Navigating a successful job search can be tricky for the Over 50 set (and very often, the over 40). Age discrimination is alive and well, and even though your resume got you to the interview, your “experience” might be a drawback.
Related: 10 Tips For Job Seekers Over 50
Here are 3 interview questions you may be asked as an older job hunter with the best strategies for how to answer them.
1. You seem to be overqualified for this job.
This isn’t framed as a question, but it does demand a response—or you’ve lost the opportunity. You know they liked what they saw in your resume, but when they’re staring you in the face, they’re wondering if you’re really going to be a good fit. Will you be unhappy that you’re taking a job that’s ‘less than’ what you’re capable of? Will you be bored? Will you fit in? Are you only marking time until retirement? Help them see that you’re a good fit with an answer that addresses those underlying concerns:
“I may be overqualified, but I see that as a bonus for you. I am more than ready to do this job, and I understand what it takes to be successful in it. Aside from learning the specific way you do things at this organization, my actual task learning curve would be flat and I could produce results almost immediately.” Pointing out what they stand to gain from this deal is always a good idea.
“I may be overqualified, but this particular position looks great to be because of X.” X may be any number of reasons: you really like their product /service, you are excited about the work they’re doing, or even a more personal reason. One gentleman I know told his interviewer, “My current job is over an hour away and I don’t want to move because I like where I live. The quality of life I’d get from eliminating that long commute would mean a lot to me.” It was a real reason and calmed their fears about hiring him.
2. How do I know you’ll be really motivated to do this job?
This is not just a question of motivation, but also one about your energy and enthusiasm. You have several good options for answering it:
- Offer your references to speak for you and your work ethic. References are powerful.
- Point out a recent big accomplishment. If it’s only been a few months since you won an award or conquered a major challenge, the motivation question should be answered.
- Bring a 30-60-90-Day Plan to your interview. There’s nothing like putting together a plan for success on the job before you get it. It’s a powerful demonstration of your work ethic, your knowledge, and your critical thinking skills.
3. How would you feel if you worked for someone who knows less than you?
Working for someone who knows less than you do is not great—and if you truly are someone who’s been around the block, you’ve probably gained a lot of wisdom and judgment that a younger person just can’t have. However, to answer this question, the only really good answer sounds something like this:
“I have found that even if someone knows less than me in one area, they know more than me in another. I usually find that I can learn something useful from everyone, and I think it’s exciting to work with a wide range of people because of that.”
Keep all your answers focused on the positive, and they will go a long way toward supporting your candidacy.
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