Interviewing Tips for the Experienced Job Seeker

As an experienced job seeker, you’ve been through the interview process enough times to know the basics. How will interviews differ now that you’ve got some work experience behind you?

Probably the biggest change you’ll notice is that interviewers will ask you more-detailed questions about your work experience and focus less on your academic history. They want to know what you’ve learned and accomplished in your present job and will probably probe for specific evidence that you can effectively perform the job for which they are hiring.

Not surprisingly, you should also be prepared to explain why you’re looking for another job. Avoid giving an answer that conveys a negative attitude toward your present or former employer (“My boss hates everything I do,” for example). If you’ve been let go from your job, don’t be afraid to admit it (it’s not that unusual in today’s job market). And always close your response to this question with some positive information about your ability to do the job the employer is considering you for.

If you’re trying to move into a job that’s in a new field, do your homework. You’ll need to relate your experiences and skills to those required in your target job. Here, too, expect employers to question you about your past work experience (even though it might be totally unrelated) as they try to predict how well you would perform in a new job (visit the link, {“Don’t Sweat These Questions”}). The expenses associated with bad hiring decisions discourage employers from hiring someone “just to give them a break,” so you’ll have to be able to make a strong, convincing case for your ability to perform in a new job area.

Finally, be prepared with detailed questions of your own, particularly when you are being interviewed by your prospective manager. What is it you wish you would have known about the day-to-day responsibilities of your last job or the long-term plans of your previous employer? What kind of job do you want five years from now? Will it be available at this organization? What kinds of learning opportunities will be available to you? A detailed exchange of information in the interview will help you and your prospective employer decide if you’ve each found a good match.

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