If you read my blog, you’ll remember I have two recent blogs on polishing skills for job interviews. One is specifically for people older than 50, the other post was correcting two mistakes in the age of electronic resume scanning.
Let’s take a look at some more hints for landing that job: doing well on a job interview.
1. Practice answers to a variety of questions. A job interview is not the time to wing it. You, particularly if you are older than 50, need to practice your responses. You need to remove verbal landmines (revealing your age, assuming your political views or religion are universal) and sound confident without sounding like the interviewer’s supervisor. Questions like “tell me about yourself” are not about your family, they are about your job qualifications. Knowing how to answer them easily and accurately will help get you the job.
2. Do not practice your answers in the mirror. You won’t be interviewing in the mirror. When you practice in the mirror, you scan yourself, checking your clothing, hair, and body image. You don’t want to do that in an interview. It looks like you are hitting on the person doing the interview.
3. Open a LinkedIn account. LinkedIn is a social networking site for adults. It’s used to get answers to your professional questions, connect to others in your field, and yes, network your way to a job. At LinkedIn you can talk to people in your field through groups or as individuals. There is a job bank for members. Link only to people you know (you don’t have to like them or date them, but you do have to think they are ethical in their field), but don’t limit yourself to close focus in your field. LinkedIn takes a while to start working for you, so don’t put it off.
4. Don’t admit you think social networking is a waste of time. Even if you hate FaceBook and Twitter, don’t say “I don’t know what it is, but it sounds like something useless” to an interviewer. Social networking is a popular way to keep up with people by using a computer. Showing your contempt for these online connectors is like saying you hate computers, email and other electronic means of communication your interviewer has used for a lifetime. You’ll sound like you communicate by stone tablet. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
5. Do not act like a needy puppy. I teach classes for the unemployed. When I ask “What’s the most important impression to leave the interviewer with,” the two answers I hear the most often are, “I need a job,” and “I’ll do anything to get this job.” No, this is not what you want to do at all. Quick flashback to your own life: whose calls do you avoid? Your needy Aunt Lovey who is lonely. Your needy pal, Buddy, who has one hard luck story after another. Don’t be that person to the interviewer. The interviewer had a thousand people who qualify for the job. The interviewer is looking for a reason not to hire you. Don’t hand one out on a silver platter. The best impression to leave is one of confidence and ability to handle the job without a lot of supervision. And you are the right age to do that.
If you have tips from your own experience, leave them in the comments. It’s a tough market, it’s time to help each other find a job.
–Quinn McDonald teaches business communications, is a life coach helping people find careers they love, and teaches interview skills to the unemployed.