Episode 53 – Marc interviews author Thea Kelley on job interview do’s and dont’s for those in the 2nd half of life.
Thea Kelley provides one-on-one job search and interview coaching to help you get a great job sooner. Drawing on 20 years of experience in career services, writing, editing, and coaching, she has facilitated career breakthroughs for job seekers in a wide range of occupations and industries. Thea’s clients have successfully landed roles from entry-level to senior executive, often surmounting tricky obstacles, making major changes in their careers. Thea is the author of “Get That Job: The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview,” which has been very positively reviewed by Forbes. The book is available from Amazon.
Listen in for actionable advice to prepare you for your next great interview.
[:56] Marc invites the audience to listen to Episode 52, the 1st Anniversary special, and episodes 48 to 51, the four-episode series “Can Tim Repurpose His Career?” if you haven’t listened to them yet.
[1:15] Marc announces his first audience survey on what demographic listens to the podcast, what you like, and what you would like to hear about in the future. Please take the survey at CareerPivot.com/PodcastSurvey. This will redirect you to a Survey Monkey page. Marc will keep the survey going through 2017 to hear from you.
[2:00] Marc returns to the normal sequence of episodes. This week is an interview with jobs expert Thea Kelley. Next week will be an interview with a career pivoter. The third week, Marc will take you through the process of his moving the podcast with his family to another country. The fourth week will be a Q&A with Elizabeth Rabaey.
[4:11] Thea notes that she is often described with words starting with ‘in’: introverted, insightful, and intuitive. She has always been fascinated by what goes on inside herself and inside others; our psychology and how we communicate. As a teenager, she wrote poetry. As an adult, she writes business communications.
[4:44] These days, Thea is coaching people on how to communicate with prospective employers to get great jobs.That taps into her interest in psychology — who we are inside — and getting that truth out there in a way that works.
[5:00] Thea says the main thing that will cost the offer to someone in the second half of life interviewing for a job is the lack of interview skills. Don’t go in unprepared. Know your top three or five skills you want to emphasize in your interview, which are your selling points for this job. Most people haven’t given much thought to that.
[6:03] Thea says there is a risk of ageism and age discrimination. Many interviewers prefer to hire someone within a certain age range, whether they’re conscious of it or not. It’s not legal, but it happens. Mark Anthony Dyson calls this unconscious bias.
[6:37] Thea says one of the most important things is to be aware of the stereotypes people have about people in the second half of life. In your interview, make a point of demonstrating that those stereotypes don’t apply to you.
[7:11] Marc tells his clients to demonstrate technological adeptness and energy. Thea says to convey energy and enthusiasm in the interview by sharing stories about times when you worked really hard or really fast, or motivated others with your enthusiasm and passion, or went above and beyond requirements.
[7:50] Go above and beyond requirements for the interview itself. Thea’s clients have brought well-research proposed action plans for the job’s first month to an interview. Very likely, they were the only candidates to do so. That made the candidates stand out.
[8:19] Marc tells of a 65-year-old candidate who was run through the gauntlet of seven interviews in an eight-hour day, with a break for lunch. Marc insisted the candidate should bring energy bars to eat between interviews. Take care of your body.
[9:25] Thea examines other ageism stereotypes. Health is a major issue. Be healthy when you interview. Look healthy. Experts recommend exercising while in the process of your job search. Take care of your skin and your hair. Use a moisturizing sunscreen. Cultivate posture. Don’t slouch.
[10:28] Show that you embrace new technologies. Use a smartphone. Be willing to text with the interviewer. Be familiar and comfortable with Google Docs.
[11:03] Show that you are mentally sharp and have a good memory. Review dates and figures of your job accomplishments before going into the interview, so you don’t stumble over the numbers. Ask if you can take a few notes during the interview, but don’t take a lot of notes. After the interview, you can fill out your notes in private.
[12:00] Some people may feel older people are not innovative. Have stories ready about things you did that were innovative. People may feel your experience is outdated, so be sure to talk about your most recent experiences.
[12:17] If you have to talk about something that happened seven or even 10 years ago, avoid mentioning the year. Another stereotype is that older people are unwilling to work late, evenings, or weekends. If you are willing to have those opportunities, give examples of when you have worked over, or at unusual hours.
[12:40] If you want to keep to regular hours, tell stories of your efficient, focused working methods that allow you to get your work done within regular hours.
[12:54] To avoid the appearance of being overqualified, you may omit some of your excess experience. If the new job is at a lower level than you are used to, have a really good answer for why you want that job when previously you’ve held a higher job. Make sure it is an honest answer about why climbing the corporate ladder is not your goal.
[14:08] You have to have your story down on why you are looking for a lesser position. It’s not a desperation move. Emphasize your passion and enthusiasm for the things you are involved in outside of the job, without getting carried away. Don’t say you don’t want to work the hours anymore you previously worked! Say what you do want to do.
[15:58] When you take notes in an interview, don’t bring a big book. A small pad. A number of adults take notes in full sentences. That’s a bad look. Jot down a keyword now and then. Write full notes later in your car. Review the questions, to prepare for future interviews.
[18:43] Use the thank you (follow up) note to continue the conversation. You want them to hear from you about once a week to update them that you’re still very interested, and what you’ve been researching about the job.
[20:43] Don’t make stuff up about whether they have already made a decision if you haven’t heard from them. Just check in once a week, and they will let you know.
[20:54] The follow up note should be email if you are in tech. In a more personal industry you may send a paper note. When in doubt, go with an email. You can follow up with a card. In the email, reiterate your key selling points, such as important certifications, and the experience you have that meets or exceeds their needs.
[23:39] When you interview with a younger hiring manager, first consider your own bias. CareerBuilder did a survey that showed most older employees are happy working for a younger boss. Show that you will respect their knowledge and skills. Listen actively. Ask good questions, and do not go into teacher mode. Don’t call attention to age differences.
[26:03] Impress the interviewer by asking really good, probing questions to which you may already know the answer. Listen attentively.
[26:39] Dress for the interview in contemporary, graceful style. But do your interview how they dress at the job. Dress a level above what you would actually wear to do the job.
[29:08] Be prepared for anything. The social mores of the younger generation may be different. Don’t impose your opinion of how things may be. Don’t appear startled or look disapproving. You may see tattoos and unusual piercings.
[30:58] Not every interviewer is ageist. Many of them will value your experience. There is no job seeker who doesn’t have something that will count against them in interviews. You are not alone with this big problem. These things don’t have to hold you back. The maturity to prepare diligently for the interview can really give you a huge advantage.
Mentioned in This Episode:
CareerPivot.com/review, and read the detailed instructions there.
CareerPivot.com/Episode-48 “Can Tim Repurpose His Career? Part 1”
CareerPivot.com/Episode-49 “Can Tim Repurpose His Career? Part 2”
CareerPivot.com/Episode-50 “Can Tim Repurpose His Career? Part 3”
CareerPivot.com/Episode-51 “Can Tim Repurpose His Career? Part 4”
CareerPivot.com/Episode-52 “1st Anniversary Special Episode”
GreatJobSooner.com Subscribe to Thea’s blog and receive a free report on how to stand out in interviews.
Please pick up a copy of Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life, by Marc Miller and Susan Lahey The paperback and ebook formats are available now. When you have completed reading the book, Marc would very much appreciate your leaving an honest review on Amazon.com. Marc is recording the audio version of the book, and he plans to have it available in late November 2017.
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CareerPivot.com/Episode-53 Show Notes for this episode.
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