There’s no denying that older jobseekers have an uphill battle to find remote work or any other job for that matter. While employers can’t discriminate against job applicants based on age, unconscious bias remains problematic in the framework of the hiring process. Moreover, age 40 is the magic number that leads to discriminatory hiring practices that are difficult to overcome. But that doesn’t mean that a few interview tips can’t help you nail down the job.
With more experience, a fresh perspective, and innumerable other qualities compared to younger applicants, sometimes the injection of wisdom and expertise is just what a company needs. You just need to learn how to frame it in the interview. While that’s daunting to older remote job applicants, some interview tips and hacks can give you the confidence you need. Here’s how to do it.
1. Update Your Resume
Without an updated resume, you likely won’t get an interview in the first place. And while you probably have plenty of experience drafting a resume, the key becomes the skills and highlights that pertain to a remote job.
A great place to start is with your skills section. If you don’t have a skills section already, now is the time to add it to your resume. The tricky part is to identify software or technological skills that are relevant to the job. Forego the desire to add outdated or antiquated programs and focus on software that’s still used today. Some examples of remote-related skills that older workers overlook might include:
- Microsoft Office
- Any social media platform that you have experience with
- Job-specific software such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Acrobat, CorelDraw, etc.
Again, you’ll have to cater this list to the job you’re applying for, but the more you can fit into the skills section, the better.
Your skills section should also include soft skills, which are intangible qualities that can set you apart from younger applicants. Examples of these skills are:
- Critical thinking
The key here is to list these on your resume, and during the interview, highlight specific situations which enabled you to utilize these soft skills. With more years of experience than other candidates, you should have plenty of instances to showcase your skills.
2. The Superficial Interview Tip: First Impressions
As the old adage goes, first impressions are difficult because you only get one. As one of the main interview tips for older jobseekers, you need to make a lasting first impression. How you go about this can vary, but put an emphasis on these characteristics:
In addition to these first-impression ideas, work on your pre-interview banter. Talking about the weather, current events (within reason), or something that’s relatable to a younger person is ideal.
3. Prepare for the Interview
When you hear the question, “where do you see yourself in five years?”, the answer probably shouldn’t revolve around retirement. You need to present a youthful spark, even if you’re 40, 50, or even older. As one of the most important remote interview tips, prepare yourself in-depth on ideas that you may not have worried about in the past. Try to touch on what your goals are and what you plan to achieve with the company. You may also need to address:
- Any issues about downshifting to a job with less responsibility
- Recent unemployment
- Where you see yourself in the near to far-off future
- That you’re not affected or afraid to work with a younger team or a younger manager
A mock interview with a friend or family member should assuage your fears, especially if you’ve never applied for a remote job before. Practice makes perfect in this regard, so start your interview preparation days before the actual interview whenever possible.
4. Highlight Your Innovation and Experience
Innovation and experience are the two skills that younger workers don’t have, at least not to your level. So that’s exactly why a top interview tip for older jobseekers is highlighting this experience.
One of the best ways to highlight these abilities is by having your portfolio in your virtual hand when the interview starts. This may take some work, but online portfolios are easier to create than you may think. This is your chance to show, not tell about how you’ve used your innovation and experience to overcome problems, meet deadlines, or accomplish company-related goals on time, even if you’re under immense pressure.
Although innovation is often synonymous with newer skill sets, stress your old-school approach and how it may pertain to more modern issues. Failure to do so can often derail an interview, so put this interview tip at the top of your list.
5. Practice Your Tech Skills
If you’ve never used Slack, Asana, Zoom, or Google Meet, you aren’t alone. Many older jobseekers struggle in these areas, so a bit of practice goes a long way. A few days before the interview, figure out how to sign up for an account and practice using it. You may want to enlist the help of a friend, your children, or a colleague to help you navigate any video-conferencing software. A test run or a mock interview can often be the difference between a job offer and a “we’ll get back to you.”
Slack and Asana are two popular collaboration tools that many remote teams now use, although they may feel foreign to you if you’ve never used them before. Fortunately, these collaboration tools — as well as many other tools used by remote teams — have tutorials that can give you some knowledge in the pre-interview prep period. Use the job description to look for skills you should learn and get on top of it.
6. Exude Confidence
Every interviewee needs to show confidence. It’s an interview tip that’s not age-specific. But when you’re vying for a remote job against younger candidates, confidence can seem out of reach.
Exacerbating the problem is that your interviewer may be 10 or 20 years younger than you. While you may not care, your bias or the fact that you have way more experience can portray you as a person who’s unwilling to work with younger people.
Dispel the myth by acting with confidence and positivity. Smile, be upbeat, and talk about how the mix of your experience and the youthful approach of others is an unstoppable force.
7. Ask for Help When You Need It
Entering the remote workforce as an older individual can feel overwhelming. You’re surrounded by people who have had the internet their entire lives and form their social and working life around technology. So when you feel like you don’t stand a chance, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
One of the best things you can do as an older job applicant is to reach out to a job coach. Virtual Vocations has you covered. If you need a dose of encouragement, direction, or some advice on how to improve your online presence, a career coach can be the missing piece of the puzzle.
As a final thought, trust yourself and your experiences. You offer something that no younger worker can eclipse. With a bit of preparation, a positive mental attitude, and a focus on the future, you’re the right person for the job. You only need to make the interviewer believe it — you already do.
Do you have any tips and tricks on interviewing as an older jobseeker? What works for you? Connect with Virtual Vocations on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to share your thoughts. We’d love to hear from you!
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