Experience, not age, is the factor that helps older candidates stand out in job interviews
Q: I am a senior manager in a telecommunications business and have decided to take the plunge and move careers. I am excited but a bit nervous. My last interview was 20 years ago, as I was headhunted for my current position. I am concerned that – as a person in my late 40s – I am going to stand out among the younger candidates for the role. Do you have any advice on how I should prepare?
A: I agree that you could stand out at interviews, as employers might consider you too experienced or expensive – even a little out of touch. However, don’t lose sight of the things you do have that others might not – including excellent work experience, a valuable skill set, a strong network of contacts and a solid track record. The secret is to be prepared for all those issues that might be considered weaknesses and could be brought up during the interview process.
You are experienced enough to know how to create a good business case for yourself and highlight how you can move your skill set. Demonstrate your willingness to learn, to keep growing and take risks. Many candidates I meet have the same fear about their age – but I always say age should never be a factor. Focus on your strengths around your work experience and qualifications. Ask yourself truthfully ‘What value can I bring to this new role’ and ‘Can I sell myself as an expert’?