Over 40 and Looking

A better approach to finding work for older job hunters

  • Prepare to be tested. Many companies are requiring that applicants take online tests before the interview. A screening process may measure your skills set and/or behavioral tendencies. Some are standard tests, of which samples can be found online, and others are customized to the culture of the organization. How you’re tested will depend on the job for which you’re applying. “Don’t make assumptions and don’t try to fake the test. Some can rule themselves out inadvertently trying to be clever.” For example, an applicant for a sales manager position may think that answers should demonstrate a highly extroverted employee. But depending on the circumstances presented, the position may require a more reserved type. Use common sense, he advises, “And always answer the way you are at work, not the way you are at home.”
  • Give interview answers that speak to accomplishments. Interviewing is the deciding factor in the job-hunting process. It’s also where many get caught off guard because they haven’t prepared for what may be the toughest questions. “In every interview you should be prepared to talk about success—what role you played—and also talk about the lessons learned from your successes and how you have applied them. You also want to talk about setbacks and disappointment.”Weaknesses to avoid sharing include personal frustrations such as being a poor speller, needing to learn a language, or working too hard. “Your biggest failure or weakness may in fact be your biggest strength,” offers Laser. Those who are great with people may find that they are always looking for a way to please everyone.Whatever it is you should be able to explain what you’ve learned from the experience and how you’ve been able to use it to advance professional situations.
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