The young ‘unemployed’ and the NEET generation may grab the headlines, however they are not the only section of our society which is suffering from joblessness in the current climate. Many older jobseekers also are finding themselves facing an uncertain future and intense competition when applying for any job which gets advertised. This older demographic however tends not to get focused on just as much unfortunately, despite the fact that their needs are every bit as important as the needs of the younger generation. Therefore, in a bid to remedy that, albeit just a little, we have today put together some basic Interview Tips for Older Jobseekers.
Remember always that experience is invaluable. Whilst qualifications are all well and good, when it comes down to it, many employers regard experience as being the most important element when assessing a candidate’s suitability. Don’t let yourself down at interview by dismissing your experience or by ‘under-selling’ it. This could be one of your biggest assets. Experience in effect means that if appointed to a role you could virtually ‘hit the ground running’; that you have a proven background and existing knowledge and skills which could be utilized. Be confident in your abilities, in what you have done to date and convey to the employer just how valuable your experience is and how in turn that would be valuable to them. Sell the benefits.
What you will also have attained through years of employment is of course tangible achievements, accomplishments and results. In other words, solid proof of what you have done.
In virtually every interview you will attend, you are likely to be asked for examples of certain situations and to detail how you responded or performed. An older job seeker can draw on perhaps many years of such examples in comparison to a younger candidate. Make sure that you review your experience and aim to pick the best examples when asked. Utilize the occasions when your activities brought most success, speak about your accomplishments, overcoming of obstacles, whatever. Remember however that it is in your interests to draw on all your experience. However, it is important not to solely rely on instances and events that happened a long time ago as this may convey the impression that your more recent experience was not as worthy.
Keep Up to Date
If you have been out of work in general or a particular industry or sector for a while, it’s important to ensure that the employer knows that you have still kept abreast of industry developments and the like. At interview don’t make the mistake of referring to outdated practices or systems as this will only make you appear to be a less ‘current’ or relevant candidate. Ensure that you have undertaken company or industry research before the interview and that you are familiar with any new ideas or even terminology. Also, it is important to convey to the employer during the interview that you do this as a matter of course, that even though you have been not actively involved in that type of job or sector, that you have maintained an active interest in it, regardless.
Don’t be judgemental
If you have many years of experience behind you, it can admittedly be a tad frustrating to then be interviewed for a position by a much younger or perhaps more inexperienced person. However the reality is that when they are interviewing you, to an extent they do have the upper hand. They can determine if you proceed any further in the recruitment process and if you ultimately will get the job. Don’t underestimate or disregard their skills or abilities simply because they are younger. If you attempt to patronize them or appear condescending or even worse correct something that they say or do, you are doing yourself no favours. Just as you would not want to be judged on your age alone, the same applies to them.
The present and the future
An employer has one primary aim at interview, namely to find a candidate who fits a current need in their business and who can be of value going forward. It is in your interests to strike a balance, to convey to an interviewer that whilst your past is of the utmost importance, you are enthusiastic and keen about the here and the now and what potentially lies ahead. If you give the impression that you are ‘living in the past’, you are not portraying yourself to be a viable and valuable future employee for the firm.
We hope these tips can help if you do happen to be an Older Jobseeker. We’d love to hear your comments too – do let us know via the comments section below.