It’s been reported that compared to men, women don’t always go out on a limb by applying for positions even though they don’t meet all the requirements as frequently, but you don’t have to let that stop you. Here are some job interview tips for how to handle an interview for a position that feels out of your league.
“You want to make sure you’re talking about the topics that they want to hear. If you have five skills in your current job, but the company you’re interviewing for is only focusing on three of those skills, don’t waste too much of your time discussing the other two.”
Sara McCord, an editor and freelance writer, suggests in The Muse that you should contact a connection who has been successful in the industry your interviewing for to learn more about it, and about the power of doing your homework beforehand:
“In a reach interview, you can compensate for being lighter on skills or experience by seeming totally immersed in the company and industry. For example, even if you’ve never used the exact software the company uses to track its emails, you’ll seem capable if you’ve heard of it, and — if along with discussing a recent newsletter (which any candidate could do) — you also discuss how it reflects the shifts in communication recently advocated by a major thought leader in the sector. A little extra research can make all the difference in looking clued in and ready to go, rather than out of your league.”
Alison Green, author of the Ask a Manager blog, writes in U.S. News & World Report that you should “strike the right balance between confidence and humility” when interview time comes:
“This is a tricky one. On one hand, if you’re not confident that you can do the work, your interviewer won’t be either. But on the other hand, you don’t want to come across as inappropriately cocky or naive about your own experience level and what it will take to do the job well. You need to find a balance somewhere in the middle – confident but with a realistic understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses.”
Interview expert Barry Drexler told CNBC about three measures that can be taken in an interview where the job is a reach, the last of which is to show how much you’re open to learning something new. For instance, if you’ve never managed before, but are asked if you have, you can convey something along the lines of:
“I don’t have managerial experience, but I was allowed to take the lead on various projects where I delegated tasks to other co-workers and received specified results. If I could obtain these specified results then I’m sure I can effectively manage a team here and am willing to learn from those above me.”
Jane Burnett is a reporter for Ladders. She is based in New York City and can be reached at email@example.com.