is to counter these concerns. Share how you handled experiences working on a team with diversified ages or under a younger supervisor. Explain how you handled the age differences. Show examples and stories about ways and reasons for using social media, smartphones, and other professional work-related software.
When you build your resume, this is also not a time to be humble. Think about all of the times you’ve taken on new software or skillsets. Even if you haven’t mastered something, if you’ve got the core understanding and can quickly build on it, that’s better than starting from scratch. It’s obvious that you shouldn’t lie or pad your resume with experience that you don’t have just because you think you can get away with it. Be open about it. A basic understanding is better than no understanding, especially when you’re starting with a new team and they’ll have to train you.
Jia Jiang’s book, Rejection Proof, states that honesty and empathy build trust. Rapport is created when someone finds you believable and trustworthy, which leaves a lasting impression. Collaborating respectfully and honestly with others and sharing specific stories that demonstrate your enthusiasm for the business makes you a valuable asset in any job opportunity.
“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been. “
— Madeleine L’Engle
When push comes to shove, be your authentic self, and it’ll serve your purpose well. If your interviewer suspects you’re lying or stretching the truth, you’re sunk before you even leave the room. Try to find common ground with them and help them see all that you can bring to not only the job but the team. After all, most full-time jobs include spending many of your daytime hours with the same people day after day. If they don’t think you’ll fit in well, you most likely won’t get hired. While the idea of judgment might be stressful, it’s an unfortunate reality. If you want to try to stave off the stress of the interview, take the time to sit down and write out a list of all your assets and attributes. Look over it often and remind yourself why you’re the best candidate and why they’re actually lucky to have you. Go in with confidence (not arrogance), and embrace the opportunity to start a new career journey.
There’s no doubt that job searches are stressful, and the interview process can quickly become overwhelming. If you’ve become one of the many women in their prime that are seeking out a new career, we hope the three job interview tips presented here will give you some confidence and guidance on your journey. First things first: get your resume up to snuff and, if it’s in the cards, get a new outfit for the interview process. It may sound silly, but you’re more likely to make the impression you want when you look and feel good. And after that? You might just walk away with an offer in hand.