Q: I am applying for a new job, at a new company, after 20 plus years with the same company. I am so nervous and anxious. I have not been on an interview in years. I feel like I am a kindergartener on the first day of school. The thought of sitting across a desk from someone who will ask me questions about my background is nauseating to me. How do I get over this? What can I do to prepare?
A: You get an A for being brave and candid. Many others have probably been in your shoes but instead just muddled through the process. Here are some tips:
1. Research. Research the company and research the opportunity. Information is power. You will want to be able to speak confidently about the company, the industry, competitors and the opportunity. The more you know, the better.
2. Update your knowledge on how the interview process has changed since you last interviewed. Visit www.boston.com and click on jobs. There is a lot of valuable information available on the site, from what to wear to how to do well on a phone interview.
3. Practice. Practice with your spouse, your partner, your dog. Practice some tough interview questions. Be ready to provide tangible examples of your achievements. The more metrics the better.
What do I mean by this? Instead of “I am a people person,” consider: “I work well with customers who are really angry. I am often able to effectively address their concern and offer a reasonable solution, like express mailing a new device to them. I am a good listener and try to give them the opportunity to vent. I can empathize. I would be frustrated too. I often receive the most disgruntled customers. My retention rate with these customers is about 87%, one of the highest within ABC Company.”
4. Use social media to help you learn more about how candidates land jobs. Social media (e.g., Linkedin, Twitter, etc.) has changed the world of recruiting. This expertise will also demonstrate how you have remained current.
5. Lastly, be gracious and authentic. Thank all those who meet with you or spend time with you.
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Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.