Are you considering a midlife career change? If so, the following information on preparing for a job interview and the answer to some tough interview questions will help you in the process.
As a rule, we do not get many job interviews in a lifetime, so it is not something that comes naturally for us. It is important to prepare and practice for any interview. Because we do not necessarily have experience in the new industry, and if we are making a midlife career change, it will be important to discuss how our core business principles such as problem-solving, people management, and project completion, apply in every business.
Midlife career change job interviews or any job interview require two ground rules. First, it is important to deal with the objectives and needs of both you and the interviewer and, second, it is important to retain control over the job interview. The purpose of your first job interview is to get to the second job interview. A job offer will usually not be tendered in the first job interview. This is your time to establish rapport with the interviewer, find out what they want/need and express what you want/need.
When preparing for a midlife career change job interview, keep the following in mind:
*Always arrive on time - which means getting there early. It gives you a chance to survey your surroundings and get comfortable.
*Be prepared with knowledge on the industry - Do research on the industry overall and the company in particular, especially if it is a new industry. Access trade magazines and industry journals. By “talking the language" you reinforce that you have the ability to pick up industry-specific knowledge quickly.
*Cover your main points - Know the main points you want to get across to the interviewer and cover them early and as often as you can since you won't know how long the job interview will last.
*For a new industry, be prepared to field questions concerning your lack of experience in the industry - It is important that you understand and can convey your shift of industries and the expertise you bring to it. The interviewer will potentially have to field these questions from others if you are to move forward in the interview process and you will too. So, give a reason for the change and solid reasons why you are a good fit for the company.
Here are some examples of tough interview questions that might be asked when you're changing to a new industry in midlife:
Midlife Career Change Interview Question #1 - “Does this job represent a career switch for you?"
Answer - “While I have never been in this industry, I will be using the same abilities and skills to solve problems, meet deadlines and manage people that were needed in my previous positions. For example, (give examples of your abilities which form a connecting link between your skills in previous jobs and the one in which you are being interviewed. )"
Midlife Career Change Interview Question #2 - “After reviewing your qualifications, I find that you do not have. . . ?"
Answer - “That is true, but I do have. . . " Give examples. Again, relating your skills to the position. Keep the interviewer's attention focused on the real issue - your ability to do the job.
Midlife Career Change Interview Question #3 - “You do not have experience in this industry, so why do you want to work here?"
Answer - You may not know yet - so say that but follow it with “but here is what I know about your company. . . How accurate am I?" If you do know why you want to work for this company it will usually relate to one of three areas - the company (reputation, high-profile, growth, offering of ground-floor opportunities), the position (variety, pace, technical orientation, scope of authority) or the people (personality match). Always articulate what you can do for the company, not what the company can do for you.
Midlife Career Change Interview Question #4 - How will you deal with subordinates and peers who have more experience in the industry than you?
Answer - “Just as I have dealt with subordinates and peers in the past. Of course, I will learn from them when I can and take their suggestions if valid. But I will also demonstrate that my experience and knowledge is transferable to this industry. "
Midlife career change, while difficult, allows us to pursue our “dream" job. Or, we may just be trying to downsize our work life, taking a position that does not require our current level of skill, so we have more time for life. If we are prepared and confident in our abilities, we will have a greater chance to connect to the interviewer, move through the process and get the job offer. You can never be too prepared!
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David Hults author of the book “From Cornered To Corner Office" Overcoming the most unexpected obstacles that stand between you and your career dreams http://www.fromcorneredtocorneroffice.com