10 Interview tips in your 40s and 50s
Interviewing at midlife? Harness that sense of self, confidence, and deep experience you’ve accumulated over the past few decades to kill it during your interview.
So, you’re about to start interviewing for a new role. Maybe you haven’t been on an interview in years, but you want to show up and kill it, stand out why you are the woman for the job. Use these 10 interview tips below to take the life and professional experience you have built up and turn it into interviewing gold.
- Explain your readiness. If you have been unemployed, your interviewer will likely want to know why and why the time for you is now to jump back into the workforce. Remaining positive and forward-looking when answering. This is the time to really do your research on the company and job – don’t let yourself be perceived as wanting to grab any job. Let them know why you want THIS job.
- Know where you’re headed. At this point in life, you are likely to be pretty certain about what you envision the rest of your career to look like. If not, get to some reflection, please! When the topic of where you see yourself down the road comes up in the interview, you can confidently tell them you want to continue the climb with more authority, responsibility, leadership or that you prefer to stay-in-place and do outstanding work. Both are needed and important in organizations. Just know what you want!
- Prepare to discuss why you won’t be bored. Look, you’ve got a ton of experience under your belt after having already gotten through half your career. Suppose you happen to be going for a job that you could do with your eyes closed, be ready for the questions about being over-experienced. If you want a job you can coast in because you want to save time and energy for the other parts of your life, there is nothing wrong with that. The company might worry you’ll get bored and bail. Tell them why it’s important for you to have the balance in life you need, landing a role you can achieve to give you want you need to stay the long-haul course.
- Show your impact. All that experience under your belt has given you great examples of the impact you have made in your other jobs and companies. This is a key differentiator that younger candidates will be far less likely to match. Get ready with a few stand-out examples you can share during the interview.
- Humbly, share lessons learned. Nobody is perfect, but yet during an interview process, sometimes we want to show up like we have rocked everything in our careers and past jobs; whoever believes that crap is completely out-of-touch. So, why not lean into the mistakes or missteps you’ve made along the way? If you share the story, and most importantly, how you made it out on the other side and the key lessons you learned, it will resonate with others that you have self-awareness and the ability to learn and move forward. These are huge attributes to have.
- Don’t be a yes sir, be a yes, ma’am. Listen, you know yourself so much better at this point in your life than when you were younger. You know your motivations and what really sounds great or what really does not. Just as much as they are interviewing you, you are interviewing them, don’t forget that and agree to everything they propose. If your intuition tells you it isn’t sounding good, then be confident in saying as much. Maybe this one is just not the best fit for you.
- Share your ideas. All that experience I’ve been talking about? Well, another key way to leverage it is towards your ideas and thoughts. Not everyone is an innovator or can spot the need for improvement, naturally. But if that is a skill you have and you hear your interviewer talk about a challenge or problem that they are facing that they want this candidate to figure out, then take a bit of the spotlight in the interview and offer some smart ideas or how you’d approach figuring it out.
- Show them you get it. If what they describe in the interview really makes sense to you, don’t just nod your head and smile. Say a few things to let them know you understand what they are talking about. Likely your experience will resonate, and you’ll be able to show them how you are connecting the dots.
- Show your openness to work for someone who might be much younger than you. Truth be told, you might have a manager who younger than you. You have to be okay with that and be willing to say why. Think of ways to open yourself up to learning, value diverse perspectives from different people and generations included. Let them see how working for someone younger than you is a non-issue.
- Remember your happiness. This is what you’re after. If you’re happy with your career and job choice because it meets your needs, it will lead to success. Don’t go for the job with the most impressive title and salary if it will be a nightmare of stress for you. Remember just how important your needs are in this interview, and ask those questions you need to feel secure if an offer comes your way.